Pro-Life Means Pro-Social Justice

by Fr. James Martin, SJ

life

I am pro-life.

That means that I’m also pro-social justice.

That means that I am not only for the dignity of the human being from the moment of conception, but also for the dignity of the human being until the natural end of life. For life does not end with birth. A person who is truly pro-life is pro-all life, pro-every stage of life, pro-every stage of life for every person. For all life is sacred, because all life is created by God.

That means that I support anything that helps a person live a full, healthy and satisfying life, in every part of the world. So I am for care for the poor, for a living wage, for affordable health care, for adequate housing, for a humane work environment, for equal pay for women, for generous child care, for the support of the aged and the infirm.

That means I support caring for the marginalized among us: the refugee, the migrant, the displaced person, the homeless, the unemployed, the person with disabilities, the single mother, women who are abused, minorities of every kind who are persecuted, and all those who feel left out, mocked, lonely, ignored or frightened.

That means that when any particular group is targeted, as refugees and migrants have been recently, I feel a responsibility to speak out, as much as I can. I know that I am just one voice, but I need to raise it. I am against silence in the face of injustices visited on others.

That means that I am against torture, because it is an affront to human dignity. I am against the death penalty, the most serious affront to an adult life. I am against abuse and mistreatment in prisons. I am against war as a way to solve problems.

That means I respect the lives of all creatures, and am therefore for the care of the world in which we live, for the environment in the broadest sense.

That means I am pro-peace, pro-justice and pro-reconciliation.

The longer I am a Jesuit, the longer I am a priest, the longer I live, and the more I pray and listen and observe, the more convinced I am of the sanctity and beauty of life.

So, yes, I am pro-life. Pro-all life.

I hope you are too.

James Martin, SJ, is a Jesuit priest, editor at large of America magazine and author of many books, including Jesus: A Pilgrimage, The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything and Seven Last Words.