Opinion | Hey, Bridge, we are not anti-abortion, we are pro-life


Samantha Wilcoxson writes historical fiction from her home in southwest Michigan, where she lives with her husband and three children. She leads a Lutherans for Life team and volunteers at her local pregnancy resource center, which offers women resources and support for alternatives to abortion.

The media often label those who are pro-life as “anti-abortion.” In fact, that is the language suggested by the Associated Press Stylebook, a style and usage guide created by and used widely by journalists. 

However, that is not how advocates for the unborn think of themselves because the pro-life movement is about much more than ending abortion. The difference should be important to you, even if – especially if – you consider yourself pro-abortion or pro-choice, because we cannot narrow the divide between us if we make no effort to understand each other.

Using the term “anti-abortion” demonstrates a lack of understanding. The pro-life movement is more comprehensive than that and much more positive. Those who are pro-life believe in the dignity and intrinsic value of every human life: the unborn, the disabled, the poor, the elderly, the vulnerable. 

Pro-life people are not trying to take away rights. They strive to extend basic human rights to those who would otherwise be denied them and to support those who are caregivers, parents and guardians. This work is based on the belief that all life matters, and we don’t get to decide that some aren’t worthy of it.

The intention of the label “anti-abortion” is to portray a pro-life person as an opponent of women’s rights. “Forced birther” is the latest attempt to demonstrate ill will toward those who wish to support pregnant women and enable them to choose life for their children and avoid the guilt and depression that often result from abortion. 

This terminology forces one to ask a few questions. Why would a movement led largely by women be against women’s rights? Why would a movement against women’s rights be filled with women who have employed that right and lived to regret it? Few would accuse the American suffragist and feminist Alice Paul of being anti-women, but her thoughts on abortion were clear: “Abortion,” she said, “is the ultimate exploitation of women.” 

Every abortion impacts at least two people. The child, whose life is snuffed out before it has a chance to begin, is the first. The mother, who is often pressured into believing killing her child is the only real “choice” she has, lives the rest of her life with the grief of losing a child. The father sometimes doesn’t even know, but he never has a voice. 

With abortion legal since 1973, we have enough years of data to know that survivor’s guilt also impacts siblings of aborted children. Abortion damages people and their relationships. It is never the quick fix our society wants it to be.

Pro-life people, many of whom live with the pain of an abortion story, strive to help others understand this often silenced side of abortion. Women should be empowered to be mothers and fulfill their other goals. They deserve better than to be told their best option is surrendering the life of their child. If our society gave women in crisis pregnancy situations the support they need, there would be far fewer women resigning themselves to this drastic choice.

Another important difference between pro-life and anti-abortion is concern for those who are vulnerable at every stage of human life. Pro-lifers are advocates for the unborn, but they also support those who are disabled, elderly, or in need. The pro-life movement is full of people who adopt, foster, and serve as caregivers. 

Every person deserves to receive the love and care they need, regardless of their circumstances or abilities. Abortion is a sign that our society has failed women, rather than a right that should be preserved at all costs. The pro-life movement does not just fight against abortion, it fights for human rights for all humans, especially the most vulnerable.

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Wed, 10/02/2019 - 5:52pm

Saying you’re pro-life really means that you’re pro-birth as there is no guarantee that a child is going to have a good life after they’re born. Pro-life policies don’t decrease abortions or increase births either. Abortions still happen regardless of government prohibition or heavy regulations, they just happen in secret, in other countries, and with unsafe methods if they can’t afford to leave the state.

I am anti-abortion and pro-choice. I don’t like the concept, but no one likes the concept! No one goes to an abortion clinic think that they’re doing this really moral and just thing like giving to charity, helping someone in need, or doing volunteer work. They might feel like it’s their only choice but that’s because they’re scared, didn’t plan on the pregnancy, and don’t know how to raise a child.

A true pro-life agenda would make birth control extremely accessible and everyone would know how to use it, teens would learn how to raise a baby in school, we’d have a universal child allowance and universal health care so people know that they can afford the bills once they come.

Wed, 10/02/2019 - 7:31pm

Nicely said, Casey.

Wed, 10/02/2019 - 10:52pm

Thank you Casey, I couldn't have said it better.

Thu, 10/03/2019 - 7:01am

You mention nothing about adoption. That is another option. Many families are adopting overseas because they can't find a child in US. As for insurance, most children will qualify for Medicaid that is free and most healthcare is covered.

Decide for Yourself
Thu, 10/03/2019 - 8:31am

Very well put, Casey.

Moreover, the pro-life movement lost all credibility. Their spokespeople talk about things like no exceptions for rape or incest and claims the you only get pregnant if you enjoyed the sex.

Ericka, face it, adoptive parents generally want healthy white babies. What happens to all the rest? What is the value of all the lives of children in our foster care system? Why aren't all those precious lives being adopted by loving, church-going forgiving families?

Pregnant girls/women should not be guilted into a forced pregnancy that fuels baby trafficking.

Often overlooked, adopted children spend the rest of their lives wondering why they were rejected, abandoned by their biological families, yes families, not just mothers. Many religious families encourage the adoption option for their pregnant daughters as a way to relieve their families of the shameful pregnancy and guilt, not so much actually interested in the welfare of the mother or child, their grandchild. It's all about appearances in their community. Why are most adoptions even necessary, other than foster children in need? Families should just take care of their own with the help of their "loving" churches.

As far as the law, let women choose what is best for themselves with their doctors, as a private matter. No one wants abortions, but the fact that they are legal also serves as deterrent to sociopaths who rape so that they can produce children. It's a complicated issue and should not be reduced to a bumper sticker two-word analysis.

Now, you and all your fellow church-goers who love life so much should do the Lord's work and adopt a foster child. You'll find it much more rewarding than what you are doing now, talking the talk. Try walking in the Word.

Fri, 10/04/2019 - 7:50pm

Very nicely said with many excellent points. Decide for yourself sounds good to me. Kind of sums up a saying I heard many years ago. No child should come in this world unwanted. Thanks of a thought explanation.

Fri, 10/04/2019 - 8:08pm

Yes! Please kill all your potential children! Who knows what problems they might have?

