This past week I read an article discussing a new “Chrome Extension” app that will electronically alter any internet search that involves the term “pro-life.” This alteration will replace all “pro-life” terminology with “anti-choice.” The app’s creator believes that “pro-life” legislation and language hinders a woman’s ability to make proper decisions and choices for their health, their parenting, and their future. They argue their stance is a righteous one that is needed in a hostile “anti-choice” world.

This argument would be laughable if it wasn’t so sad. The agenda of the abortion industry is a clear one; abortion should be allowed at all costs regardless of need, reason, or term of pregnancy. Actually, the abortion lobby takes this reasoning a bit further and also claims that abortion services should be paid for by the government and/or employers. This is their motivation. Their goal was not accomplished in 1973 with Roe v. Wade. That was just the beginning. They have set their sights on eliminating any and all barriers to abortion. Their desires will never come to fruition as long as half the population claim to be pro-life. This is where the change in terminology comes in.

Abortion advocates know that they ultimately lose when “life” is at the center of the conversation and debate. This is why they are seeking to rid the debate and the narrative of this word. They are, instead, wanting to ‘abort’ the word life out of the discussion and paint pro-life advocates as anti-choice. This is a calculated move. They are well aware that adding ‘anti’ to the front of a stance in today’s polarizing political climate can be a detriment and ultimately rid the landscape of those that stand in opposition to their agenda. We have seen this with illegal immigration, now anti-immigrant; we have seen this with “Blue Lives Matter,” now anti-African-American; and we have seen this with “Black Lives Matter,” now anti-police. I could continue here, but I think you get the point. We are living in a time where everyone is under attack for their stances and all sides are looking to rid the debate of the other, and adding ‘anti’ in the description only pushes us further apart.

I will admit that I am guilty of this as well. My first reaction to the aforementioned article was to immediately label pro-choice advocates as “anti-life.” Is this a proper or fair assessment? Do I need to spend the rest of this post painting all pro-choice supporters as “anti-life?” I, to the surprise of many, do not believe that is the direction I should go. My desire is not to rid the political landscape and debate of those that stand for abortion. I simply wish to engage in a logical, respectful, and useful debate on life, choice, and abortion. We can do this without calling names and spending our time in the muck and the mire. I realize that this may be wishful thinking considering our dangerous and hate-filled current cultural environment. We must, however, go above the hateful rhetoric that is dragging our society into a bottomless pit with no hope of returning back to civility.

We can debate, and frankly, need to debate these issues, but not at the detriment of our love for one another. We must refrain from allowing our passion for a particular issue to find its resting place in hate and bitterness. This does not help anyone. This only pushes us further apart creating a wedge that will take generations to overcome.  We are better than this…at least we should desire to be better than this.

I am unashamedly pro-life. This does not, however, mean that I am anti-choice. These two terms are not synonymous.  Painting the pro-life world as anti-choice is not fair or accurate. This is proven every single day as pro-life advocates love and care for post-abortive men and women. We understand there is a choice to be made, which is why we spend our days talking and serving men and women facing this very choice. This is hard for some to admit, but the facts are the facts. The disagreements facing pro-life and pro-choice advocates stem from things deeper than simple choice. Our disagreements start in the womb and where life actually finds its genesis. Is this at conception, the first trimester, the second trimester, the third trimester, or when the baby is walked out of the hospital? These are the subjects we should debate and these are the items we should be spending our time on.

We can find our home in hate and bitterness and watch our society continue to crumble or we can seek to discuss these very important issues. This is who we are as a country; one that debates furiously and passionately on the very heady issues in front of us; one that sought freedom from an oppressive regime because we believed that everyone had the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness;” one that the world looked to as an example and a leader in life, technology, manufacturing, and freedom; one that, even in the depths of despair faced at Pearl Harbor and in New York, came together to stand for something greater than ourselves. We were ONE, willing to stand together for the common good.

You have the right to your opinion and to disagree with mine. You have the right to passionately debate the topics of the day. You even have the right to do this with hateful rhetoric. It is my desire, though, that we would rise above this type of demagoguery. Our frustration levels are intensified because our “leaders” care not about civility and they are the very ones setting the example. This is on full display with our current presidential election, and this style of discussion should be rejected.

Don’t fall prey to this way of thinking. I implore you to be passionate about the issues of the day and form your own opinions. Seek to go deeper than the surface level. I am happy to debate and engage with anyone on the life issue, but changing terminology to support your agenda is not the answer.

We at Hope Resource Center are not anti-choice. We are absolutely pro-life. We walk with women and men through the decisions they are facing. We understand that these men and women have choices in front of them, no one is hiding that truth. We believe life is always the best choice. This is why we serve everyone that walks in our doors, regardless of their background, bank account, or insurance status. Believing life is always the best choice forces us to also care deeply for the life of the mother. Once again, our pro-life stance does not and will never stop at the womb; it absolutely penetrates the womb, but it never stops there. We also do all of our work at no cost to our patients. This is love, this is celebration of life, and this is who we are to be.

The article that encouraged this post frustrated me beyond belief. Not because of their position, but because of their understanding, or lack of understanding, of my position. This is why debate and engagement of the culture is so important. We must foster conversations that are lasting and impactful if we ever hope to see a better tomorrow for all. Will you join me in that commitment?

posted by Andrew Wood, Executive Director of Hope Resource Center