Wednesday, 08 December 2021
Five ways the pregnancy help movement demolishes pro-life stereotypes Edward Cisneros/Unsplash

Five ways the pregnancy help movement demolishes pro-life stereotypes

I’ve always been pro-life and have been actively involved in the movement for over 13 years. 

I’m glad to stand for the life-affirming mission, I’m compelled by the core message of the Bible—that of God’s love for humanity—to help rescue vulnerable, preborn human beings.

That said, there are certain elements to participating in this work which at times make me cringe.

I’m guessing you can relate.

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The work we do involves a hot-button topic. Say words like “pro-life” or “abortion” in many a circle and the tension quickly escalates as defenses rise.

Women who view legal abortion as a fundamental female right may fear losing what they see as one of their hard-won forms of freedom.

Men may stand with the pro-abortion crowd to be politically correct—or simply out of uncertainty as to what they should believe.

Folks who are uncomfortable with the idea of abortion may waver when they hear questions like, “What if the mother’s life is in danger?” and “What about in the case of rape?”

Abortion advocates have worked long and hard to deaden our national conscience when it comes to protecting the most vulnerable among us.

Tweet This: Abortion advocates have worked long and hard to deaden our national conscience when it comes to protecting the most vulnerable among us.

So, there’s that.

To make matters worse, some people who consider themselves pro-life have done horrific things such as murdering abortion providers or bombing abortion clinics.

(How is killing people “pro-life” in any way, shape or form??)

Then there’s the pro-life protestors who carry signs with gory pictures of aborted fetuses, hoping to shock people into a pro-life position.

On the one hand, I understand images are powerful and can provide a wake-up call. (Consider the Holocaust or Vietnam. We needed to see what was happening to acknowledge it and do something about it.)

On the other hand, do we really want to re-traumatize the many post-abortive women (and men) in our population by getting in their faces like that?

It’s certainly not the kindest approach.

I’ve also seen plenty of dismaying activity on social media among pro-life people. 

Finger pointing and judgment leveled at those who aren’t making the cause of life a priority. Refusal to listen to people with the opposing viewpoint.  A self-righteousness, proud, angry tone.

It’s exhausting, honestly.

So, here’s what’s tragic about all this: the term “pro-life” too easily conjures up negative images in people’s minds because of what some folks have said and done in the name of the life-affirming mission.

Yet here you are, reaching out with compassion, practical aid and emotional support, helping women and couples facing unplanned pregnancies—and you get unfairly lumped in with the lunatic fringe.

The beautiful work done by pregnancy help centers around the nation and the world demonstrates that the tired old caricature of what it means to be pro-life should be laid to rest—and the sooner, the better.

Here are some elements of the negative pro-life stereotype which you demolish by the very way you work and live:

1. You don’t believe the end justifies the means; therefore, you aren’t dangerous. 

Your ethic is that all human life is sacred, including the lives of those who oppose you. You pray for your enemies. You look for opportunities to do good to them. You choose to love them.

2. You aren’t mean and insensitive toward those facing unplanned pregnancies.

You reach out with care and kindness, effectively listening and helping. You aren’t there to judge, but to offer support in a pregnancy crisis. While you won’t help a young woman end her baby’s life, you are totally in her corner.

3. You are more interested in showing love to an abortion-minded woman than in proving you are right.

You don’t offer lectures on why abortion is wrong. You are there to listen and accurately explain options. You support distressed women and offer them resources. You are willing to be a friend and mentor, often for years.

4. You care about those you serve, not just about their unborn child.

Clients who visit pregnancy help centers report extremely high rates of satisfaction. You care about your clients as individuals. You want the best possible future for them. You even minister to young dads who are overwhelmed by an unplanned pregnancy. More on this point here.

5. It’s not your desire to take away a choice from a woman; rather, you want to offer her the hope she needs to make the best decision.

Tweet This: Clients who visit pregnancy help centers report extremely high rates of satisfaction. You care about your clients as individuals.

Helping a woman end the life of her preborn child is a way to wound her, not empower her. Instead of doing that, you offer alternatives to abortion along with practical help. When it comes to empowering women facing unplanned pregnancies, what you do is the real deal.

I’ll close with a story which illustrates how pregnancy resource centers make a difference in our communities and our culture:

When my son was attending our local state college, he told me about an incident on campus which prompted me to establish a new policy at our pregnancy help clinic.

He watched another student in his class giving a zealous speech against abortion—then noticed a young woman fleeing from the room in tears.

From then on, whenever local students asked for information from our clinic for class projects, I sat down with them and explained the need for sensitivity to post-abortive individuals in handling the topic of abortion.

As you know, zeal needs to be tempered by compassion and empathy.

By doing pregnancy help work, you demonstrate to a watching society that love is the over-arching ethic of the life-affirming mission—love for the preborn, love for their moms and dads, love for God, and even love for our opponents.

You are quite the opposite of dangerous, mean, or self-righteous. You care deeply about the women you serve, support and strengthen.

Keep up the good work. We need your fine example of what it means to be pro-life. 

Susanne Maynes

Susanne Maynes is an author, speaker, and biblical counselor who served at a pregnancy help center for ten years. She blogs about church & culture and spiritual growth at SusanneMaynes.comHer educational devotional, Unleashing Your Courageous Compassion: 40 Reflections on Rescuing the Unborn, uplifts and strengthens the pregnancy help community. Susanne is currently pursuing a Master of Theological Studies degree at Regent University.


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