I am pro-life.

Today’s Supreme Court decision has me thinking about what it really means to be “pro-life”.

I suppose a politics major never really stops paying at least some attention to politics, particularly when it comes to issues of women’s rights and access to health care. In a nutshell, Burwell v. Hobby Lobby grants “closely-held” corporations the right to deny health care coverage of certain forms of birth control, specifically the “morning-after pill” and IUDs. The company owners in this case argue (using incorrect data) that those particular devices are “abortofacients” or actively contribute to the abortion of a child. Supporting the use of these contraceptives is a violation of their “pro-life” religious convictions.

I’m not here to question anybody’s faith or religious convictions. I have my own. I do, however, take issue with the selective definition of “pro-life” employed by these companies and politicians who are so eager to legislate every aspect of women’s reproductive health. So, ignoring for a moment the manifold implications of this case, I just want to affirm again that I am pro-life.

I am pro-life. I believe that adults should make responsible decisions about family planning and have access to the resources to prevent bringing children into a difficult family or socioeconomic situation.

I am pro-life. I believe that a woman has the right to choose to end a pregnancy to benefit her life, particularly in a case of medical necessity. While I never encourage abortion it is also not my right to limit another person’s actions. Each of us answers to God for our decisions and none of us should take on the role of judge.

I am pro-life. I believe that a child who is protected and nurtured in the womb deserves the same kindness once he is born, including assistance with food, clothing, housing, and medical care should it be needed.

I am pro-life. I believe that most of us fall onto hard times and that as a society we should reach out and help our stumbling brothers and sisters up. I don’t believe in the virtue of a welfare state but there is a significant difference between a hand up and a handout.

I am pro-life. I believe that responsible gun ownership should include background checks to prevent dangerous or mentally unstable individuals from legally purchasing guns – even while I recognize that this is only one avenue for such people to access weapons.

I am pro-life. I believe that as a society we should seek to end the use of capital punishment as a viable sentence for crime. Killing a person to punish them for killing a person verges on the hypocritical for those who claim to value life, and from an economic standpoint the death penalty is even more expensive to society than life imprisonment. (Really.)

I am pro-life, and I believe that today’s decision was a severe miscarriage of justice.