One thing that a lot of people get wrong about the pro-life movement is that the activists only care about the baby inside the womb. That is translated even into modern political vernacular—in many handbooks and legal guides, the pro-life movement is referred to as the “anti-abortion movement.”
In a certain sense, they are correct. We are anti-abortion. In the same right, we are pro-life. We are anti-abortion because we are pro-life.
However, our concerns do not stop in the womb. Of course we advocate for banning abortion and allowing children to be born, but our care goes outside of that. We care for the mother and the baby after birth.
That is why a real pro-life platform will support paid maternal leave for at least six to eight weeks, preferably longer, to not only give the mother enough time to heal and recuperate, but to also allow her to bond with her child. The few weeks immediately after birth are absolutely crucial to a baby’s development. If the pro-life community wants to show the world that it cares not only for the baby in the womb but also the mother and child afterwards, it would show that it supports infant development.
Another point of that is to advocate for paternal leave. Studies show that a baby is much better off in a two-parent household as opposed to one, so giving the father paid time off will be beneficial for the whole family. When the mother and father learn to parent together, the harmony in the household will be palpable, which leads to a stable family life as the child grows older.
Sometimes the greatest issue is not even about giving birth to the baby. It is about what comes during or after the pregnancy.
I have read so many testimonies of women who simply could not afford to use birth control or have a child. Without insurance, they felt like their only choice was to abort. I have read stories of migrant women on the run who cannot imagine bringing another child into this world. I have read about women who are pregnant by an abusive partner and do not want to give that partner a foothold in her life via custody situations.
The pro-life community must think past this and go into what it takes to not only give birth, but also take care of a baby and a mother.
It is not enough to just lobby outside abortion clinics and hope to convince a woman to keep her child.
What if we rallied for more paid parental leave in all workplaces, salaried or not? What if we rallied for free prenatal and afterbirth care for those without insurance? What if we gave women legal support so they would be assured their rapist would never have custody rights to the child?
It is not enough to just want the baby out of the womb. The issue is just as much about the baby as it is about the mother. In order to be truly called pro-life, we must show that we actually do care about the lives of all parties involved. That is pro-abundant life.