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Every Unborn Child Has a Family

Being pro-woman and pro-man is an essential piece of being successfully (and more compassionately) pro-life.
Kathryn Homoki
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A toddler with his parents touches his mother's pregnant belly

Abortion. It’s a topic that brings up strong feelings because it’s couched in matters of life and death, or of freedom and oppression, depending on who you’re talking to. Sometimes it even sounds like women and their unborn children are pitted against each other, with one side championing the cause of women, and the other the unborn.

But the reality is that most women who get abortions are not anti-baby monsters, and most pro-life advocates are not misogynistic nutjobs. And a little observation tells us that every unborn child is part of a family, a family with a story that is incredibly important. To be successfully (and more compassionately) pro-life, we must be pro-woman and pro-man as well.

A bigger picture

A mother is woven into the whole story of her unborn baby’s life. After all, a woman and her child are literally inseparable the entire time the baby is in the womb. She nourishes him, and he moves within her; he is continuously nestled where he can hear her heart. Her assumptions about life and her experiences will affect how she thinks about her child and how she parents. But there is more to this story: every child has a father. He too brings his assumptions and experiences into how he treats the mother of his child and his understanding of responsibility.

It’s essential for the pro-life movement to address the stories and the needs of both women and men in creating a culture that truly values all life. From the moment of conception, children belong to their parents. In a culture that promotes irresponsibility among adults, no wonder abortion is prevalent.

‘A soft answer turns away wrath’

We’re told in Proverbs 15:1 that a “soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” It should be no surprise that focusing only on an unborn child’s right to life falls on deaf ears for many women today. Without meeting hearts where they are suffering, attempts to change minds can deepen divisions instead of healing wounds.

A woman considering abortion may have been through a horror story that makes her doubt the value of her own life, let alone her child’s. Or perhaps she’s been pulled into the fear that comes with listening to those who say that life isn’t worth it if it starts in poverty; or she’s been hearing a Scrooge or a Thanos imply that some portion of humanity “had better [die], and decrease the surplus population.”

It’s only to be expected when words that don’t take her feelings into consideration bounce off unheeded. If parents are stuck in their own pain or the narrative that abortion is some kind of lesser evil, then only talking about the baby can look like we don’t care about them. 

There may be deep wounds to be healed and deep assumptions to be questioned. Knowing where struggling parents are coming from allows us to imitate Christ: meeting people where they are, on the dusty roads of life. We must portray the joy and glory of living to the men and women who are discouraged enough by the dust to rationalize the beauty away.

A biblical voice

From the unborn child whose life hangs in the balance, to the high school senior who gets pregnant, to the woman whose life has been characterized by abuse, to the man making choices that fill him with regret—no matter who you are or how much you feel like a prodigal, a basic foundational principle of the Christian faith is that God wants to welcome you into His abundant life because He values you. And He charges His church to express that message to the world in word and deed.

There are innumerable compassionate ways to promote life for father, mother, and child: good storytelling, serving at pregnancy centers, drafting and defending laws that promote healthy families, reforming the media, challenging lies in academia and philosophy, or simply listening to and being there for your brothers and sisters who are struggling—the list goes on.

Pro-life advocates can showcase the beauty of the Gospel by emphasizing that women and men are equally as valuable as their children. We can and ought to be pro-life for the vulnerable unborn and those at death’s door. But we should not leave it at that. We cannot afford to. We must be pro-life for the men and women who bring new life into the world, the parents who make choices on behalf of their children.

Because caring about context with compassion doesn’t just save children’s lives: it reflects the character of God to the parents, giving them a glimpse of the One who came to men, women, and children “that they might have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).

Kathryn Homoki
Kathryn Homoki
Communications Integrity Specialist & Writer
Kathryn Homoki serves as Communications Integrity Specialist & Writer at Alliance Defending Freedom.