Mon, 10/21/2019 - 9:20pm

Matt - when all of the kids in the foster care system have a forever home we can talk.

Mon, 10/21/2019 - 9:20pm

Matt - when all of the kids in the foster care system have a forever home we can talk.

Sun, 10/06/2019 - 2:08am

Decide, are you for real? Do you actually know and interact with pro-life, evangelical Christians? I am one, and here's what I can tell you about the people in the evangelical churches I have attended since accepting Christ in the 1970s. I have never, ever heard one pro-life person say or imply that a victim of rape or incest would only get pregnant if they enjoyed the sex. Most pro-life Christians I know would be okay with an exception for rape, incest, or to save a mother's life, as would I. I know plenty of pro-life Christians who are foster parents and/or have adopted children of different races and with special needs, often profound special needs.

To say that adopted children spend "the rest of their lives" wondering why they were rejected, etc., yes, this is true in some cases. But not all, or even most, based on the adoptees I have known. Most do go through a period of questioning, but when addressed properly by the adoptive parents (and birth parent in open adoptions) many of those questions can be dealt with in a positive way. I suspect there are Christians and non-Christians who push the adoption option on daughters who deal with an unplanned pregnancy because of feelings of guilt or shame, but the ones I know choose adoption because it is the best option to provide their baby with a secure future.

Finally, sociopaths who rape to produce children? Fortunately, I have no first-hand experience with rape, but I know far too many women who have been raped or molested. As best I can tell, the reasons usually have much more to do with control and the need to impose their will on another person, or punishment, than with sexual desire or procreation.

Full disclosure -- no, I have not adopted any children, or fostered any. Not everyone is equipped with those skills or gifts, and I'm self-aware enough to know that I would not be a good foster parent or adoptive parent. I have raised a biological child, an experience that brought immense joy,' and my husband and I considered fostering children. I believe our choice not to was the right one, both for us and any potential foster children.

Real World
Mon, 10/07/2019 - 9:53am

Nice try, but it's not the length of the comment that counts, it's the accuracy. You just wishfully thinking. If you are an evangelical Christian and vote for Republicans, you have to acknowledge the voice of the people you elect to represent all of us:


The rape comment came from an elected Republican.... No need to say more.

Once all the evangelical Christians keep all their unwanted grandchildren and adopt all the children waiting in foster care, then you can talk about promoting adoption with a clear conscience, but government funds should not be used for that propaganda.

Thu, 10/10/2019 - 9:39pm

No I try my best to not associate with pro-life evangelical christians! You are totally self centered, boring as hell, ignorant and have no idea how this earth turns, have no tolerance for anyone with an opposing views or religion and if the likes of most of you are what I have to look forward to in the after life, I'm seriously considering a pass!

Sat, 10/12/2019 - 12:26pm

"Most pro-life Christians I know would be okay with an exception for rape, incest, or to save a mother's life, as would I." Then you all need to get together and tell your GOP legislators that. And tell them women should have free and easy access to birth control as well.
"To say that adopted children spend "the rest of their lives" wondering why they were rejected, etc., yes, this is true in some cases." This is true in most cases. Many adoptive parents unfortunately feel threatened by the existence of their children's birthparents and are afraid to search. I know many who didn't search until after their adoptive parents are deceased, out of respect to them, and then it is often too late, although they often will find siblings and other relatives.
"...sociopaths who rape to produce children?" I'm also not sure what the original poster was referring to here, but there are plenty of married men who think that sex and procreation is their "right," regardless of their wife's wishes. 14% of married women report (and that's just the number who report) being raped by their spouse.
"Not everyone is equipped with those skills or gifts..." with regard to fost-adopt. Yes, exactly. I agree with you and fully believe your decision was the right one for you (and I do not mean that sarcastically) - so how about we also believe a woman who does not feel she is equipped with the skills or gifts (or doesn't have the financial or time capacity) to parent?

Maggie M.
Sun, 10/06/2019 - 2:53pm

Bravo! We fostered part of a family. There were no homes available for 4 children under 6. In the end the children were split up with 2 being adopted together. Fewer abortions means electing those who support strong public schools, quality health care for all, cheap effective birth control, childcare assistance, and enforcement of child support.
“Pro-life” is anything but as long as they support politicians that support the death penalty, treat minorities as less than themselves, and condone putting human beings in cage.

Thu, 10/03/2019 - 2:50pm

There are plenty of children ready to adopt in the United States.

Fri, 10/04/2019 - 9:57am

WWJD? We just need more truly good-hearted people to adopt them.

Fri, 10/04/2019 - 9:01am

Adopting children in America are expensive, and not to forget thousands of hoops to jump through. LGBTIA have larger burden over straight families and it is exceedingly difficult to adopt. Hence why family go for foreign adoptions, and its cheaper. Think about that

Fri, 04/17/2020 - 9:05pm

Adoption is a very poor alternative to parenting, not an alternative to pregnancy, and poor/single pregnant people don't owe anyone the use of their body to grow a baby. Adoption is for orphans, not infertile people.

Joan M McComber
Thu, 10/03/2019 - 12:32pm

Very well stated. There are so many more aspects to the difference between being pro-life and pro-choice. We need a fuller discussion so that a better understanding occurs and support is given to ensure the need for abortion is reduced. That could be a real eye opening conversation.

Karen Seefelt
Thu, 10/03/2019 - 2:17pm

Nicely said Casey. Agree 100%.

Sat, 10/05/2019 - 12:50pm

I agree wholeheartedly. This is a perfect way to describe it. I don’t believe that I personally would ever get an abortion but that doesn’t mean others can’t have that choice if it’s right for them.

Cindy L.
Sat, 10/05/2019 - 2:29pm

Thanks for your comment, Casey. You make very important points that are too often left out by just naming groups. I believe we are all pro-life. Pro-choice or anti-CHOICE, is a more fitting question, in my view.

Thu, 10/10/2019 - 9:22pm

Excellent !! Let's call this what it really is !!!!

Ms. Super Party...
Tue, 06/16/2020 - 9:49am

Nailed it.

