By Kimberly Baker
March 10, 2017
cultural conversations on the importance of women's advancement have increasingly
included abortion access, perpetuating a tragic assumption that 'pro-woman' and
'pro-life' are diametrically opposed viewpoints. This belief ignores the full
reality of the beauty and dignity of all
human life. To be pro-woman is to be
pro-life; one cannot exist without the other.
has negative outcomes for both a woman and her child, with the two-fold loss
including both the destruction of the child's very life and the destruction of
the mother's well-being. The aftermath of abortion for a woman often includes
psychological traumatization, and sometimes physical harm. Far from promoting
dignity and freedom, abortion promotes the lie that a woman must harm herself
and her child in order to be free.
that abortion empowers women is one of many lies in society that are, in
reality, incredibly harmful to women.
How many other areas in culture have women been told to endure pain and a
"quick fix" for their own advancement, whether through the fashion industry,
eating disorders, or cosmetic surgery? Abortion advocates perpetuate the myth
that women must "jump through hoops" and do violence to themselves in order to
preserve their equality and the freedom to advance in the world.
have rightly rejected the myth that they must "jump through hoops" just to be
acknowledged and valued as human beings. The authentic, pro-woman position
demands a woman be loved and valued for her own sake, exactly as she is—not
because she has compromised herself. Abortion is anti-woman because it attacks
some of what is most true and beautiful within a woman. Abortion is the very
antithesis to a woman's ability to nurture and bring forth new life.
advocates treat pregnancy like a problem or a disease. Pregnancy is not the
problem; it's the lack of care for the woman—for her own dignity and
life-giving ability—that's the problem. When society devalues motherhood and
the ability to nurture life, making these things a source of shame and
inconvenience, it increases the likelihood of a woman feeling like she has no option
other than to abort her own child.
called to love. A woman facing an unplanned pregnancy should never feel like
she must face it alone. She needs to know that others truly care about her
dignity and well-being, and that there is help through a variety of sources,
especially from local diocesan resources like the Respect Life office, Catholic
Charities office, or local pregnancy help centers and maternity homes. Both
mother and child deserve experienced care and compassion; both deserve a future
filled with hope.
As we bear
witness to and build the culture of life, in what ways can we show support,
both for mothers facing unplanned pregnancies and for all women and the unique challenges they face? Society often objectifies
women and tells them they need to reject their procreative and nurturing
abilities just to be equal to men and to feel respected. But there is much we
can do, in our personal witness, to counter these lies. When we celebrate and
support women in all their unique gifts and contributions—including their
life-giving capacity—they will be encouraged to make life-affirming choices for
both themselves and their children.
be pro-woman is to be pro-life. If we want to change the cultural conversation,
we must be a part of it.
Baker is Programs and Projects Coordinator for the Secretariat of Pro-Life
Activities, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. For more information on local
help for any woman facing a difficult pregnancy, please visit www.heartbeatinternational.org.