LIFE OR LIFESTYLE
Prolifers: Practice What You Preach!

May 2009By Kerrie K. Hendrickson

Kerrie K. Hendrickson, a homeschooling mother of seven, writes from her farm outside New Waverly, Texas.

Prolife Christians consider themselves a caring and supportive lot. They do all the right things any conscientious Christian would do to help another in need, especially when another life is potentially hanging in the balance. However, there are countless respectable, solid Christian couples who, raising (or having raised) one or two solid Christian children, are yet promoting a wordless pro-abortion mentality, a zero-population-growth ideal. These are people who will stand and pray outside of Planned Parenthood or the local abortion clinics. They give no small amount of their income to prolife charities. It is their mission to provide a constant influx of stories and articles to local newspapers and Christian magazines. Dedicated Christians are hard at work promoting a safe and protecting atmosphere to so many situations where welcoming a new life is a difficult and lonely proposition. And yet they are condemned by their own actions.

This is the grave incongruity within the abortion debate: the disparity between being anti-abortion and being prolife. The term "prolife" adheres to the theory that all life is good and should always be welcomed by society, regardless of circumstance. However, there are many Christians who are willing to stand up for the prolife cause only insofar as it remains a state of affairs that does not directly affect them.

Many Christians do not consider birth control a prolife issue. If a couple has decided to restrict their family size, then they consider it a topic unsuitable for the public arena. If a happily married couple is content to check their family size before the issue of unborn children comes into play, it is their own decision. This is true insofar as a couple is not willing to tell anyone else how to handle his own fertility, including the animated proceeds of someone else's womb. However, once they initiate their own prolife activism, they put all of their own decisions to the same test.

Limit in family size is something we are trained not to notice. Couples stroll into church with their "replacement children" and we are taught from an early age not to be judgmental. We are not privy to the secrets of their home life. We cannot always know if there is a health risk that keeps a particular couple from bringing forth another child. We do not know if there are financial or psychological issues that stem from (what one hopes is) an overwhelming desire to grow a family past the point of the "bookends" they are already blessed to have. We are taught to give couples the benefit of the doubt.

There are hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of couples who consider themselves prolife but who are merely anti-abortion. America is awash with couples who are solvent, successful, and happily married, and who claim to reject the reigning Culture of Death. Yet many of these same couples also show themselves content to blithely turn aside from the simplest way possible to confound the hedonistic culture in which we reside. They refuse to have one more child.


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Back to May 2009 Issue

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Very good and challenging article. Being anti-abortion is not the same thing as being prolife. Hendrickson's challenges made me more than a little uncomfortable. Posted by: mlhearing
May 08, 2009 05:09 PM EDT
Some of us didn't become Catholic until near the end of our child-bearing years. The author's paragraph in which she mentioned not wanting to be a person who tries to show up the people in the other pews reveals perhaps a temptation she feels in her own heart. It's wonderful she and her husband have been so open to life. There is no need to speculate on the motives of others; it's unkind in the extreme. Posted by: luvadoxi
September 13, 2010 01:19 PM EDT
The author is right, and the poster above ignores all the argument, going back to the don't judge, don't think, don't do anything, its up to each one of us to decide how many children.
This way of thinking is not Catholic, it is not human, and Thank God the most part of this world doesn't think this poisonous way.
It is no judgment to say that Christian couples are down to 2 children for no good health reason. Its a FACT with some couples having some private reasons that may hold water before God's Judgment. Pius XII explained this well in one of his letters to Married Couples.

To summarize what the author says: if you want to eliminate children you don't want by abortion, its the same spirit to eliminate children you don't want by contraception (and the contraceptive mentality). Both require elimination of children, both require evil will, the only thing that differs is the method: one murders before conception, the other murders after conception.
If you think I exagerrate, would it be any better if your own (blood) brother or sister, or mother or father, did not exist by being contracepted out of existence, rather than aborted out of existence?
If you believe in contraception, which of your family members is it ok to say that they were extra, just fine to never exist, just because their parents were influenced by the contraceptive mentality?
I for myself, can say, its an absolute CRIME if any one of my 2 sisters never did exist because my parents contracepted them away. Contraception is really a moral crime, just a pre-conception abortion in the mind acted by contraceptive methods.
The Catholic Catechism and St. Thomas of Aquinas is right: contraception is immoral and an objective evil. Please avoid it (yes, like I avoid it with my wife and our 4th baby is on our way, very happy none of our kiddies were wished away by contraception out of existence).
Posted by: requet
September 13, 2010 02:12 PM EDT
Honestly, I don't understand how requet can say I'm not Catholic or proposing poisonous ideas, just from what I posted. I'm a convert to the Faith, totally in line with the Magisterium, and opposed to contraception. I don't believe in the "don't judge" mentality as though we can't make rational judgments after removing the planks from our eyes. That's not what I meant at all. It's just that the original poster did come across as making assumptions about people when she can't read minds and hearts. And requet, your post is very unkind as well. You don't know me. I would have been open to life earlier had I known better. Speak truth, yes, but in charity, please. And I do apologize to the OP if I came across as uncharitable...I do understand how difficult it must be in this culture of death to be always judged just because you have more than 2 children. God bless you for your faithfulness. It was the tone of the article I objected to. And requet, you didn't even read my post--you just reacted emotionally--believe me, I've been there. But you do owe me an apology. God's peace. Posted by: Luvadoxi
September 13, 2010 06:31 PM EDT
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