Wed, 10/02/2019 - 5:56pm

So, if you are pro-life can you prove it? How many mothers have you personally helped? What about the babies? I think the AP has it right and the anti-abortion movement has co-opted the language.

John Hulett
Wed, 10/02/2019 - 6:03pm

Great article and explanation for those us value all lives.

Eric Mann
Wed, 10/02/2019 - 7:43pm

1 - it is entirely possible to be a woman and against women's rights. The biggest opponent to the ERA was middle class Republican women, namely Phyllis Shafley.

2 - The issue is "should women legally have the choice to get an abortion. " If you support that, then you support a woman's right to choose to have an abortion or not. If you don't, then you actually should be labeled "anti-choice." So being called anti-abortion, (and it's true, you are anti-abortion) is frankly a nice way to consider your position.

3 - You throw around words like "person" and "people" while referring to fetuses. Using that terminology means you think that personhood begins at conception. However, until viability, a fetus is not capable of surviving outside the womb. So arguing that it is a separate individual must be based on some religious beliefs. Not everyone has those same beliefs.

4 - I would like you to explain what your belief is for unwanted fertilized embryos from fertility clinics. If you do not believe that these have the right to a life, and therefore women must be forced to bring them to term as well, then you do not have a leg to stand on.

Thu, 10/03/2019 - 8:02am

S0 is it fair to call the other side pro-abortion since its availability is their objective? Is this battle for terminology somehow new? Didn't we have pro-slavery and anti-slavery or did I miss the "pro-choice" people in that controversy? How about illegal alien vs. undocumented immigrant? To pursue this battle of definitions further, now in your world is anyone unable to live independently without the care of others open for termination or is the womb the deciding factor? Since we're able to save babies born 3 - 4 months early is this 6 month point now your line for abortion?

Tue, 10/15/2019 - 11:38am

Matt, if you read the other posts you will have observed that it's perfectly possible for a woman to oppose abortion on her own behalf while not imposing her beliefs on others. So "pro-choice," not "pro-abortion," is the more accurate term.

Thu, 10/03/2019 - 9:19am

This: "I would like you to explain what your belief is for unwanted fertilized embryos from fertility clinics. If you do not believe that these have the right to a life, and therefore women must be forced to bring them to term as well, then you do not have a leg to stand on."
I cannot recall where I heard this ethical dilemma, but is a very interesting one to present to who equate zygotes, embryos and fetuses with people. You are walking down the street and pass a fertility clinic. A fire has broken out at the clinic. You rush in to help. You see an eight-year-old child sitting in a room which also has a container of 100 frozen fetuses. You can only save one or the other. Who do you save? One child or 100 fetuses? In other words, is the life of one living child more or less valuable than 100 frozen fetuses?

Fri, 10/04/2019 - 10:07am

Still waiting for the answer.

Craig Reynolds
Sat, 10/05/2019 - 6:26pm

Don't forget the poor, little, defenseless blastocyst.

Julia Ludwig
Wed, 10/02/2019 - 8:03pm

If you support a decent life for everyone that's born why don't you vigorously support family planning clinics - so people have what they need to have responsible stewardship of their most intimate lives? Cutting funds for Planned Parenthood makes no sense if you are pro wanted lives. If you are pro unwanted lives I am at a loss for words.

Dena Arner
Wed, 10/02/2019 - 8:18pm

I think you have a profound misunderstanding of the pro-choice movement if you do not acknowledge the the pro-choice movement is also full of people who adopt, foster, and serve as caregivers . We are also protesting the incarceration of children and separation of families on the border who enter the country under the legal process of asylum. I have not heard of any "pro-life" groups speaking out about the 6 children who died in US custody at the hands of our "pro-life" president. I thought all those lives matter ? Or not as much as the potential lives. If the pro-life movement were truely pro-life they would seek to prevent abortion by preventing unwanted/unplanned pregnancy - instead they fight against access to birth control, ensuring that there will be more abortions.

Jane Thomas
Sun, 10/06/2019 - 2:01pm

Well-said, Ms. Arner. The term "pro-life" is an unfortunate euphemism that does not describe the people against abortion. And the article here in question is full of misinformation. We see the same people who are anti-abortion are also against any kind of "welfare" or help for mothers who must work and take care of children at the same time. The same people have no problem with the fact that the U.S. has the highest rate of maternity deaths in those countries considered as "first-world." Further, the pro-choice label is more accurate than the "pro-abortion" label. And that is because the pro-choice group includes both those who would never get an abortion and those who would consider it.

Your point about birth-control is especially relevant here. Anyone against birth-control (as all too many anti-abortion people are) is, most definitely, NOT thinking about the well-being of women and families, but rather working toward keeping women out of power and tied to the home and child-care.

John Q. Public
Wed, 10/02/2019 - 11:06pm

The writer gives a litany of the wonderful things the anti-abortionists do on behalf of women. Even accepting that they're all true, couldn't they do all those things without using the political process to try to make abortion and access to it more difficult for those who don't share their beliefs, or still see abortion as the least objectionable among several bad alternatives?

Of course they could, but they don't, and that's because they're anti-abortion and they're anti-choice. They don't like being called that because it inhibits their political goals, not because it changes or misrepresents their beliefs. The "pro-life" moniker came about because some public relations firm told them it would be politically beneficial. Controlling the language is a strategy to achieve political objectives. That's why this piece was written.

Rob Pollard
Thu, 10/03/2019 - 3:16am

"Pro-life people are not trying to take away rights."
These people are literally working to do that. They don't believe women have a right to an abortion; in Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court found women have that right, and these anti-arbortion people have (increasingly successfully) taken that away.
I very rarely see "pro-life" people, for example, working to end the death penalty. Why? Because it has nothing to do with abortion. They are anti-abortion, not pro-life.

Thu, 10/03/2019 - 9:18am

I wish I had read the comments prior to posting my own because I said/was thinking the same thing!

Sun, 10/06/2019 - 2:23am

Is it not equally hypocritical when pro-choice people protest the death penalty, or get all hot and bothered about animal rights? Does it make any sense to support terminating the life of a child but plead for the life of a convicted felon? What about no-kill animal shelters (hey, I support those as well, guess I am pro-life for pets) or hunting (I'm all for it, especially the deer who think my yard and landscaping is a buffet line)? Do some abortion rights advocates place more value on the life of Fido, Fluffy, or Bambi than they do on the life of a child? Just wondering.

