July 21, 2011 (AbbyJohnson.org) - I get asked this question a lot. Am I really pro-life? Am I against abortion in all circumstances? Yes. Do I believe there are any exceptions for abortion? No. Do you want to make abortion illegal? Yes. But for me, it doesn’t stop there. Being “pro-life” means standing up for all life, valuing all life.

I am not one for labels, but in this case, I think they are important. I am pro-life. I believe in the protection of all life. I am against abortion, euthanasia, and the death penalty. I am pro-quality of life. I believe all children deserve quality health care. I don’t believe in reducing assistance benefits for those who are disabled or who have special needs. I am not simply anti-abortion. I abhor clinic violence. I have a genuine urgency to see every clinic worker and abortionist turn away from abortion. I do not believe harassment, violence, threats, or anything of the sort is the way we are to behave in this movement. Abortion is bad because is a terrible act of violence. Violence begets violence. If we simply turn to violence, we are no better than the abortionists themselves.

I am not just pro-birth. I believe in supporting a woman during and after pregnancy. It’s not just about “saving” the baby. It is about empowering the mother as well. I am not against abortion because it takes an innocent life, I am against abortion because it takes a life. Innocence has nothing to do with it. Their lives are not more valuable because they are innocent. They will not always be innocent…but their lives will still hold the same value. I think people use this whole “innocent” argument so they can justify the death penalty. But, I always say, if you have to justify something, it is probably wrong. When the death penalty is imposed, innocent people die. That has happened over and over again. Why? Because people are flawed. Only God should give and take life. That is the exact argument we give when we discuss abortion. I could go on and on about the death penalty, but that isn’t the point of this post. Maybe I will do that another time.

I recently talked to a woman who runs a group that assists women after they have their baby. Being pro-life is not just about assisting a woman during her pregnancy, it is helping her after the baby is born, too. If we are only interested in her giving birth to her child, then we need to simply consider ourselves pro-birth. If we are truly pro-life, then the woman’s needs continue far after her child is born.

Many pregnancy centers will assist the new mother will material support and even classes, but many times that is not enough. We need these moms to be self-sufficient, off government programs, skilled for jobs, educated, and able to stand on their own…and support a child. This is exactly what I discussed with the lovely women who run Teen Mother Choices International. We talked about the necessity of self-sufficiency for these moms. Almost all of their new moms rely on some sort of government assistance when they enter the program. This can be such a dangerous cycle. I honestly never had a really clear way to describe my feelings about governmental help until I talked about it with these women. It’s not about the money for me or taxes. I want people to get the help they need, no matter the monetary cost for me. But I knew there was something else that bothered me…I just couldn’t put my finger on it.

Scripture says the church is to care for the widows and orphans. Society has redefined the word “widow” to mean a woman whose husband has died. But the actual definition is a woman without a husband. There are many widows in our country, and the church is instructed to care for them. Many of these widows have children. These government programs have simply allowed the Church to ignore their duties and responsibilities. We have allowed the government to take care of these women (and do a poor job of it) instead of following our command to care for them. Now looked what has happened. We have cycles of poverty…women and children living in dangerous neighborhoods because they rely on this minimal standard of living…families who are uninsured…children who don’t have enough to eat. And, why? Because we haven’t done our jobs.

TMCI is changing that, and it is so beautiful to see. They are setting up support communities inside churches to help young mothers stop this cycle. The success is phenomenal. They have had hundreds of girls go through their program. They get them job training, take care of their medical needs by people in the church, help with childcare, help with education…and they do it with no government assistance. In fact, almost all of the young women who go through their program come out with stable jobs, education and training they need, parenting skills, money in savings accounts, medical care, and a church community they are a part of and thriving in…all without the use of government assistance. This is a model we should all be using and duplicating. I am so impressed by the work they are doing. I encourage you to look at their website. If you are a pregnancy center, they can come and help you. You can use their program. They will come in to your center and help you make this happen. It will totally change your center…and you clients. Please go to their website and check them out, www.teenmotherchoices.org.

The pro-life movement needs to be about collaboration; working together, finding out who does what best. We can’t all be the best at everything. TMCI is the very best at helping these young women get on their feet after they become mothers. We don’t want these young women to end up pregnant again within the next year after having a baby. The sad thing is that the statistics are not in their favor, unless they get the skills, support and training that they need. Let’s help them.

Are we pro-life, anti-abortion, pro-birth…I hope you are pro-life. I hope your concern for this movement doesn’t stop once the child is born. Let’s make a difference for the future and help break this cycle. Go check out TMCI and find out how you can get involved. Honestly, I am not a person who is easily impressed, but these women with TMCI have completely blown me away with their method. And the results speak for themselves. Maybe you can bring TMCI to your community…to your pregnancy center…to your church. You won’t be disappointed.