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So You Think You’re Pro-Life?

sonogramAfter experiencing my own unplanned pregnancy, and now working at a crisis pregnancy resource center, everything that I ever thought about being pro-life has completely changed.

I realized that before I got some perspective, I actually wasn’t very pro-life at all.

Yes, I believed that abortion was wrong, so in that sense I was pro-life, but now I know better.

Being pro-life does not just mean you are against abortion, and that you want to save the lives of the innocent unborn. Yes, that is of course a very fundamental part of being pro-life, but there is so much more to it, and if we fail to miss these other key aspects, then we actually fail to be truly pro-life.

Protecting and defending life is an all-encompassing call. It is not just about the babies, it is about their mothers, their fathers, and their families. Yes, people need to speak for the unborn when they don’t have a voice, but if that is the primary focus, we are completely missing the mark.

The mother is the one who ultimately decides the fate of her child, so if we aren’t pursuing the healing, and genuine interest of her life, then we are utterly failing.

In fact, if I’m completely honest, when I was in the midst of my unplanned pregnancy, the slogans out there like “abortion kills a child” or graphic pictures of aborted babies made me resent the pro-life movement.  I understand their motives to spread awareness of the realities of abortion, but for the woman in the crisis (the very women that are considering abortion, the women we need to reach the most) this is a huge, huge turn off.

Why might you ask?

Well, it is simple.

When you only focus on saving the life of the baby, you fail to acknowledge something very important, and that is that the mother’s life needs to be saved too. Did we already forget that the very women who find themselves in unplanned pregnancies and who are considering abortion are very broken, afraid, and alone? They need some serious, genuine love and healing. But, quite frankly, when there is all this hollering for the babies, the woman in the crisis thinks she is forgotten. She thinks everyone just cares about the baby, no one cares about her.

She is desperately crying out, “No one cares about how traumatically my life has changed, no one cares about my future, no one cares about my dreams, no one cares about helping me!”

We cannot forget about the mothers, fathers, and families of the unborn. They matter too. They are the ones making decisions, and we need to support them.

So how exactly can you be genuinely pro-life? I will speak on behalf of the mother specifically here, and I made a list of simple suggestions/ideas from the girl “who has been there”, and as someone who works with these girls every day as an adviser at a Pregnancy Resource Center:

  1. Volunteer at or financially support Pregnancy Resource Centers. These are places that offer free services like pregnancy tests, and ultrasounds to women as well as options counseling. They typically offer parenting classes and provide real-life resources for women who choose life. They are actively working to help the woman and her family before, during, and after the birth of her child. They also don’t just stop at helping women who choose life, they also provide healing and counseling programs for the women who have been hurt by abortion.
  2. Offer up your home to single women who are pregnant and may need a safe haven. Some girls that choose life are kicked out of their own homes, or they are so ashamed and embarrassed that they need a safe place to be during their pregnancy.
  3. If you are capable, look into adoption.  The girls that cannot raise their children because of their circumstances or finances need good families to entrust their children to if we want them to choose life. Pray about this and see if you are called to adoption.
  4. Change the language! A big reason women are choosing abortion is simply because they are afraid of what people will think or say if they find out they got pregnant. (This was my biggest fear!) This means that we need to create a culture of life, instead of death and gossip. Instead of saying “Did you hear who got pregnant?” say “Did you hear who chose life?” Wow, what a different way to approach the same topic. One is gossip driven, and one is life affirming and compassionate.
  5. Another simple thing to do is compliment pregnant women, this goes for any pregnant woman. Often times if a woman appears to be young, pregnant, and without a ring on her finger, she gets stares. Those stares are cruel. So, instead of staring, tell her how beautiful she looks. Single, unmarried pregnant women are not affirmed enough on their worth, which is why it is so challenging to choose life. One day when I was at the library I saw a young pregnant girl, and I wrote her a little note stating how beautiful she was and slipped it to her. Little things like that can go a long way!
  6. If you are parents, when you have “the talk” with your daughter, explicitly tell her something like this: “I hope you are never in this situation, but you need to know that if you ever found yourself pregnant, we will still love you and will do everything we can to support you, don’t ever be afraid that we won’t be there for you if that happens.”  You can change around the wording, but the point is to explicitly tell her that if she finds herself pregnant you will support her and love her. I “knew” that was the case with my parents, but they never explicitly said that, so the devil planted seeds of doubt and made me question whether or not they would support me, and when you doubt that, it makes it so much easier to rationalize an abortion.
  7. Number six goes for anyone having a heart-to-heart with a young woman about sex, whether you are a friend, mentor, church leader, etc.
  8. Support women who choose life by throwing them baby showers! My friends and family threw me showers, and it was the most touching thing that has ever happened to me.  I have never felt so loved. It brings me to tears even thinking about it. Showering these women with love is the best way to offer them healing. They need to know that they are loved (especially when this world constantly judges them).
  9. Another very meaningful thing is when people affirmed me as a mother. Being a new mom, especially an unwed mother, is extremely scary. Half the time I have no clue what I’m doing, and so any encouragement is literally a gift from heaven. I remember one day a friend was babysitting and she left a little card on my bed after I came home just saying what a great mom I was and it brought me to tears. That type of encouragement keeps me going!
  10. Offer to babysit! Single moms need help! If we are to be pro-life and not let single moms and their children slip into poverty, we need to help them by offering childcare so they can work, or finish school to provide for their family and get on their feet. I know that if my family didn’t help me with watching AvaMarie, I would not have been able to graduate college.