Wake Up
Fri, 10/18/2019 - 5:31pm

No, it's not hypocritical. A person on death row probably had a bad life, abandoned by family and society. That person was rejected and abandoned. That person needs love, compassion, and rehabilitation. Jesus Christ hanging on the cross forgave a murderer. It's the Christian thing to do. Forgive! Help others! It's the total opposite of conservative Trump (grab them by the p..., capture and kill.) Republican values.

You say "child", but you mean fetus, spermatozoa. That's why you are also anti birth-control. You are a self-righteous controlling egotist who wants to save all the potential life, including seed. You and all other "pro-lifers" must feel awfully guilty when you eat eggs, seeing that little chick fetus that you eat, you know the one attached to the yolk by the little umbilical cord. It looks just like a human fetus. BTW I don't eat eggs. Those fetuses are gross and they're everywhere, cakes, cookies. You're probably feeding them to your children. Think about it!

John Roach
Thu, 10/03/2019 - 9:07am

Pro-life (AKA Pro-birth) is all of Anti-Abortion and more because that's where it stops for these 'advocates'. Single issue voters rarely hold a wider perspective, lack any sort of empathy or deep understanding of the situation, operate using only archaic ideas that have percolated up and filtered beyond all recognition and certainly couldn't deviate from the path established by their church and party. In other-words, the Christian Taliban are hard at work here in the good old USA.

Thu, 10/03/2019 - 9:15am

"Pro-life people are not trying to take away rights." Except they are though. A 'pro-life' person's main objective is to eliminate another person's constitutional right to have an abortion.


Thu, 10/03/2019 - 9:42am

If some say the proper term for pro-life is "anti-abortion" would others say that the proper term for pro-abortion should maybe be "anti-life"?
Think about that for a moment.
Words and terminology are just something that can be written on a piece of paper. One's beliefs and actions are what really counts.
The pro-abortion vs. pro-life debate is a most difficult one. There will never be consensus on this issue and the debate will continue no matter what laws are in place. As for me, I am pro-life.

Fri, 10/04/2019 - 10:14am

You just aren't "pro-life" of the woman because you want to subjugate her choice to your choice, very paternalistic.

Fri, 10/04/2019 - 11:28am

The pro-abortion vs. pro-life is not difficult in the least bit. Abortion is a constitutional right. There is no debate.

Sun, 10/06/2019 - 2:26am

And you find this in the Constitution where? Certainly not in the Inalienable right to life, liberty, etc.

Right there
Mon, 10/07/2019 - 10:52am

You have to understand the Bible to understand the Constitution. God said LIFE starts at breathing, not conception.

And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

Gen 2:7

It's not about potential life. AMEN

Paul Jordan
Thu, 10/03/2019 - 9:27am

"Pro-life" is such a nice, warm fuzzy term! Who isn't pro-life? Only monsters like the fictional Hannibal Lector would be 'anti-life', after all!
And wouldn't it be nice if the anti-abortion folks actually WERE pro-life. They would support easily available birth control, generous social and financial support for (even unmarried) mothers, volunteer as foster parents, be robustly against capital punishment, and vigorously support universal access to health care!
But they don't generally support all that, of course, so the truth is that they really aren't 'pro-life', and don't deserve the comfort of considering themselves as such. They really are focused on depriving women of one of the most important choices that anyone ever has to make.
I find it very interesting that so many anti-abortion folks revere a young frightened unmarried pregnant woman (Mary) to whom an angel of God supposedly spoke, but somehow don't consider that perhaps God also speaks to other young, frightened, unmarried pregnant women today. Who is to say that God says the same thing to everyone?
Acknowledging the right of pregnant people to listen to their own inner voice/God is fundamentally to have respect for them.

Edson Schaus
Thu, 10/03/2019 - 9:29am

This is really very simple; if you work to make abortions illegal or to limit access to abortion, then you are anti-abortion

Thu, 10/03/2019 - 11:35am

What if you did actually succeed in forcing your beliefs on everyone else and abortion did become illegal. Desperate women will still have them but it won't be the safe procedure it is now. Will you be shedding a tear for the women who die from unsafe abortions? Stay out of other women's decisions about their bodies. It's legal for a reason and if you don't believe in them don't have one. Don't force your religious beliefs on others. What makes you think that it's ok to do that? It must be a part of God's plan. Since abortion does exist maybe God gave doctors the knowledge to perform the procedure so that women who maybe made a mistake aren't forced to live with that mistake. Who are you to speak for your God and to judge others?

Thu, 10/03/2019 - 9:48am

Pro-life? Put your money where your mouth is. Be pro-immigration, since people seek asylum in the U.S. to escape violence and death in other countries. Support government benefits for the poor to feed, clothe and house the children you want born. Of course you'll want all to have quality health insurance since health care saves lives. You don't support those things? Sorry, what you really mean is that you are anti-abortion, pro-birth.

Thu, 10/03/2019 - 9:56am

Samantha, thank you for your well-thought out commentary. I agree with you 100%; I am not only anti-abortion, I am pro-life and that term does carry a great deal more of a definition of how I live my life. To those who say, do you support women, have you saved babies...the whole what have you done argument—yes and yes. I have provided resources and support to pregnant women who were unsure of what to do when faced with an unplanned pregnancy. I have provided resources and support after the babies have been born. I have held sobbing women who were hurting because they had an abortion (some weeks , some years and some decades before they met me). However, if I were to adopt every child, support every mother, my question is would that stop you from promoting abortion? I doubt it. I am also anti-rape but I am not criticized for not counseling every woman who experiences the horror of rape or paying for all of her expenses. Science is very clear: human life begins at conception. If we all agree that science is correct, how are you able to justify the “choice” of terminating that human life? Especially when 99% of all abortions are done due to convenience (not incest or rape). There is only a baby in the womb when it is convenient for the mother to be pregnant, otherwise suddenly the baby is demoted to “fetus” and not protected. I am pro life from conception until natural death. So that does mean that I work to support those with disabilities, the elderly and the sick. It means that I am pro-life. Thanks again, Samantha!

