What if god is pro-life?

(Warning: Precious spoilers follow)

Walking my dogs in my scarily conservative neighborhood yesterday, I came across a “God is Pro-Life” bumper-sticker. I don’t think I have seen this exact permutation before. I have seen lots of messages of the “don’t be a baby-killer” or “choose life” variety, but claiming mainline knowledge of god’s ‘pro-life’ stance in bumper sticker form was a new one.

If this god entity is indeed pro-life, wouldn’t that mean that s/he would be pro all life, including the life of the mother? So when the mother’s life is put at risk by carrying a pregnancy to term, which life does god choose? If the well-being of the mother’s life and the lives of her existing children will be threatened by carrying the pregnancy to term, does god choose the life of a few cells over and above the lives of several already existing humans?

I get that there is a lot of debate over when “life” begins in utero, but can anyone rightly claim a pregnant female is not also a life worth choosing and protecting?

These thoughts make me think of the film Precious and how abortion is never mentioned as an option in that film – indeed, the baby is presented as sort of saving Precious’s life. However, we must think of the context in which Precious has her children. Both are a result her father raping her with her mother’s knowledge, and both are used by Precious’s mother in her attempts to continue her welfare payments (another problematic storyline that furthers the ‘welfare queen’ stereotype). In this instance, the life of the (future) children is chosen and the livelihood of Precious’s mom is protected – but what of Precious herself? If not for the intervention of teachers and social workers, her life would have continued to be decidedly NOT ‘pro-life’ but all about abuse, sexual assault, poverty, and mental anguish. Moreover, the film, like the wider ‘pro-life’ stance, glosses over the complexity of whose lives society deems worth saving. As this post points out, the film “invisibilized patriarchy, cast the system as a hero and not an actor responsible for the conditions of oppression in which Precious lived and survived.”

Such oppressive conditions, sadly, are not only the stuff of films. Many young females will be raped, sexually assaulted, physically and mentally abused. Many will become pregnant not by choice but by force. Many more will become pregnant due to lack of access to (let alone education about) contraception. Is this god so often referred to by those wishing to curtail women’s reproductive choices ‘pro-life’ when it comes to these females?

The hypocrisy of claiming to be ‘pro-life’ while ignoring the lives of females the world over whose lives are harmed by patriarchy and its attendant systems of racism, classism, sexism and too many other isms to mention is just too much to swallow. When will this battle, fought on the front of the female body, ever end?


12 thoughts on “What if god is pro-life?”

  1. >>When will this battle, fought on the front of the female body, ever end?<<

    Is this a trick question?

    We're fighting it in Congress right now, over health care reform. We're fighting it in schools, over education. We fight it every time someone kills one of a dwindling number of abortion providers.

    After all these years, we're still not allowed complete, unquestioned control over our own bodies. Someone is always happy to grab the chance to tell us what we can, and cannot, do with them.

    1. Tamora,
      Maybe “tricky” rather than “trick”…
      Thanks for your comments testifying to all the many ways we are fighting this battle.
      I hope that one day this battle concludes peacefully, with women’s bodies no longer serving as the ground upon which religion/politics and other ‘powers’ try colonize…

  2. This reminds me of a post that I wrote a while back entitled, Pro-life: Call it like it is..

    I find it ironic that the “pro-life” movement has been so narrowly defined. In limiting “pro-life” to the life of unborn children, you entirely skip any discussion about the life of the mother (and anyone connected to her as you highlight in your post). The pro-life movement also frequently fails to consider (much less take any responsibility) the resulting quality of life that the unborn baby could reasonably expect. I don’t see many hardcore pro-lifers adopting droves of unwanted babies. It seems hypocritical for a society legislate that a mother must birth her child, yet the society is unwilling to accept any responsibility for the life of the child after birth.

    Lastly, I find it ironic and hypocritical that many hardcore “pro-lifers” so strongly support other forms of state-sponsored killings like the death penalty or the military’s involvement in armed conflict. While there may be some debate over when life starts (birth, certain trimesters, conception), I doubt that anyone would argue that prisoners, Iraqis, Afghans or Pakestani are alive.

  3. I love the way you broke that down and presented it. Yes, we need to see the whole issue, not just a corner.
    I hope the movie brings up a lot of issues for us to talk about.

  4. I find it ironic that God is so “pro-life,” and yet, God personally performs abortions, sometimes on women who really, really wanted to have their babies. God also ultimately allows the death of every person who exists. Somehow I think this argument that “God is pro-life” just doesn’t hold up…unless abortion is part of life. Then God does seem fairly “pro-life.”

  5. Here’s the thing about being prolife. We always get told we’re only pro-fetal life. We always get told we abandon the woman after the baby is born. Uh huh.

    We’re the ones with our much mocked crisis pregnancy centers offering free babysitting and free baby goods and free parenting classes and housing even for years after having your baby if you want to keep her or adoption help if you don’t. We have help for people suffering domestic violence and classes to help you get your GED. We’re the ones there for women after they have the baby. And we’re the ones there for women after they have the abortion if it hurts and pro-choice women are telling them, “Sit down and shut up, your pain is not real.”

    Say what you want, Planned Parenthood will not get you hooked on phonics. Try going to PP saying you want to keep your baby and you need a place to stay. Good luck with that. At my college there was a group that provided free babysitting, cooking, and cleaning to women with newborns. Only students from the prolife club volunteered. After these women had chosen life the pro-choicers were no where to be found.

    Republican doesn’t equal pro-life nor does Democrat equal pro-choice. Nor does pro-life equal pro-death penalty/pro-war. Nor does the reverse. Nice stereotype though.

    Being pro-life means that women affirm their right not to be treated as property to be disposed of by not treating other human beings as disposable.

  6. Pro-choice advocates use the same arguments as did slave owners early in our country’s history. The parallels are astounding as I have outlined them in a 13 page article (free) on my site. This is a civil rights struggle – for the preborn.

  7. It is amazing that the same arguments used by abortion rights advocates today … were used by slave owners yesterday. This is a civil rights issue for preborn humans. Civil law will eventually come to their aid. I have a 13 page article on my site detailing these parallels. It’s free.

  8. Pingback: JARIO Blog

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