Finally: One of the biggest tips is to seek out the single moms.  I often find myself so busy with work and motherhood, that I’m too exhausted to really invest in stuff for myself or in even maintaining friendships. When my friends call me up, it means the world to me. It lets me know I’m not forgotten. Most of the time I can’t even meet up or hang out, but the fact that I was remembered and invited makes all the difference.

I know this seems entirely “mother focused” but imagine if we coupled these actions with the pro-life discussion about the baby. Women would stop getting abortions because they would know they are supported and loved! Women in unplanned pregnancies would no longer think of themselves as screw-ups and would instead receive healing and recovery through a REAL culture of life.

I’ve seen and experienced the fear of being judged or unloved as the primary factor in abortion, and these tips would hopefully eliminate that fear.

If we are to fight for the unborn, we are to fight for the mothers just as much!


Raquel Rose Kato is a single, young, Catholic mama. She is known for her crazy conversion story of getting unexpectantly pregnant in college, scheduling an abortion, and then changing her mind because God pierced her soul with His perfect love. Now she am a proud mama of a gorgeous little girl, AvaMarie Rose, she works at a crisis pregnancy center, and is pursuing her Master’s in School Counseling. She loves roses, and the fact that the most beautiful flower comes from a thorn bush is like the story of her life, and that is why her blog is titled Story of a Rose. She loves coffee and Pinteresting, and just experiencing all the thorns and roses of life!

  • Noel Fitzpatrick

    Brilliant article. It is sound, practical and idealistic. It is about life, life to the full, which is more than just existence.

  • I am part of the pro-life movement and the suggestions made by Ms Kato have been very much a part of our activism in the past decade. It is not well known, because pro-lifers are a modest group and our good deeds are under reported by the media, but they are changing minds and hearts.

  • Dennisembo

    Bravo Ms. Kato! Having just gone through volunteer training at a local pregnancy care center in Michigan (one of the few centers where men volunteers – called “advocate/mentors” – talk to the boyfriends/husbands of the mothers of their babies while the gals are having their ultrasound, or whatever) I gained a whole new perspective on my previous “pro-life” activities. Also just a couple of weeks ago I had the privelage of attending a Project Rachel Ministry training workshop and heard Vicki Thorn speak at length about the mother’s abortion experience itself and its aftermath. As a result I have gone through a major paradigm shift in my thinking and approach to the whole issue of what it means to be “pro-life.” Considering the fact that today one of three women in the U.S. has had at least one abortion, there is a vast army of wounded women out there for whom the usual “end abortion now” rhetoric repels and does not serve to persuade to the pro-life cause.