Praying for you
Fri, 10/04/2019 - 10:06am

Please see this:
It's so much easier to hold posters of bloody fetuses and pray rosaries, than to look at the faces of these children who want to be adopted. Put your efforts into adopting the children who are already waiting for parents. Don't deny LGBTQ from helping these children. They need YOUR help. All children's lives matter, not just fetuses.

Fri, 10/04/2019 - 1:35pm

Eileen: actually, the "science" is NOT at all clear as to when life begins-that's why there are continuing disagreements on this matter. Your religious dogma may back up your claim that "human life begins at conception," but that is a morally-based definition that not all in this country or even on this planet share. So...how about being more "pro-freedom" by keeping your morals to yourself and keep your laws off of my (and everyone's) body? Mind your own biskits and life will be gravy!
On another note about "science," (and I know I am going to get reamed by the rightys on this one), the "science" clearly indicates that the planet is warming, but are your political leaders listening to THAT science and creating a more "pro-life" planet? Or are they passing laws and policies that are making the Earth less habitable for all [but primarily human] life?

Diane H
Thu, 10/03/2019 - 9:57am

It's nice that you want to call yourself pro-life instead of anti-abortion. But your movement insists on calling anyone who is pro-choice.... pro-abortion. Think about that.

Sandra Keirnan
Thu, 10/03/2019 - 10:32am

Regarding the abortion terminology, I'd like to add that being "pro choice" is not the same as being pro abortion. There are those of us who don't think this personal, difficult and life changing decision by a woman should be decided by or dictated by others. That doesn't make us pro abortion. There is a difference.

Doug L
Thu, 10/03/2019 - 11:47am

I find it interesting that the so called pro-choice crowd wants to label the pro life crowd as anti choice and pro abortion, but to not wish to embrace the "Pro-Death" label for themselves. For that is exactly what they are. Better to kill a child than to be inconvenienced by actually raising your offspring. Hypocrites!

Fri, 10/04/2019 - 9:53am

Doug when you get pregnant you can have a say in this. Women get pregnant and they get to decide if they want to keep it. End of story.

Thu, 10/03/2019 - 11:56am

I have met very few people who call themselves "pro-life" who care anything about poor migrants, people in slums or homeless, etc. In fact, many of them take a pretty cruel view of these folks. I believe "anti-abortion" is the correct term, or if you don't like the word "anti", "pro-birth", but most are certainly NOT "pro-life".

Thu, 10/03/2019 - 9:44pm

How about "pro forced gestation for someone else who is self righteous"?

Did I miss the Right to Life rally for Jamal Khashoggi that was held to condemn Trump for his tight relationship with Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, who allegedly ordered that the journalist be butchered?

Joan M McComber
Thu, 10/03/2019 - 12:30pm

While I am not going to dispute this person's belief that being anti-abortion is the same as being pro-life, there is one major group that they need to convince of this position. The GOP members of the legislature regularly defund programs designed to help the poor and elderly, as well as young children. If you truly want us to believe your group is pro-life, not anti-abortion, you need to let your Senators and Representatives know that you now expect them to honor this change in focus so that all vulnerable people get the support and services they need. If not, this is just so much hot air.

Jim Pearson
Thu, 10/03/2019 - 12:40pm

How many years should a mother-to-be spend in prison for seeking or obtaining an abortion? If abortion is murder then she who hires someone to perform that service is also guilty of murder. Bob Bashara of Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan, did not kill his wife. He hired someone to do it. He is serving a life sentence for murder. If our laws were to be consistant, the answer to my question would be a life sentence for getting an abortion.
I suspect politicians who seek to ban abortions would abandon the issue quickly as hundreds of thousands of women are sentenced to prison for life. End the hypocrisy.

Diane J
Thu, 10/03/2019 - 12:49pm

How many of you "pro-life" people are supporters of tRump's policies? How many of the unwanted babies are you willing to take in and support until they are old enough to get jobs-and are you willing to do all that regardless of medical needs, disabilities skin color, ethnicity and immigration status or do you wash your "pro-life" hands of them as soon as they are born? Just asking for but not expecting an honest answer.

Fri, 10/04/2019 - 1:41am

Great points Diane, I agree 100% with you. After reading, "ALL" the comments I feel like this lady and her supporters are trying to re-define who they are. In my opinion they are just Forced Birthers. She would have to openly and publicly prove her assertions about all the things she claims to do for these poor women. I would also need proof that she opposes the Death Penalty and any other non natural death. This very sad that she is trying desperately to generate sympathy for herself and her followers because she doesn't like the label she has been appropriately assigned. She writes, "This work is based on the belief that all life matters, and we don’t get to decide that some aren’t worthy of it." does this mean she is anti-war, is she against rogue cops killing minorities? or are there some instances were murder is ok with her and her followers?

Clifford Babcock
Fri, 10/04/2019 - 9:20am

Pro BIRTH or actually interested in the well being of all CHILDREN?.

Fri, 10/04/2019 - 9:42am

I don't think that a group into torturing women for exploring their reproductive options, generally not into a comprehensive welfare state to support low income mothers, and opposed to abortion, even at the expense of the mother's life/health, should be crying about biased labels. This group is anti-abortion. "Pro-life" infers unconditional support of pursuits of overall well-being for both a fetus AND mother, long after a child is born.

Fri, 10/04/2019 - 9:57am

I’m saddened to read these comments. Most abortions today are abortions of convenience (very easy to find these statistics). If a pre-born human life does not matter, why would any of our lives matter? By today’s standards our mothers could have aborted us. Do the people who support pro-choice think that it would have been fine had they been aborted? The argument that those trying to protect a human being don’t offer some continuum of support is missing the point; that everything that makes you YOU was there from the get-go and will be there if you become a demented elderly person who cannot care for yourself. Care beyond the womb is a separate issue. Regardless of whose “right” it is, aborting a human being whose cells are changing, just like yours and mine are right now, is murder. Don’t label me pro-life; I am pro personal responsibility and believe abortion should be extremely rare as it was meant to be.

