Letter 2: Are you pro-ALL-life?
Dear President Trump,
I have never had an easy time deciding which side of the line I fall on when it comes to being pro-life or pro-choice. This, I think, may be something you’ve struggled with in the past too. Often the pro-life/pro-choice divide is presented as two mutually exclusive ideals. Black and white. Wrong and right. And when it comes to politics, they are often simplified to just “pro-legislation-on-abortion” versus “anti-legislation-on-abortion”. For these reasons, I’ve sided with pro-choice. I want to provide support, education, and love to women facing a difficult situation. I do not want to legislate what they can or can’t do while coping with it.
And I don’t think I’m alone in this. I think the values of people who call themselves pro-choice overlap considerably with people who call themselves pro-life. In particular, I’d like you to consider what Father James Martin, a Jesuit priest and author, had to say about being pro-life:
I am pro life. That means that I’m also pro social justice.
That means that I am not only for the dignity of the human being from the moment of conception, but also for the dignity of the human being until the natural end of life. For life does not end with birth. A person who is truly pro life is pro all life, pro every stage of life, pro every stage of life for every person. For all life is sacred, because all life is created by God.
That means that I support anything that helps a person live a full, healthy and satisfying life, in every part of the world. So I am for care for the poor, for a living wage, for affordable health care, for adequate housing, for a humane work environment, for equal pay for women, for generous child care, for the support of the aged and the infirm.
That means I support caring for the marginalized among us: the refugee, the migrant, the displaced person, the homeless, the unemployed, the person with disabilities, the single mother, women who are abused, minorities of every kind who are persecuted, and all those who feel left out, mocked, lonely, ignored or frightened.
That means that I am against torture, because it is an affront to human dignity. I am against the death penalty, the most serious affront to an adult life. I am against abuse and mistreatment in prisons. I am against war as a way to solve problems.
That means I respect the lives of all creatures, and am therefore for the care of the world in which we live, for the environment in the broadest sense.
That means I am pro peace, pro justice and pro reconciliation.
The longer I am a Jesuit, the longer I am a priest, the longer I live, and the more I pray and listen and observe, the more convinced I am of the sanctity and beauty of life.
So, yes, I am pro life. Pro all life. I hope you are too.
My question for you is, do you share Father Martin’s definition of pro-life? Are you pro-all-life?
- Do you think its is important to care for the poor, for a living wage, for affordable health care, for adequate housing, for a humane work environment, for equal pay for women, for generous child care, and for the support of the aged and the infirm?
- Do you think we should care for the refugee, the migrant, the displaced person, the homeless, the unemployed, the person with disabilities, the single mother, women who are abused, and minorities of every kind who are persecuted?
- Can you say you are against torture, because it is an affront to human dignity?
- Are you against the death penalty?
- Do you care of the world in which we live, for the environment in the broadest sense?
I care for all these things, and I think the President of the United States should too.
And when I think about the March for Life taking place this Friday, and Father Martin’s definition of what it means to be pro-life, I feel like I want to join them. I do not agree with them on every issue and proposed solution, but I agree with them on much more than I disagree. I feel that it is important to to march, and rally, and protest when you see that your government is not doing all that it can and should to ensure that every person can live a “full, healthy and satisfying life, in every part of the world.”
I imagine you will come out and make some statement in support of the March of Life this Friday. But before you do, I would like you to consider your own actions and responsibilities towards supporting all life, all stages of life, all over the world.
A version of this letter was sent to President Donald Trump. Feel free to use this letter and it’s content as a template for writing your own letter to the President and other elected officials.
President Donald Trump
1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20500