I was flipping through some news articles on my phone, and I ran across a video of Chris Christie talking about drug addiction on the The Huffington Post. For some odd reason I decided to watch the video; I say odd because I am not necessarily a fan of Chris Christie or The Huffington Post, but I pushed that little sideways triangle and turned my phone on its side. Christie starts talking about his grandmother’s addiction to cigarettes, but then he says something captivating:
I'm pro-life, and I think that if you're pro-life that means you gotta be pro-life for the whole life — not just for the nine months they are in the womb. It's easy, it's easy to be pro-life for the nine months they are in the womb; they haven’t done anything to disappoint us yet. They’re perfect in there, but when they get out that's when it gets tough. The 16-year old teenage girl on the floor of the county lockup addicted to heroin — I’m pro-life for her too. Her life is just as much a precious gift from God as the one in the womb, and we need to start thinking that way as a party and as a people . . . .
Christie is absolutely right.
The pro-life movement has long focused on abortion as its platform, and it is easy to understand why. Abortion is emotional, it involves an innocent victim, and the grave injustice moves us to act. But, as Christie points out, we must also focus on those already born. Our faith requires our action in regards to their lives as well.
If the pro-life movement is serious about building a culture of life, then it must expand its platform.
We must work just as hard to stop euthanasia, help those contemplating suicide, protect the disabled, help the addicted, end discrimination, feed the poor, and house the immigrant. These are all elements of human dignity, and all calls innate to the Christian person — a call recognizing the value of all life — no matter the stage or state.
I know, this might seem too lofty a goal, and if we just focused on abortion we might be able to save lives. I would never discourage anyone from working to end abortion, but if the born do not understand the real value of life, then do you really think we have a chance at building a culture that values the unborn? It is important that we, as a pro-life movement, do not parse out stages of life, and rather see the holistic plan that God put before us all. It is understanding that the connection between our charity, our worship, our faithfulness, our hope, and the outward expression of our love is what will ultimately build a culture of life, which is why the people that make up the pro-life movement must reform their understanding of what being pro-life means. It is more than ending abortion.
Being pro-life is proclaiming that all life — born and unborn — has dignity, and then living out that proclamation.