Sorry you're sad
Sat, 10/05/2019 - 2:29pm

"Care beyond the womb is a separate issue." NO IT'S NOT

Sun, 10/06/2019 - 6:41pm

Yes, it is a separate issue. Abortion kills a human being during one stage of development. Caring for a human being after birth is not the same thing. The pro-life movement, as I understand it, takes the stand that abortion is murder and is inherently wrong. Aren’t you glad you are alive and your mother didn’t abort/kill you? You are in a stage of development right now; whether it’s age 15 with cells changing and moving you toward maturity or age 80 with cells changing and moving you toward death. You are you regardless. I’m certainly not against caring for persons beyond the womb. All I’m saying is that abortion kills a human being at a certain stage of development. And that is murder.

Mon, 10/07/2019 - 11:04am

So you admit you are anti-abortion, not pro-life. Get over your own guilt. Aren't you glad your parents didn't discard you AFTER birth or that you weren't sexually abused by clergy? How often do you rally for the rights of those poor victims? Or do you blame them?

Mon, 10/14/2019 - 11:39am

Your comments are only distractions from the fundamental fact that abortion is the intentional killing of a pre-born human being.

In God's name
Sat, 10/19/2019 - 6:42am

How do you feel about circumcision and genital mutilation of babies, for religious reasons?

Sun, 10/20/2019 - 8:49am

"I’m saddened to read these comments. Most abortions today are abortions of convenience (very easy to find these statistics).... Don’t label me pro-life; I am pro personal responsibility and believe abortion should be extremely rare as it was meant to be."
So hopefully you advocate strongly for birth control, not just abstinence,,,. By the way, statistically 1 in 4 girls will be sexually assaulted before age 18; 1 in 6 boys. Please don't blame victims. We live in a culture that celebrates sexual aggression and victim shames, especially when the aggressors are rich, powerful, well-connected. I too agree that abortion should be rare, but not illegal. Sadly, President Trump epitomizes everything wrong with the prevailing celebration of rape culture and victim blaming, just listen to the Access Hollywood tape which I find to horrific to repeat. Yet he is the same man who is appointing justices to the supreme court to overturn Roe v. Wade, as well as lower level judges on the federal bench all over the country. In the end, the rich will always have the right to an abortion because they have the means to travel to where it is legal, including outside the country. However it would be a pity to have every miscarriage investigated by a prosecutor!

John A Sullivan
Fri, 10/04/2019 - 10:21am

Pro-life is the appropriate term. The AP may try to set the standard for the media, but not for life.

Fri, 10/04/2019 - 10:50am

When the so-called “pro life” voters push their representatives for better jobs and equal pay for women and poor with family benefits, full funding for public schools, free healthcare, well paid child care workers and available , affordable child care for all, then come talk to me about being pro-life.

Sun, 10/06/2019 - 11:22pm

In other words, only socialists can truly be pro-life?

Have to admit
Mon, 10/07/2019 - 11:21am

The government has to care for the kids that the Church rejects otherwise how can you call yourself pro-life and promote adoption? There are so many children waiting to be adopted in the foster system. You focus on "murder" and your guilty conscience, but ignore the cries of discarded children held in cages at the border where some have died from neglect under Trump. You ignore the foster children waiting for you or someone at your church to adopt them. Yet your church doesn't want gay people to adopt them, when you KNOW good decent gay people in your family and community. You ignore the murder of people on death row. Who are you really kidding?

Fri, 10/04/2019 - 10:53am

"Pro-Life", benign and wholesome as it may sound, becomes anti-abortion the moment it imposes its set of values on any women who may feel the need to seek an abortion.

Believe what YOU want to believe, have all the babies YOU wish to have, but don't impose your beliefs on others. I will fight for your right to NOT be forced to have an abortion, just hard as I will fight for every woman's right to NOT be forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term.

Your choice, which should be sacrosanct, should never be imposed on others.

m. curran
Fri, 10/04/2019 - 10:57am

It is well known that "pro-life" is a propaganda term. Anti-abortion is a factual term.

Anne Elaine
Fri, 10/04/2019 - 12:05pm

You might have a leg to stand on if you showed support for women’s lives through reproductive healthcare including contraception. But buried in all so-called Pro Life organizations there is always resistance to contraception other than so-called ‘natural’ methods.
There are many women who absolutely endanger their lives by bearing children—those with diabetes, hypertension, hormone-receptive breast cancer, etc. Married women, I might add, who under your system of lousy birth control, must choose between ending their sex lives or risking their own.
There are dangerous pregnancies i.e. ectopic ones and preeclampsia, where the only way to save the mother is to, sadly, end the pregnancy. You seem to blithely ignore these. A Pro-Lifer one told me that ‘those situations are so rare as to be statistically insignificant.’ What?!
Women need choices, and if you truly cared about ALL lives, you’d let them and their doctors handle their reproductive options.

Fri, 10/04/2019 - 1:30pm

Could you please explain why you support 'pro-life' Republicans who seem to hate born children by denying them healthcare, education, food, etc.?
When you look at what the Republican Party legislates (at both the state and federal level) it's always hurting children. Even undocumented children.
Oh, and why is the same party denying women easy access to birth control and other things ( equal pay, equal rights, etc.)?
OK - born children and women are targets - I get it now.

David Frye
Fri, 10/04/2019 - 1:33pm

Well, I certainly consider myself pro-life (in the true meaning of the term), and I favor women's rights, including the right to an abortion. So if you oppose abortion in spite of the number of women's lives that access to high-quality reproductive services affords, then that makes you not so much pro-life as anti-abortion.

The only point in this article that I agree with is the sense that we must recover the term "pro-life" and redefine it to refer to a stance in support of all human life. Which includes the lives of all women but certainly not the not-yet life of a fetus.

If your theological stance is that the fetus has some mystical "personhood," then fine, apply your religious principles to your own experience, but you have no right to force your views on others and potentially ruin their very real lives.

David L Medema
Fri, 10/04/2019 - 3:46pm

It should be common courtesy and respect to call a group what they wish to be called. It is disrespectful to call the Democratic Party the 'Democrat Party'. Call them by the name they've chosen. Ditto for the prolife movement as a (small) gesture of civility.

