Why I’m No Longer Pro-Life (Part 2)
Why I’m No Longer Pro-Life (Part 2)

After I gave birth to my first child, I was hooked. I absolutely loved being pregnant and I adored being a mother. For someone who had never really considered parenthood as something that she wanted, I embraced it fully. So much so, that in just under five years, my husband and I had four children, the last three coming over 31 months (no twins, just 15 months and then 16 months between births). Needless to say, it was a busy time.

At this point, I still considered myself to be pro-life. But when we announced our fourth pregnancy, I underwent another big shift.

When we found out that I was pregnant for the fourth time, my husband and I just laughed. We had already done the “terrified to be pregnant” thing a few times, so we just found this surprise simply amusing. We both knew that this person completed our family, so we were anxious to tell everyone about the newest addition. We knew that all of our friends and relatives would share in our joy.

Except not so much. We were met with frustrated looks, half-hearted approval, even one, “Congratulations, I guess.”

Though all of these would definitely use the pro-life moniker, the reception to our announcement of a new life was mediocre at best. When I hosted a baby shower, not for gifts for me, but for the local crisis pregnancy center, one person from our church attended. Numerous “are you done yet?” comments.

Politically, the country was embroiled in two wars, with death tolls rising each day. Budgets were being discussed where cuts were being made to programs like SCHIP and WIC. Shortly after my youngest was born, reports of tortured prisoners were met with silence from those most vocal in the pro-life community.

In the midst of this, I had to wonder what it really means to be pro-life.

Because to be honest, nothing about what I saw felt very pro-life to me.

As someone who had no intention of choosing abortion, these actions had little effect on my decision to embrace my pregnancy. But what about the unwed mother who doesn’t want to admit to her parents that she’s pregnant because she just saw them give a married woman a hard time for being pregnant again? What about the woman in poverty who didn’t have access to prenatal care? What about the woman who is frightened about another pregnancy when she thought she had put her child rearing days behind her?

It seems to me that if we want to be pro-life, we have to celebrate life. All life. Not life when someone can afford it. Not just life when it’s with someone who has it all together. Not just life when it’s a first or second baby. All life.

I still have a pro-life ethic. I think that life is beautiful and worth protecting. But as long as the pro-life label continues to be co-opted by those who celebrate life only when it’s convenient and ignore or impugn those who conceive in less than ideal situations, it’s one that I’m no longer interested in wearing myself.


If you missed the first installment of this article you can find it here: Why I’m No Longer Pro-Life (Part 1)


Alise Wright is married to her best friend Jason and is the mom to four incredible kids. She enjoys knitting, playing keyboards in her cover band, eating soup and keeping an eye out for killer robots. She is currently working with Civitas Press collecting stories about depression for the Not Alone community project. You can read more of her writing at her blog and can follow her on Twitter.

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One Comment

  1. Lynn
    Posted October 20, 2012 at 12:47 am | Permalink

    I LOVE your honesty. I spent years managing a crisis pregnancy center. I counseled 100s of women and teens from a pro-life stance.

    But in the end I realized depending on the woman or teen: parent, adopt, abortion…all could be equally devastating choices in an unintended pregnancy.

    When Christians would make the argument, “we just need to overturn Roe vs. Wade,” I would think: What you need to do is provide that young woman with the money and emotional support so she CAN choose to parent or face an adoption.

    Because honestly…the only women/teens who returned to the center after an unintended pregnancy truly at peace with their decision not to abort had the family support and lived in at least a lower-middle income situation.

    I feel so convicted for the dozens and dozens of women/girls who I made feel guilty about choosing an abortion. Let me be clear…we were one of the RARE centers who actually didn’t use any manipulative tactics (we would fire volunteers who even tried…and get rid of Focus on the Family pamphlets). But it was important for me to tell abortion-minded women how I disagreed with their choice.

    Looking back…I wish I would’ve said instead, “You have to choose what you believe is the least devastating option in the years to come for you and your family.”

    People’s perception of devastation is based on their values, culture and relationships. Boy, did we see a variety of everyone! And some simply had a completely different perception of devastation than I did. And most of their stories I couldn’t begin to even understand (because I’m a WASP).

    So had I been supportive, I can how many of those women would’ve felt less stressed. We would’ve stayed in contact…so I could help them afterwards.

    Women who choose to abort are like snared animals with no choice but to chew their own leg off. NO WOMAN is comfortable with having an abortion. There is always grief…which is an opportunity in itself for new life.

    I could’ve helped those women who aborted to grow more from the experience (instead of hide in shame and avoid my calls). Because after an abortion, women always want to avoid the choices that led them into the trap.

    Many times I was the only person who listened to these women. I could’ve made a long term difference in their lives. But instead my refusal to support them severed the relationship.

    The center offers non-religious post-abortion counseling, but only the women who had supportive families and living in at least lower-middle class ever attended. A fraction of the women we ever saw.

    This guilt in me has grown over the years since I left the pregnancy center. I personally could never have an abortion…because I know I’d have the support and faith to get me through it (even as a single, middle income woman).

    But I hate I was part of a movement who made those women feel more alone and judged (even if we were kind and gentle about it). Too often it felt like a helpless approach (which can be just as harmful as an aggressive approach).

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