Numerous Americans support the "pro-life" movement. They are compassionate people who for matters of conscience object to abortions, and want them restricted to cases of rape, incest or to save a mother's life. Many other people support the "pro-life" movement but they are much more extreme, demanding that women have no right to an abortion.
I am 67 years of age, and I recall what life was like when abortions were illegal before the Roe v Wade Supreme Court decision in 1973. That abortions were illegal didn't stop them from commonly taking place, just as they do now.
But because abortions were illegal, some doctors performed them as medical conditions dictated, but risked their medical licenses to do so. However, there were many unlicensed medical practitioners (often called "butchers") who performed abortions in unsanitary conditions, sometimes botching the process and leaving the women to fight for their lives.
Under no circumstance would I ever support a return to those dark and ugly days as some extreme "pro-life" people demand. Because I care too much for human life and I respect the rights and the safety of the women involved, I am "pro- choice," which to me is "pro-life."
But being "pro-life" doesn't end when a baby is born. That child is entitled to medical care, an education, safe living conditions, a roof over his or her head and food on the table.
Most of the extreme "pro-life" people are men, and it is logical that these men would try to control what women do with their bodies. After all, it is men who prevent women from rising to top management of most giant companies, men who restrict women's promotional opportunities and men who pay women far less than they pay men to do the same work.
In fact, it wasn't that many years ago that men didn't allow women to vote, to own property, to have equal access to an education or to job opportunities.
Guns are a related issue. How can anyone be "pro-life" and not support the restriction of assault weapons on our streets. My eldest son was a police officer, my middle son is a police officer and I don't want guns that can rapid fire and so powerful, they can penetrate body armor - in the hands of anyone who kills students as periodically happens in America or who would kill police officers or the people the police officers protect: you and me.
Another related issue is the U.S.'s wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. How can anyone be "pro-life" and not actively oppose these wars? Wars are death and destruction, a Hell on earth, taking the lives of many men, women and children, aborting them at any age, including aborting the lives of pregnant women and their fetus'. Yet most Americans are silent, including those who are "pro-life."
But as a man who is "pro-life," I cannot be silent and I actively oppose these wars. Where are the other "pro-life" supporters? Why are so many of them silent? Are those lives being lost in war any less valuable than the lives of fertilized egg cells of American women?
"Pro-life" is not a single issue based solely on pregnancy, but is all encompassing and compels all of us who are "pro-life" to take a stand on behalf of humanity. And humanity is not just in America but exists all over the world and it cries out for compassion and understanding, as it has since biblical times, always appealing to the hearts of all mankind.
The idea for this piece came from "Why I Am Pro-Life," a compelling piece by Thomas L. Friedman, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/28/opinion/sunday/friedman-why-i-am-pro-life.html Thank you to my friend Linda Contaldi for sharing that piece with me.