Lately a lot of people have claimed to be pro life, as they’ve rallied around an Alabama law that would sentence doctors to up to 99 years in prison for performing abortions.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has sued to block the ban, which would criminalize abortion in nearly every circumstance — including cases of rape and incest. The ACLU lawsuit sets the stage for a prolonged court battle that abortion opponents hope will end with the U.S. Supreme Court banning abortion nationwide by overturning Roe v. Wade, the case that legalized the procedure.
In my view, however, the fight to protect life should be about much more than abortion. In fact, the fight to protect life should go on long after children are born.
That’s why I’m confused that the pro life crowd isn’t saying much about Yovanny Lopez. He’s a baby struggling for life in Chicago after his mother, Marlen Ochoa Lopez, was killed, and the child was cut from her womb.
Ochoa-Lopez was killed on April 23 after she was allegedly lured into a home where Clarisa Figueroa resided with her 24-year-old daughter, Desiree. Figueroa had written Facebook posts offering free baby clothes, according to court documents, and after using those posts to lure Lopez to the home, Figueroa is alleged to strangled Lopez before cutting the baby from her womb. Now Figueroa and her daughter are both jailed along with Figueroa’s boyfriend, Piotr Bobak, facing charges in connection with the crime.
The story could have very well ended there, since Yovanny was not expected to live. But when his father held the boy in his arms, the child briefly opened his eyes.
Now there’s a GoFundMe to provide for the needs of that single father and his son, and while the baby remains on life support, at press time that fund was up to $51,844.
Frankly, that’s not enough. But if all those claiming to be pro life would pitch in to help Yovanny, that baby who’s already been through so much would have everything he needs.
The child’s ethnicity shouldn’t matter if one is truly pro life. All that should matter is that he’s a child who stands in need of our help.
But pro life should go beyond childhood. If we truly stand for life, we should support the lives of black people who are shot on our streets. We should support the lives of Latino migrants who are seeking opportunity. We should support the lives of students trapped in underfunded schools. We should support the lives of prisoners coming home to start again.
Pro life should not be about controlling what other people do. Pro life should be about helping other people to live. So if black lives still don’t matter to you, stop telling me you’re pro life. If the undocumented aren’t human to you, stop telling me you’re pro life.
In truth, you can’t be pro life in one breath and in the next breath, cut impoverished mothers from public assistance. You can’t be pro life in one breath and then abandon children to foster care. You can’t be pro life in one breath and then try to take people’s healthcare.
So if the pro life crowd truly wants to provide every child the chance to be born, America must give those kids the supports they need in order to live.
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