Respecting life calls for consistency and compassion. A person who claims they respect life without consistency runs risk of being hypocritical. Just as important as the first, it is not possible to respect another life without having compassion first.
Respecting life starts at conception. Life is a series of stages and one’s worth cannot be determined simply by their stage of life. Their personhood should not be established by their life stage. From the beginning of life until the end the level of respect should remain consistent. However, the life inside the womb is especially unique in that a child in the womb is never in a situation where he or she is capable of wrongdoing.
When a person does something wrong there is a consequence that is ensued whether that consequence is natural, a reaction of someone else, or a corrective procedure. A child inside the womb, is incapable of wrongdoing thus should never be subject to a consequence that devalues their life or disrespects their personhood. However, it is not quite that simple as a child inside the womb also relies on their mother for survival. Whatever the mother experiences the child in her womb will also experience in some form.
A pregnant woman’s life is also to be respected. It would be inconsistent of a pro-life supporter to value the life in the womb while simultaneously disrespecting the mother’s life. The best example is seen through the eyes of a pro-life doctor. When a pregnant woman is seen by a pro-life doctor he sees two patients: the mother and her child in her womb. Whereas a pro-choice doctor only sees one: the woman. Although most pregnancies occur without complications, there are cases where complications arise and the health of the child or the mother becomes of a concern. In these cases, careful consideration must be done to discover what is the best plan of action to value both patient’s lives.
The next component in respecting life is compassion. In order to respect someone you must first understand them. It is difficult perhaps impossible to be empathetic towards another person if you do not understand why they feel that way. At Options United, often the first interaction a mother has is through the helpline. Therefore, to respect her life is to listen to her story and what concerns her in the situation.
Although stories are similar they are always unique. Past and current situations, personalities, the level of support received from family or friends, the mother’s age, religious background are all possible influences on how she perceives her situation. When she makes the initial call all of these factors can feel extremely overwhelming. The added pressure of an unplanned pregnancy may create a unbearable moment. Many testimonies given by mothers who have worked with Options United state a feeling of weight being lifted after that first call. It gives them a moment to release their concerns and worry to another person. In doing this they are often able to gather strength and clear their minds in their situations. By simply listening, the staff at Options United is showing compassion to these mothers. With compassion they feel heard and respected. Yet, it goes beyond that. Options United partners with life-affirming pregnancy centers to further the support she is able to receive. With each unique situation, mothers who call into the helpline are given a holistic approach to care.
If you’d like to join us in helping reach mothers in these situations please donate at optionsunited.com/donate
It is important to note that Options United will never refer a mother to an abortion clinic or give information on how to obtain an abortion. Solutions are resources to help mothers who choose to parent, adoption referrals or if during follow up calls she decided to seek assistance elsewhere and have an abortion then post abortive counseling may be an option. Therefore, after the call responder listens to the mother’s situation and she does not want to take any of the solutions offered she may simply seek help elsewhere.