Do Pro-Life People Care About Children After Birth?

Opinion   |   Stacy Trasancos   |   Jan 12, 2012   |   8:03PM   |   Washington, DC

An old debate friend asked me how I’d answer this question, and if there was any data.

First, with this question I’ve learned that data doesn’t matter. It’s a subterfuge tactic to create a distraction from the real issue. If you bring up data, they’ll criticize it in crazy ways. If you offer personal experience, you’ll be duped a braggart. So the simple answer is, of course pro-lifers care about born children. It’s just as evil to rip a born baby apart and throw him in the trash as it is to do that to an unborn baby. All humans have a right to life.

And they know this. What they are really asking is, “Why are you focused on this one issue?”

Well, because no one in our society is arguing that it is morally acceptable to kill a born child, so there isn’t much need to focus on that non-issue. “Pro-choice” people argue that it is morally acceptable to kill an unborn child on the grounds that the child needs his or her mother to survive, and therefore she should not have to tolerate the child against her will. They say she doesn’t even have to share the air we breathe with the poor unwanted child, and so the “pro-choicer” concludes that a mother has the right to discard her baby as if it were yesterday’s trash.

(And it is worth noting that if the baby were a mere object, she would welcome legally required ultrasounds as undeniable proof. They do not welcome such laws.)

What they are also asking is, “If you care so much, why don’t you help the ones that are living more and stop telling us it is wrong to kill children. (I.e. You are convincing and we’d like if you shut up.)” That’s like asking a mother with a newborn why she doesn’t care for her other children since she is nursing the baby. Of course she cares for them all. The two things are not mutually exclusive. It is possible for pro-lifers to care for a great many issues besides abortion.

Some pro-lifers do focus primarily on the single issue. Those people are necessary. Some focus on many social issues too, including welfare of the indigent in our societies. Here’s why.

In an ideally virtuous society, the members that can provide for themselves do so and they provide more than they need in order to take care of the ones in society who cannot take care of themselves. In return, someday when the productive member, having served while he or she was able, justly receives necessary help in return. Families, the fundamental unit of societies, function this way, and should be the first members the unable-to-produce member can turn for assistance.

That is the psychology of the pro-lifer and it is based on the virtues of justice, peace and charity, all of which depend on many other virtues such as trust, determination, fortitude, and graciousness…and so on. It is based on the integrity of the family unit. If no one in society behaved virtuously, no one would be free or safe. A walk after dark in certain neighborhoods demonstrates this point amply.

So of course a pro-lifer cares about the indigent. What a pro-lifer may not support is the abusive, greedy, unjust, unpeaceful, and uncharitable indulgence of members who are able to produce – but refuse to do so because they want to take from the willing producers instead and be lazy.

That is why pro-lifers support familial, and even societal, aid to women truly in need, but they do so with the life-affirming hope that she will rise up to the challenges that she has met and become all that she can be  – a productive woman and a loving parent who raises her children to be the same – for the sake of her own dignity and sanity.

And there’s nothing uncaring about that. Note: Stacy Trasancos, Ph.D. is a scientist turned homemaker raising seven children with her husband in Massachusetts. She is pursuing a MA in Theology at Holy Apostles College and Seminary and she is Chief Editor at Virtuous Planet and blogs at Accepting Abundance.