Pro-Life and Disability Rights.

Mary “Elizabeth” Hamilton drops by as a God’s Heart Guest Writer to discuss a frequent topic on the God’s Heart site, Disability, this time in the social context of the Pro-Life Movement and Disability Rights. 

By Mary “Elizabeth” Hamilton

“I feel like the current American Pro-Life Movement really only cares about being pro-birth/anti-abortion,” this is probably the most common critique of the modern pro-life movement. Most people who work for the pro-life cause are used to it and have almost gained an immunity to the comment, to the point where they no longer really take it seriously. Granted, some of them DO take it seriously, and their voices shouldn’t be ignored. There are those who believe that abortion is one of the most evil things a human being can do, and the thought of women making the decision to kill a fetus/baby/future life makes them absolutely sick…HOWEVER, they also get just as sick at the idea of snipers, bombers, extremists, entering into an abortion clinic with the sole intention of murdering those who they view as murderers.

The thing about any massive movement is that despite claiming that they all want the same thing/have the same mission, is that any movement with thousands/millions of followers is going to be diverse. Especially when that movement is directly associated with a cause that society deems controversial. The unfortunate thing about our society is that it is a society that seems to attract/celebrate those with extreme personalities. It’s been that way since literally the beginning of time, and specifically the beginning of this nation. Especially now, in 2021 it seems nearly impossible to get a platform unless you are willing to commit to one extreme or the other. The true reality though is that the majority of our society will always be made up of those who don’t fall into one extreme or another, but it will still be those extremes that get the platforms, the megaphones, the most twitter followers, etc. We can’t change that fact, it’s how society has always been, and likely always will be. What we in the middle can do is use the fact that we are the majority to work on ensuring that the actions we put out into the world and the causes we have chosen to fight in it are good and that the motives reflect that.

What do I mean by that? The pro-life party is always going to be viewed as anti-abortion, as I would argue it should. I firmly believe that if you choose to be part of the pro-life party that abortion is an issue that bothers you…and that’s okay!! It isn’t a pleasant or fun experience for anyone involved and it IS a tragic thing in our society. Besides, even though the majority of us aren’t extremists in one way or another, passion is part of our wiring as human beings. It’s also part of our desire as human beings to feel like we aren’t alone in our passions and beliefs. That’s why events like comic-cons and such are so popular. Can we take these facts and ideas and create a better/stronger/more respected pro-life party? I believe so, but it isn’t something that one organization can accomplish alone…and I would argue that fact in and of itself will do wonders to improve the reputation of the pro-life party, after all, what’s more beautiful about life than enjoying and loving other lives?

One group that I believe could potentially do the most good in improving the image of pro-life groups is the disability rights groups. Think about it, what is the closest thing to a non-partisan issue that you could find? Disability rights. In fact, even after four years of seemingly non-stop controversies, one of the most lingering controversies of President Trump is the instance where he appeared to mock a disabled reporter. It’s an issue that doesn’t care age, sex, political affiliation, socioeconomic status, etc. you are. Disability is something that will impact everyone in one way or another at some point in our lives, if it’s not you it will be someone you know, someone in your family, etc. and tragically, it’s a popular cause of abortions.

It isn’t always the potential disability of the unborn children, but sometimes the disability of the mother or even father. It’s also an issue that frequently and rapidly causes changes in the number of abortions that take place. Even though late-term abortions due to disability are declining in frequency (And in some places is outright illegal), it is still common to terminate the pregnancy early on due to disability. The continual advancement of technology helps doctors spot potentially health risks and disabilities earlier and earlier in the pregnancy, allowing families time to dwell on whether or not they want to bring a child with medical challenges and disabilities into the world. It can be a scary and intimidating thing (especially for families who maybe don’t have the best healthcare options or opportunities) because the challenge will be one that will last long after the pregnancy is over. Imagine a pro-life party that uplifted and celebrated individuals who are thriving in one way or another despite their disability? A pro-life party that commits to the idea that healthcare is a right? A pro-life party that is committed to education and opportunities for people of all backgrounds? Yes, it’s a lot and may seem overwhelming and like it’s too much…but hey, isn’t that what life is all about? The chance to explore and experience a beautiful but overwhelming world with more to see and do than could ever be done in a single lifetime, but the journey somehow still being worth it?

This pro-life party would require humility and sacrifice (even more than what is already done). Like I stated above, I am aware that the true backbone of the pro-life party aren’t the protesters or shouters or snipers…but the friends who sit with a scared and sobbing woman, those who hold fundraisers to pay for doctors appointments, those who spend countless hours filing out and processing adoption papers. It’s very likely that these people already feel like they are doing thankless work (after all, the general opinion of the pro-life party is more aligned with protest work than the roll up your sleeves work). The sad reality is that the pro-life party I am envisioning more than likely would result in more thankless work and less gratitude and praise (at least in the beginning). After all, change takes time, and while partnering with other advocacy groups and organizations will lead to more hands to make lighter work, it will also mean more considerations to make when it comes to making decisions.

Now, more than ever, considering others is essential to making changes. The world is still in the midst of a global pandemic, hospitals are at maximum capacity, frontline workers are mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted…in short, things stink right now. True, the vaccination is providing us some much needed hope, but the reality is that the struggle is far from over. In a way, this time period could be used to show the watching world just what being pro-life means. It doesn’t mean life is always a fun, easy-going, or even happy. In fact, life is difficult, complicated, and sometimes it feels like we will barely make it through, but it’s not something we go through alone. Thinking of others and considering those who live lives that are full of struggle and doing whatever we can to lighten their load is what life is all about and therefor what the pro-life party should be all about. After all, life isn’t only marches, protests, or abortion clinics…it’s laughing until we cry, having friendships that mean more than gold, and it is the sacred holiness of loving another person and wanting what’s best for them, even at the sacrifice of your own wants and needs. Famous French author and playwright Victor Hugo said it best when in his novel Les Miserables, “to love another person is to see and experience the face of God on earth,”

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About the Author:

My name is Mary Elizabeth Hamilton, and I am a legally blind graduate student working towards my doctorate in Rehabilitation with the hopes of one day becoming a professor and advocate for the disabled. I currently do freelance work and writing in my spare time to help me with my expenses with life and school. I am willing to work on any project and pride myself on fast. reliable, and high-quality work, if you are interested you can reach out to me at mary.hamilton@siu.edu or by direct messaging/following me at Elizabe25405947

 

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