Having said this, however, the prolife movement does not live up to its name of respecting life at all stages. It does not press for social policies that would reduce the incidence of abortion by solving its root causes. Further, there is high support by prolifers for capital punishment, immigrant detention and family separation, and the use of torture. So much for a consistent respect for life.

Craig Reynolds
Sat, 10/05/2019 - 6:38pm

Almost no one addresses the fact that it is primarily churches, in particular the Catholic Church, and their members, that comprise the anti-abortion faction and that at its core, the anti-abortion argument is little more than a religious concept about ensoulment that conveniently redefines words like "baby" and "person" in the attempt to validate the position and demean any opposition. Problem is, in our Constitution there's this thing about not making laws about or out of any religion. Not that this bothers individuals like Clarence Thomas and, probably, Brett Kavanaugh, but it certainly affects tens of thousand of women and the Nation's stance on freedom of - and FROM - religion.

Sun, 10/06/2019 - 2:57pm

So, anti abortionists don't like the term? Racists don't like being called racist either

Dan Krus
Wed, 10/09/2019 - 11:01am

I am not a Journalist and I have not read the Associated Press Stylebook.
"Pro-Life" is NOT an accurate moniker for your people. Although, I would like to know how many of your people were active in working for the children imprisoned by the tRump Administration.
I do think your group is best know as "Anti-Abortion" radicals, often Religious Radicals. Another term I like to use is, "Pro-Embryo." These latter two terms seem most appropriate.

M. Von GR
Fri, 10/11/2019 - 11:11am

The truth is abortion has always existed and will always exist. The essential question is this: Are women full human beings with full rights or not? I say they are. The anti-abortion folk ought to support policies and candidates that fund the social safety net, and target their advocacy to reigning in men and their sexual impulses that create these unwanted pregnancies in the first place. I don’t see this at all happening. When men only have sex to create life with a fully consenting female, we will have no abortion. Problem Solved. Until then, a woman’s body is her own property.

Sat, 10/12/2019 - 12:10pm

Exactly. Thank you.

Sat, 10/12/2019 - 12:08pm

This is a comment to the various comments about adoption in this thread - which is largely an issue separate from the abortion issue - and I am pro-choice, I agree with the other poster who noted that the term should be "anti-choice" not anti-abortion.

Private adoptions in America ARE expensive, and it can take a long time to adopt a white infant. But there are plenty of children in foster care who need homes, and there are federal and state supports for fost-adopt families. Many are children of color, many have special needs, and all have experienced trauma of varying degrees (the most "insignificant" level that they were obviously removed from the home of their birth family), so fost-adopt is not for the faint of heart. The birthparents of most children in foster care did not consider abortion, for a wide variety of reasons - addiction, domestic violence, poverty, etc. Foreign adoptions are also very expensive, and are often (not always, but often) based more on race, if you really dig under the surface. Many people also have unfounded fears around open adoption. One thing people don't understand is that adopting internationally is very similar to fostering. You do not adopt immediately at birth, and these children have also experienced trauma - they have at least twice been removed from their family, once from their birthmother and once from their foster family or orphanage, and they are then taken to a completely different culture, different foods, different language, different everything. It is also not uncommon for them to experience neglect before they are placed, as there are often too many babies for the foster mother or orphanage to realistically care for fully; so not malicious neglect, just situational, but experienced by the child as neglect all the same. And, there certainly are some who experience outright abuse. The problem is, the adoptive parents will know absolutely nothing of this in an international adoption; if you adopt through foster care, you typically have at least some background of the family and what exactly the child experienced. Even a very young baby "remembers" trauma and can be left with lasting PTSD-type mental health issues. BTW I am a white LGBTQIA adoptive parent of two African American teens, both adopted privately, one was 7 hours old, the other was 3 months because he had been in the NICU before we knew of his existence - and he "remembered" the trauma of his birth and that NICU experience. It made a huge difference for him when he was old enough to fully understand his birth story and have a practical handle on where a lot of his feelings around abandonment, phobia of needles and shavers/razors (his first attempted hair cut was very traumatic - they had to use scissors for years), etc., came from. We also have open adoptions with both, which has been an amazing gift to them, and, as far as I am aware, is not possible in an international adoption.

Sat, 10/19/2019 - 6:55am

God bless you for your insight and your contributions to our society. We are all blessed when we support amazing people like you! You are literally both saving lives and making the future better for all of us. AMEN

john chastain
Sun, 10/13/2019 - 8:31am

We define this argument as being for or against access to abortion. The author’s intention is to define pro-life (anti abortion) as something greater than just abortion. That’s fair and subject to turn around as well. The anti abortion (pro life) crusade has always been about more than access to abortion services. I’ll grant Mrs Wilcoxson that many in her movement see pro life as much more than just an abortion issue and expect her to do the same for her opposition. The religious conservatives who dominate the anti abortion (pro life) movement have an agenda that goes far beyond abortion. For them it’s about women’s reproductive health and rights and women’s place in a conservative religious society. And make no mistake, the intent is to dominate society in part through control of reproductive options and gender oppression. For not only abortion is on the table, it’s also contraception, sexual education, gender and sexual orientation equality and conservative religious dominance. The allegiance between the anti reproductive rights movement and the anti gender/ sexual identity/ racial equality brigade is defined by their allegiance to Trump and his reactionary conservative base. Much of whose combined agendas are easily defined as anti life not pro life. The pro life (anti abortion) movement is defined by the company they keep, I’ll take her argument more seriously when she and others like her divorce themselves from the forces of reaction and oppression dominating conservatism. You walk with racists, bigots and other agents of Trumps destructive agenda and pro life you are not. Only one more supporter of chaos and oppression. You would bring these “children” into a dangerous world of your own making and call it “good”.

Mary Hill
Mon, 10/14/2019 - 9:17pm

The term should be pro-birth. Where are these so-called pro-life people after these unwanted babies are born? They don't believe it is society's responsibility to help these children after they're born. They would deny them and their mothers the programs that would lift them out of poverty through education and the social programs they need. You can't "pull yourself up by your boot straps" if you don't have any boots.

