Ways to Actually be Pro-Life Without That 40 Days for Life Crap
This week caps off 40 Days for Life, our annual reminder that conservative Christians would rather annoy people than perform acts that actually accomplish their stated goals. The movement started right here in Texas at Bryan-College Station and has spread to ten countries. Church volunteers pray and fast outside abortion clinics as a protest. When the Republican presidential convention was held in Houston in 1992, anti-abortion demonstrations got so out of hand Planned Parenthood ended up suing (and winning against) such groups for $1 million in damages. Luckily, that was the old Houston location with lighter security measures. Our current location is much more secure and harder to wreck. Expect to see protestors outside, but hopefully not attempting to wreck the joint.
I’ve never had anything but the greatest disdain for the Pro-life movement, but since my wife became a NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) nurse, that disdain has evolved like a Pokemon into contempt, and I’m just a few candies away from upping it to revulsion. She is a woman that spends 12-hour shifts pissing in God’s face over the babies He messed something up on, and I pen this little rant having watched her come home too many times on days and nights when science lost.
So you’re Pro-Life… prove it.
Your thoughts and prayers and fasting are vanity, and completely unhelpful. The 40 Days of Life campaign claims in 2013 it has saved 11,000 unborn lives, but that’s hogwash and moose shit. All they did was make 11,000 more babies be born, and to them that’s the end of the story.
Let’s talk about things you could do that maybe aren’t as dramatic as bedazzling a sign of a bloody fetus, but which would actually make Planet Texas a better place to bring life into. For starters, how about volunteering at a children’s hospital? Texas Children’s lets you start volunteering as young as 15-years-old. You could be doing dozens of things to help hospitalized infants and children, everything from administrative work to helping parents begin scrapbooking their first memories to working at the in-hospital radio station to literally just holding babies. Go out on Sibling Day, and help parents manage their screaming toddler pissed off no one is paying attention to them while they care for their critical condition baby. Tiny, incremental bits of goodness that make a solid, tangible benefit in those children you got born and apparently abandoned.
I assume if you have the time flagellate yourself outside Planned Parenthood you have time to clock some free hours manning a cart of crafts on a pediatric floor, but maybe not. Fear not, money can be almost as good as time. Lots of poor mothers (you know, the ones five times more likely to have abortions) can’t afford a breast milk pump. They’re nearly $300 for an effective one, and being able to provide breast milk for a baby, especially a premature one, has monumental benefits. These are the kinds of women who are definitely going to have to be back at work pretty soon, and donating them a device that will allow them to breastfeed while being away for a shift at a job is almost as good as donating medicine. Or, if you’re a prolific breastfeeding mom yourself, donate some of your milk. I cannot stress enough how important breastmilk is as a resource and how much better you can improve the lives of sick babies by increasing their access to it.
You could also buy one of the Star Trek-looking baby swings to donate. I know a lot of people think hospitals are just huge buildings full of germs where doctors and nurses know only pills and surgery, but non-pharmacological measures for pain like these swings are a big part of how modern care helps sick babies stay as close to normal development as possible. Speaking of that, can you sing, like maybe prominent-member-of-the-church-choir sing? The music therapy programs always need volunteers.
Now, clearly, advocacy and activism is your wheelhouse, and also maybe trying to get people to change their minds about something very personal. Let’s see what the Wizard has in his bag for you, my fiery chum. This is LifeGift. The sad news is, like I said earlier, babies die. Also sad, lots of other babies will die, too, if they don’t get access to donor organs, and distraught parents can sometimes be unwilling to make that donation. You can literally do nearly-exactly what you’re doing now, but with incredible results.
That’s life. That’s real, hard, unmistakable life that needs a village. Birth is the beginning of a story, not the end, and sometimes that story is short, ugly, and painful.
But I get it. I really do. Trying to stop an abortion is much easier to stare into than the abyss that is sick babies and a crappy social welfare system for young American mothers. I’m glad my wife loves taking care of these babies because I am certainly not going to do it. I drink too much as it is.
You want to stop abortion, I have some advice there as well: STOP BOTHERING PLANNED PARENTHOOD. Why in the name of Christ’s holy left testicle do you think it’s called “planned parenthood?” The 40 Days for Life people turn cartwheels because they managed to prevent 11,000 abortions? That’s cute. Planned Parenthood prevents half a million unwanted pregnancies per year. Literally nothing is causing fewer abortions than Planned Parenthood, and yet once again we get to watch a month and a third of folks trying to pray away the very institution that is actually accomplishing their supposed purpose embarrassingly better than them.
by Jef Rouner