The recent #IamProLife campaign on Twitter has had me thinking about labels this week. Earlier this week, Danielle Bean tweeted, “Speak out for the unborn. Use #IAmProLife & tell us why. Please RT.” (She explains more in her post at Faith & Family Live.)

I’ve been pro-life for a while, but I have avoided that label. It’s not that I don’t like it; it’s what it used to mean to me. The fault is mine, I think, not the label’s, but it’s still stuck on me around the edges. I picture crazy, militant people, out to blow up clinics filled with innocent people. I see red-faced, screaming women, arguing about rights and who’s more important.

I am pro-life, though, as much for women and their unborn babies as for the elderly. I’m pro-life because I have caught a glimpse of the beauty that the physically handicapped bring to the world. I’m pro-life because, well, at the heart of it, I can’t be otherwise.

But…those don’t seem like reasons, not to my NT brain. Those seem like feelings.

I want to have a clearly articulated set of thoughts like Jen does, outlined and bulleted. What I have, instead, is a small white casket. What I have is a heart that is moved and a scar that was narrowly avoided. I’ve carried three children (the third still being “in process”) within me, and though that has changed me immensely and continues to change me, it doesn’t define why I’m pro-life, not entirely.

Pro-life is a label that has become twisted somehow. Pro-lifers aren’t a bunch of crazies — or the ones I know in real life aren’t. They are, by and large, men and women who are struggling through their lives, the same as I am. I see them on the sidewalks during the 40 Days for Life, praying silently. I know they come weekly to Eucharistic Adoration at our parish, because I see their intentions in the prayer book. I met them when I volunteered at a pregnancy center, and I continue to run into them whenever I wear my precious feet on my lapel.

If I have to pick a label — and in this arena, I think I do — I think pro-life expresses how I feel. It encompasses the babies and the women, the elderly and the unborn, the weak and the disenfranchised. I’m in favor of life.

Life’s not necessarily the easier choice. It’s not going to always be the beneficial approach. There might not be a positive bottom line to life, financially or otherwise. But I think it’s a larger discussion than bottom lines and who’s the one who has the “right” to decide.

It’s not a conversation that has to take place, but a conversion that needs to happen…and it happens, I think, one heart at a time. I have to start, as I do with all things, with that person who stares back at me as I brush my teeth. I can control exactly one person’s actions, precisely one person’s thoughts. So, instead of setting out to change the world, I’ll embrace the call to be pro-life in all the little arenas of my life — from how I deal with my kids to how I live my life in public to the way I treat the people I love.

Is there more I can do? Yes. Always. I’ll keep praying that I can cooperate with His grace and do whatever is next for me in this arena.

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