The Term “Pro-Life” Fits Our Movement Like a Glove: Here’s Why

Caroline Wharton - 25 Sep 2023

There’s been chatter in the news lately about a messaging shift away from term “pro-life” as some politicians consider alternative titles for our life-affirming values. While creativity shouldn’t be stifled, we’re not so sure there’s a better descriptor out there. When you consider the term “pro-life” and what our movement actually stands for, the two seem to fit together like Cinderella and the glass slipper.

Or peanut butter and jelly. Lightning and thunder. Copy and paste. In other words, a match made in heaven — because how else can we describe our movement holistically? We care about: 

  • Saving preborn babies’ lives
  • Empowering vulnerable mothers
  • Encouraging fathers to step up 
  • Helping struggling families 
  • Creating a culture that respects human sanctity from womb to tomb 

As movement, we’ve got a mouthful of important goals. Despite what the abortion lobby claims (that we want to make women “incubators” and don’t care after a child is born), we’re concerned with the protection of all life for the entire life. Check out Students for Life of America’s (SFLA) supportive services initiative Standing With You to get a better understanding of this. 

And when we say “all,” we mean that, too. Our care for life is all-encompassing; no questions asked. SFLA President Kristan Hawkins and pro-life activist Ryan Bomberger said it best in an op-ed, writing

“We reject prejudice against the preborn for reasons of race, age, sex, stage of development, parental income, perceptions of abilities, or the events of conception. Let this be crystal clear: it is not the duty of the pro-life movement to pick and choose which lives should be devalued in a campaign to placate the abortion lobby or answer their talking points.”

So how do we wrap that all up into one tidy term? Pro-life. 

Playing Devil’s Advocate: 

“But saying you’re pro-life makes it sound like you’re always against abortion with no exceptions. What about when a woman needs an abortion to save her life?” 

That’s a trick question…but it often stems from a misunderstanding of the issue. When most people outside a medical setting talk about ‘abortion,’ they’re using a cultural definition of the word that could also be called ‘direct abortion’ or ‘elective abortion’ — that is, the intentional killing of a preborn child for convenience. 

Using this same, commonly understood definition of abortion, it is correct that the pro-life movement is always against abortion. 

Since we care about all life, however, when a mother is in a medical emergency, we support life-saving medical care for her which may have the unintended effect of the loss of preborn life. In these instances, medical professionals take pains to save both lives and do not consider it a success when the child doesn’t make it. To understand how abortion and life-saving/miscarriage care are wholly different, click HERE to have pro-life doctors explain in another SFLA blog. 

Here’s What Our Students Have to Say About the Term “Pro-Life:”  

SFLA Student Spokesperson Lydia Taylor from North Carolina said, “Being pro-life means not just being pro-baby but pro-mother too. We care about the pregnant women who are being targeted by the abortion industry and work to help them, as well. As a student, one of the most impactful ways I’ve advanced the pro-life movement was by passing the first pro-life pregnancy resource resolution ever at my university. We aren’t just ending abortion; we are empowering moms!” 

SFLA Student Spokesperson Jaden Heard from Alabama said, “The term “pro-life” highlights the actual issue at hand: life. It’s not about our feelings, career aspirations, political ideologies, or even our circumstances. It’s about protecting and preserving life because we want to love our neighbor, and that’s the core issue. Everyone has the right to live, and abortion takes away that right directly.” 

SFLA Student Spokesperson Jaden Heard

SFLA Student Spokesperson Chloe Kramer from North Dakota said: “The term “pro-life” implies that we are worth more than our circumstances. We are pro-life because we know that life is worth fighting for, no matter what “quality” or stage you may be in. Choosing life means choosing hope for both the woman and her baby because without life, we have nothing else.”

Student Spokesperson Katie Yarborough from Florida said: “Pro-life is all encompassing and really represents the mission of our movement. While our overarching goal is to save lives by eradicating abortion, we also aim to give those moms, babies, and families the highest quality of life possible by working with pregnancy resource centers and providing loving homes through adoption. Everyone deserves a chance at life and support throughout their life.” 

READ NEXT: NO SURPRISE HERE: Harvard Got an “Abysmal” Free Speech Rating as Pro-Life Speech Heavily Censored in Schools Across the Country  

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