Robyn Tonkin
Tue, 10/15/2019 - 8:57pm

I am very experienced at listening to what pro-life women say. What pro-life women mean when they say that they council women to not have abortions, and "support" them in their decision to bear their child, is the following. They mean that they want the woman to have the baby, and then go off happily into the sunset, hopefully with the baby's father, and subsequently these (wedded) parents are paragons of parental virtue who raise a marvelously well adjusted child. When these people succeed in getting a woman to carry the baby to term and deliver it, they may hold a party (they do like baby showers). And then, the mother and child are on their own. If they don't have a husband/father to help them, if the mother is mentally unfit to parent, or is an alcoholic, or drug addict, well isn't that just too bad. Time to call in social services. These pro-life women also "support" indigent old people, the homeless, interned migrant children and other unfortunates in the same useless, ineffectual way. They hold a rummage sale and give the proceeds to some charity--pleasant degrees of separation, there, from the actual problem. If these women are mothers, they often coerce their children into totally ineffectual volunteerism, such as giving the proceeds from the child's Kool-Aid stand in the front yard to a Christian charity that gives old clothes or surplus food to the homeless--more pleasant degrees of separation from the real problem. The needy people, in reality, are not cared for by Jesus' evangelical christian lady disciples, but by dedicated, over-worked government employees, on a shoestring budget, because conservative politicians have cut taxes to the very bone,
Evangelical christian women are anti-abortion because some preacher in a pulpit has pointed to some lines in the bible and told these women that these lines mean abortion is murder and sin. From first to last, evangelical christian womens' opposition to abortion flows from their adherence to christian dogma. It's very simple--they are being obedient to the tenants of a religion they believe in.
When I see anti-abortion evangelical christian women, en masse, toiling every day of their lives in immense housing projects built by their christian denomination, structures that house all the foster children, all the abandoned children, all the homeless and the indigent elderly, I'll know they're for real when they talk about "supporting" those unfortunates--because doing that would constitute support. What they do now, the talk, talk, talking, and precious little substantive action, is just the most egregious and worthless, useless, hogwash. My favorite hypocrisy is how these women ignore the sanctity of human life as it pertains to the men of this nation. So many of these women are so jingoistic and want our military all over the world waging war and, incidentally, keeping them safe. Gee, you care about a boy baby when he's in the womb--what happened to all that caring in the years between 1 and 18, when suddenly it's okay for him to be classified as cannon fodder. Oh--I forgot--that's covered when you thank him for his service.

Sat, 10/19/2019 - 7:03am

So true! Thank you for sharing your keen observations. They talk the talk, but don't walk the walk. Instead sadly they vote for officials bent on making life worse for the 99 percenters.

Wed, 10/23/2019 - 8:55am

Pro-life should be a term reserved for those who are faithfully against war, for improving access to healthcare to all that need it regardless of ability to pay for life saving care, demand the abolishment of capital punishment, work to reduce violence and get handguns off the street and homes, strive to end famine and other causes of death. These together might warrant calling an individual “pro-life” but simply being against abortion certainly does not.

Mon, 12/09/2019 - 10:52am

I have to completely disagree with this author. Being pro-life means you care about the child's life... and in fact, you ONLY care about their being carried to term and born. Especially in states with strict abortion laws, babies are being abandoned in bathrooms, on the side of the road, by rivers/train tracks, etc and dying of starvation, dehydration, and sun/cold exposure. There is nothing to keep these children safe and give them a real chance at life once they are born to mothers who cannot, or will not, take care of them. Those lucky enough to make it into the foster system are often physically, sexually, and mentally abused to the point where they end their own life. Not only are anti-abortion folks not pro-life because the children are still dying... but you are causing that death to take much longer with inhumane amounts of pain and suffering. If you are pro-life, you HAVE to address these issues, you cannot just remain ignorant of them and assume that babies will magically have a great life after they are born because you think God wanted you to put both the mother and child into this situation. This author shows utter and complete ignorance on what happens to these children after the birth you have forced... and you might THINK you are pro-life, but you are not... you are hundreds if not millions of people with your ignorance.

Fri, 12/20/2019 - 12:10pm

You are not pro-life. Pro-life means no war, no death penalty, ample food for everyone, medical coverage for everyone at a reasonable cost, prevention of gun deaths by using gun control, allowing adoptions by all people (including LGBTQ), opening our borders to refugees, etc. What you are is anti-abortion and anti-life.

Bob Bunsen
Wed, 03/25/2020 - 4:52pm

You’re not pro-life, you’re pro-birth, and you don’t really care what happens after that. For evidence of that, look who wants to minimize spending on education, food assistance, and child care, and research just how many “pro-life” advocates have ever adopted (or even fostered) these kids whose parents can’t or won’t raise them.

Fri, 04/17/2020 - 9:00pm

You say you're not anti-choice or anti-abortion and that you supposedly value "all life," but where are you when

Fri, 04/17/2020 - 9:00pm

You say you're not anti-choice or anti-abortion and that you supposedly value "all life," but where are you when

Mon, 06/15/2020 - 7:54pm

Really you’re just anti-freedom and pro-big government and anti-woman and pro-patriarchy and anti-progress and pro-oppression.

George Hagenauer
Wed, 07/22/2020 - 11:13am

It would have been useful for the writer to detail what efforts pro-life has done in their other areas of being pro-life. My experience in working in other states is this often is basically restricting people's right to die. For 25 years in the other state working on children's issues, I don't think I ever saw any support from the pro-life groups (there was support from Catholic Charities) on issues like health care , child care , food stamps etc. . Saying everyone has access to health care is not true. Many eligibility formulas really restrict families from having access. I have also seen innumerable cases of where the child has access to health care until a certain age but the parent who is the main support of the child does not. If pro-life groups actually were pro-life in their legislative work their clout would greatly improve the conditions of all people in the state. Sadly they are not and support the politicians who insure that many children have horrible lives .

Ronald Kruis
Sun, 07/26/2020 - 11:16am

This is a very articulate and accurate rendering of what it means to be pro-life. It reflects the heartfelt beliefs of my wife and myself. Thank you, Bridge, for publishing this piece.