Respect for Life
United to prevent abortions

Almost all abortions are caused by unwanted conceptions. Methods of preventing these conceptions are numerous, and although few contraceptive methods are 100% effective, their availability and use would greatly reduce the number of abortions performed. It’s not possible to end the need for abortions entirely, but our united efforts will prevent the unwanted pregnancies causing most of them. The choice every woman getting an abortion would prefer is the choice to not need one in the first place.

We have been artificially divided into two opposing sides, though we share a large common ground. All of us who have respect for life are on the same side. Together we will help end the mindless violence and unnecessary pain.

Uniting with Right to Life Oregon to prevent abortions. Sunday, January 22, 2012. Photo © Olivia Bee

Statement of Purpose

Respect for Life exists to promote an increased respect for human life, primarily in the following directions:

Freedom to reproduce is well established, but the option to choose non-motherhood or non-fatherhood remains restricted. Coerced conceptions and mandatory motherhood harm the mother, the unwanted child, society, and the Earth. Although reproductive freedom is considered to be primarily a women’s issue, men who wish to take responsibility for their fertility are often denied vasectomies.

Many births today are not wanted by the couple responsible. In most cases worldwide, the desire to limit family size is more than just a personal preference, it’s a matter of life and death.

Instead of limiting the definition of reproductive freedom to a woman’s right to legal access to contraception and safe abortions, our goal should be advanced to include freedom from needing abortions, and freedom from the harmful side-effects of female-based contraception.

As more men take responsibility for their sexual activities, by using condoms and getting vasectomies, progress will advance towards this goal. Financial and ageist restrictions on men’s choice to become sterile denies their right to reproductive freedom.

Freedom to use contraceptives is only the first step. Everyone at risk of starting a human life should accept the responsibility that comes with that risk, and take appropriate precautions.

As human population becomes more dense, the value of human life is diminished. Therefore, lower birth rates are desirable. As human life increases in value, death rates will also drop.

Encouraging positive alternatives to procreation will lower birth rates. Adoption, foster and step parenting, and co-operative child caring all respect existing children who need adult interaction.

Society has created artificial obstacles to forming non-biological and non-traditional families. Encouraging and enabling people to live together as families is a more respectful role for society to play.

Foster parent and adoption qualifications are necessary to protect children from potentially abusive situations, however, some current qualifications are based more on society’s prejudices than on the best interests of the child.

People who are respectful of human life have been divided into two opposing groups: anti-abortion and pro-choice. We are all anti-abortion: no one is in favor of unwanted pregnancies, fetal deformities, or complications in pregnancy which endanger a woman’s life. The vast majority of us are also pro-choice, though the label is often not accepted. Our common ground already exists, we just need to combine our efforts to reduce the need for abortions.

Statement of Values

Respect for Life adheres to values the vast majority of us could agree to support:

Respect for life takes a moderate position in the controversy over abortion. There are extremes at either end of the spectrum.

Some would abort because it wasn’t the gender they wanted, and some don’t think an abortion is ever right, even when the fetus is defective and threatens the life of its carrier. Paradoxically, some extremists want to criminalize abortion, and at the same time oppose efforts to prevent the need for abortions.

People who respect human life will respect others’ choices, while encouraging and enabling choices which demonstrate a respect for life. There are situations where terminating a pregnancy expresses more respect for life than would continuing it to birth.

Given the choice, virtually every woman having an abortion would choose to not need one. And, nearly every man who causes an unwanted pregnancy would choose to have prevented it in the first place. When the means for preventing conceptions are not conveniently available, or access to them is outlawed, the freedom to choose to not need an abortion is denied.

In a perfect world, no one would ever need an abortion. When everyone has access to contraception, accidental conceptions will be minimal, and abortions will be too.

An outrageous number of children are dying of malnutrition, or are considered “throwaways” by industrial societies. This inhuman suffering of the innocents could be greatly reduced, if not eliminated, by enabling everyone to avoid unwanted conceptions. Caring for existing children is pro-child—sentencing more of them to life in a world that isn’t willing to care for them is not.

Respect for Life is an advocate for human life. All life deserves respect, and should not be created if it won’t be respected.

We are all members of the same family—the human family. Respect for Life honors everyone’s choices in defining their families, regardless of their personal orientations.

All of us have a right to live until we die. Millions of people have been born and are not yet living—they are dying. Until all who are alive today are truly living, we have no right to create more lives.

Just as we respect others only after we respect ourselves, we as a species will give more respect to life other than our own as we gain more respect for human life.

How you might help:

2012 Rally for Life. 2013 Rally for Life.

Valentines Day drawing for a free vasectomy.

Rev. Barron, Director, Respect for Life
PO BOX 86697
PORTLAND OR 97286-0697