I don’t think making abortion illegal is the only pro-life cause out there. I’ve met many people who are against abortion, even some atheists, because they can see that no matter what words are used, it’s still intending to end a life, it’s still murder. But at the same time, they also don’t want to see the “big government” forcing all women (and girls) to carry pregnancies to term when those pregnancies could endanger their lives and directly cause their deaths, and then throwing women and doctors in jail for murder as a result of trying to save the mother’s life by having these “illegal abortions.” I’ve even heard some pro-choice people refer to a state-imposed pregnancy as virtually a “death penalty” for certain women and girls who can’t carry pregnancies to term for whatever medically valid reason.
Whenever the topic of the pro-life movement comes up, they bring up the worst case scenarios… the 14-year-old girl who is raped and the doctors agree that carrying the pregnancy to term would most definitely endanger her life or cause her death for some medical reason, but they have to do it anyway because “big government” tells them to. So then she’s forced to carry it and dies during child birth. Then the pro-life movement is seen as lifting up the infant and saying “a victory won!” and meanwhile the mother’s dead on the table. And no amount of saying how “unfortunate it is” can reverse the fact that it happened.
Now you can call such an example “propaganda” all you want, but it’s not going to go away until Catholics actually talk about what the pro-life position is when the mother’s life is in imminent jeopardy because of the pregnancy. I’ve been a Catholic for almost a year and I’ve never really been out on the frontlines, but I’ve always been pro-life because I believe being pro-life means respecting the life of both the mother and the child. Please excuse my ignorance if this has come up in the past, but I think to be more effective at communicating the pro-life cause without making it look heartless to these situations we need to talk more about the morality of cases that aren’t so easily cut and dry. There’s a big difference between the morality of an action like abortion (which I believe is always immoral) and practical and legal prudence on the matter.
The point is, some of these “pro-choice” people aren’t pro-choice because they “love abortion” (and I agree that’s sick), they’re pro-choice because they’re actually “pro-life at heart” and just see a “one size fits all” government-imposed medical outcome as being part of a “culture of death” itself (they just don’t use those words). In fact, I’d say a good many of them are pro-choice only because they’re actually expressing “pro-life” views towards the health and safety of certain women (and girls) who simply can’t medically carry a child (lest they will die), and who would be mercilessly thrown under the bus by laws that would charge them for “murder” as a result trying to save their own lives (and especially when it concerns those who were victims of terrible crimes themselves).
I’ve never heard a pro-life Catholic even want to discuss situations like this. Usually I’ve heard them pass these scenarios off as “propaganda” and then change the topic to a scenario that is more cut and dry, effectively ignoring the harder issues that the other side wants to hear addressed. Those on the frontlines that I’ve heard only seem to want to talk about cases where the evil of abortion is obvious (like the “abortion for convenience” cases), who then tout slogans like “end abortion” and “make it illegal” without considering that doing such would actually enforce the deaths of some percentage of women and girls who can’t medically carry infants to term for whatever medically valid reason.
I’ve read the Catechism on this and a few Church documents and none of them even address what a pro-life position would be in regards to these cases. So I’m humbly asking, what would it be? What do I tell my pro-choice friends about what a pro-life position says on the worst case scenarios?