taking the words of Jesus seriously

On January 22, 1973, the US Supreme Court decided in Roe v. Wade that a mother has the legal right to end her pregnancy up until the point at which the fetus can live outside of her womb. We lament the death of each child lost to abortion. We pray for each parent who has chosen to terminate a pregnancy. And we commit to become a people who welcome life in a culture of death.

It’s worth remembering today and everyday — the lives lost, the dreams vanquished, the wounds suffered from abortion.  And it is also worth remembering that love requires more than ideology… it requires responsibility.  In my neighborhood, being pro-life means we have to figure out what to do when a 14-year-old gets pregnant, and how we can all help bear the weight of that responsibility.

I want to be pro-life like Mother Teresa was pro-life.  She didn’t just wear an “Abortion is murder shirt” and protest outside a clinic.  For her, being pro-life was more than being anti-abortion… it meant coming alongside teenage parents, helping raise kids that no one wanted, and taking in families who had no place to go.  That’s the kind of pro-life movement we’re talking about.  Pro-life from the womb to the tomb.

Related: Shane and Tony Campolo Dialogue on What it Means to be Pro-Life

Incidentally, I recently read a compilation of the words and writing of the early (pre-fourth-century) Christians edited by Ron Sider, entitled The Early Church on Killing.  The early Christians consistently lament the culture of death and speak out —  against abortion, capital punishment, killing in the military… and gladitorial games.  With the exception of the gladitorial games, I found their words profoundly relevant to the world we live in where death is so prevalent.

Consider these words of Cyprian of Carthage, a third-century North African bishop:  “The world is going mad in mutual extermination, and murder, considered as a crime when committed individually, becomes a virtue when it is committed by large numbers. It is the multiplication of the frenzy that assures impunity to the assassins.”

Let’s renew our commitment today to reduce and eliminate abortion… Lord, give us courage and imagination to do what love requires of us.  May we not be known just by what we are against, but by what we are for.  Make us people who are not just anti-death but who are FOR LIFE.

About The Author


Shane Claiborne is a best-selling author, renowned activist,
 sought-after speaker, and self-proclaimed “recovering sinner.” Shane writes and speaks around the world about peacemaking, social justice, and Jesus, and is the author of several books, 
including "The Irresistible Revolution," "Jesus for President," "Executing Grace," "Beating Guns," and his newest book, "Rethinking Life (released in Feb 2023)." He is the visionary leader of The Simple Way in Philadelphia and co-director of Red Letter Christians. His work has been featured in Fox News, Esquire, SPIN, TIME, the Wall Street Journal, NPR, and CNN.

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