This post is part of the July 2015 synchroblog that invited bloggers to write about “What It Means To Be Pro-Life.”
My fifty-seven year-old friend has been fighting for her life for over a month and half, after having emergency surgery to repair complications from a previous surgery. She is on a respirator with periodic spells of consciousness, and still fighting infection. It has been an epic battle. As we hope and pray she recovers from all of this, we know it will be a long-term process. (Most recent update: she is doing much better and is being weaned off of the respirator.)
When she became deathly ill and called the doctor’s office, the response was that her illness could not possibly be associated with the surgery. When she went to the ER and was barely able to remain conscious, she had to wait an inordinate amount of time just to be seen. Her condition became more critical by the minute.
What does it mean to be pro life for my friend?
My sixty-seven year-old brother suffered brain damage from an aneurysm surgery several years ago. Recently, he has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. He is extremely slow, needs close direction at every step, and requires someone to give him his medicine.
What does it mean to be pro life for my brother?
My eighty-eight year-old dad lives in a nursing home. He has been doing better there than when he was in an apartment with mom because his medicine is administered by someone other than him, and he is in a structured environment. He is extremely OCD, a hypochondriac, and has vascular dementia. In other words, he can be pretty ornery.
What does it mean to be pro life for my dad?
Like most issues, the pro life and pro choice causes have been politicized, characterized, and reduced to slogans. The movement has mostly focused on the unborn. Some have encouraged us to expand our thinking to include vulnerable children. I am saying we should include the whole spectrum of life.
To be pro life is to respect the life and dignity of every individual, especially, the most venerable and marginalized. Jesus elevated the role of children, women, and outcasts, like the disabled, the poor, and those guilty on the particular featured sins of that particular time and culture.
Children are vulnerable. Unborn children are very much at risk. So, are the poor, and the elderly.
Many elderly people need an advocate to manage the complexities of healthcare in America. (Actually, most Americans would probably like to have one.) Doctors really need to compassionately listen to their patients. Too many don’t. ER’s need to expedite the care of the critically ill and injured. Some are famously inefficient. The role of the basic caregiver in hospitals and nursing homes, as well as the home health worker needs to be elevated. Unfortunately, those who provide basic care for the elderly are poorly paid and there is a high turnover rate.
Some people are easily disregarded. They cannot advocate for themselves. Someone else must step up. Unfortunately, in our sophisticated times, there are huge pockets of people who are still pretty much forgotten, marginalized, and ignored.
We can’t narrow this problem down to just the unborn and children. They need our help, but our societal issues of disregarding vulnerable people are so much bigger.
We need full spectrum, whole life advocacy that shows a respect for life, at all stages. It’s easy to write people off because they are chronically ill, disabled, or elderly. Yet, advocating and assisting them is one of the best things we will ever do for ourselves.
It is not a burden, but a responsibility, and a privilege.
Here are the links to the other writers’ contributions on the topic.
Justin Steckbauer – What Is The Truth About Abortion?
Tim Nichols – Firm Foundations
Tony Ijeh – What It Means To Be Pro-Life
Wesley Rostoll – Embracing A More Holistic View On What It Means To Be Pro-Life
Unfortunately in most of the discussions on this topic involving my American brothers and sisters, the value of people´s lives who are destroyed or greatly hampered by US sponsored or direct violence is completely ignored. Many people who would answer favorably and lovingly to the situtions you have mentioned would react angrily to what I have said. The culture of death we see in the US has deep roots and has entangled numerous believers. Oh they will come up with myriads of arguments and patriotic excuses for supporting their country subdueing other lands with a bloody hand, but none of those arguments stand in the light of The Life. I do not believe you do justice to the subject in the American context until you deal with the strange ability the church on the whole has for condoning stealing killing and destroying overseas.
Kevin – That is an overlooked aspect of being pro life. You’re right, most Americans don’t make the connection. That would be a great synchroblog topic for the future.
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