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I am unashamedly pro-life, but let me tell you what that means

  • 19 May 2022
I have always considered myself pro-life. It’s not something I’ve felt a need to wear as a badge of honour, rather it has always been a default position. But terminology matters. Indeed, frequently, calling myself pro-life has drawn the derision or raised eyebrows of people around me, nuns and priests and radical ratbags alike, it has connotations.

Last week when the United States Supreme Court’s intention to overturn the 1973 pro-choice decision Roe v. Wade was leaked to the media, the socials went crazy. All of people’s closely-guarded opinions emerged in tweets and posts which ranged from thoughtful to vitriolic.

I shared a meme or two and then instantly felt my stomach lurch when I saw that the comments were getting fiercely divisive. When I saw the three dots indicating someone known for their extreme views was about to make a comment, I retreated and deleted my post. The following day I read an article by Simcha Fisher in America magazine who had written a piece called ‘I’ve wanted Roe v Wade turned over my entire life: So why don’t I feel better now?’

Fisher shared her long journey of having parents who took her and her siblings to pro-life rallies and prayed for victims of abortion, and she made no secret about the awkwardness of taking such positions. But she sums up her discomfort: ‘it is one thing to know that people think pro-lifers are dorky and uncool and to decide that you can live with that. It is quite another to know that people think pro-lifers are anti-woman and anti-immigrant and anti-poor people — and the reason they think so is because the most public faces of the pro-life party cannot seem to stop saying so.’

In my early career I worked for the staunchly pro-life politician Senator Brian Harradine who was one of the best embodiments I’ve ever seen of someone applying their Catholic faith to their political life. He did not always get it right, but for almost 30 years, he made sure that he considered each issue in the light of the common good.

'The pro-life message has the potential to be one of beauty, the sanctity of life, the protection of the innocent. We cannot therefore limit it to single-issue politics, but rather, guard it and reimagine it in such a way that we truly defend all people.'

One of Harradine’s most famous deals was his attempt to protect human life by banning the