Most of us within (and outside) the Church were taught that in 1973, morally outraged Christians (and other religious conservatives) mobilized in response to Roe v. Wade, launching the pro-life movement. What we weren’t taught is that the only religious group who has consistently held an anti-abortion stance (both before and after the Supreme Court ruling) are Catholics. Most shocking is that even in the years directly following Roe v. Wade, the mainstream evangelical Church’s official position on abortion was neutral at best.
"You might mean well when you’re protesting in front of Planned Parenthood, but you don’t realize you’re part of a plan that began in the 70’s when Jerry Falwell Sr. said, ‘let’s bring this country back to God.’" - Mel White
Why Does This Matter?
It matters because the narrative upon which so many of us have built our spiritual, political and communal lives is not completely true.
This sincerely held belief continues to shape policy and it has successfully elected generations of politicians, including presidents (queue single-issue voters).
We aren’t here to convince you to change your position.
Our film will not condescend those who are pro-life, nor will it validate those who are not, but it will provide enough insight into the issues–and enough access to those personally engaged in them–to bring people together for real conversation. So yes, the Christian Church in America has not always been overwhelmingly anti-abortion. In fact, it hasn’t always been a lot of the things it has become. But if Roe v. Wade wasn’t the catalyst for the pro-life movement, what was? Pro-Lifetime will answer that question.
As the abortion debate rages on, the real victims of this movement are found in our foster system, and then subsequently in our prisons, on our streets, trafficked, and mentally unwell. When we say, ‘this movement,’ we mean a movement built upon a faulty foundation that demands birth but does not necessarily care for all life. When we say ‘the real victims,’ we are referring to those harmed by an inconsistent pro-life ethic.
The probable outcomes for foster youth are that a vast majority of them will fall into one or more of the following groups: the incarcerated, the homeless, the dropout, the sex trafficked, the teen mom or dad, the depressed, etc. The anticipated outcomes for foster youth are so tragic that we should be moved to action and compassion beyond defense of the unborn. The unborn often grow into people we stop advocating for, and then, when those lives don’t go as planned, we even demonize them.
"I do not believe that just because you're opposed to abortion, that that makes you pro-life. In fact, I think in many cases your morality is deeply lacking if all you want is a child born but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed...That's not pro-life. That's pro-birth. We need a much broader conversation on what the morality of pro-life is."
- Sister Joan Chittister
Foster youth aren’t the only population harmed by an inconsistent pro-life ethic. Sadly, so many of those we are called to care for have become so politicized that we can’t separate our spiritual and human responsibility from our political affiliation. We like to quote James 1:27, ‘Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows…’ yet many of us don’t want to fulfill that call if it means opening our homes or our wallets to do so.
Who are the orphans among us today, and if we demand birth, what is our responsibility to them once they are born?
While the 2016 Presidential election is over, the residue of it is not. What many of us assumed were shared American--and in many cases Christian--values seem to be under question depending on which side of the political aisle you reside. Our spiritual, political and national identities are no longer uniformed, and rather than allowing that to make us stronger, we've given it the power to divide.
Does it matter that so many Americans have built their lives, families and political identities around this single issue of abortion?
Yes, we believe it does, now more than ever.
"I get tired of us putting all our faith in this party or in that party, especially as Christians. I don’t see political parties in Jesus’ gospel. It’s almost like you can’t be a Christian if you vote for someone who’s not pro-life. Absolutely children are important and babies are important, but it can’t be the only issue. I don’t know how we got to where we are. I really don’t. As in, America." - John Moore
81% of evangelical Christians voted for Donald Trump. A majority of them did so because he pledged to appoint Supreme Court justices who would oppose abortion and continue the fight to overturn Roe v. Wade. Our political climate didn’t just suddenly arrive at chaos and division, it’s been slowly nurtured for decades to become this way. This movement that began over 50 years ago is hugely responsible for the state of our current political, social, and spiritual brokenness. Some even say that recent events are the culmination of the movement. Regardless, it’s not limited to the issue of abortion and it won’t stop unless we are informed and courageous. If history has taught us anything, it’s that if we don’t learn from it, we are bound to repeat it. So how do we learn from ‘this?’
Before we can answer that question, before we can even begin to unpack how ‘that person’ got as far as ‘they did’ for office of the President of the United States, or why ‘those people’ who claim to be evangelical Christians supported ‘that’ candidate, we must go back much farther than 2016. This last Presidential campaign did not trigger the culture war we currently find ourselves in, nor did the completion of this election cycle end it, but it did bring it to an ugly, inescapable head.
It’s time to understand how we got here and take responsibility for how to make it better. It’s time to introduce a new term and philosophy to the gridlocked pro-life and pro-choice debate. It’s time for Pro–Lifetime.