Sister Joan Chittister, a Catholic nun, redefines “pro-life.” “I do not believe that just because you’re opposed to abortion that makes you pro-life. In fact, I think in many cases your morality is deeply lacking if all you want is a child born, but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed. Why would I think that? Because you don’t want any tax money to go there. That’s not pro-life. That’s pro-birth. We need a much broader conversation on what the morality of pro-life is.”
As part of that conversation, I offer my thoughts on pro-life: Respecting all life, recognizing our connection and interdependence. Increasing, not privatizing Social Security, easily made solvent by removing the $125,000 cap for payments. Expanding Medicare to include eyes, ears, teeth, saving money through competitive bidding for pharmaceuticals, now outlawed. Promoting voting rights, not blocking by claiming (nonexistent) voter fraud. Supporting worldwide programs promoting women’s reproductive health and choices (and helping control unsustainable population growth), Planned Parenthood, contraception, sex education. Supporting increases in minimum wages and retraining those needing new skills. Supporting, not defunding and selling to highest drilling bidders, our common lands — parks, forests, wilderness where we walk, swim, hike and fish.
Pope Frances’encyclical, “On the Care of Our Common Home” speaks of man-made climate change “as a global problem with grave implications,” of economic policies contributing to poverty and the “unprecedented destruction of ecosystems.” He says, “Every effort to protect and improve our world entails profound changes in lifestyles, models of production and consumption, and the established structures of power which today govern societies.” He and I “beg the Lord to grant us more politicians who are genuinely disturbed by the state of society, the people, the lives of the poor,” who are truly pro-life.