Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Pro-Life is the self-description for those in North America and Great Britain who are of the general political opinion that abortion, embryonic stem cell research, human cloning and other issues regarding the sanctity of life are morally wrong and should be illegal in most cases.
The term was coined in the early 1960s in the United States, and refers specifically to what is believed to be the life of unborn children, the subjects of abortion. Though spanning a wide range of political and moral beliefs, the Pro-Life movement is generally defined by the belief that the unborn are to be considered human in their own right, and have the same rights to life and legal protection from harm which are given to "born" humans; thus, they argue, the development of the unborn child should not be artificially terminated. Within this view exists a spectrum of political nuance: some believe that abortion should be illegal in all circumstances, while some believe that it should be permitted under certain special circumstances (such as pregnancy due to incest or rape, or if the mother's life would be put in severe mortal danger should the pregnacy be allowed to continue).
The Pro-Life, also referred to as Pro-Birth and Right-to-Life, philosophy is seen as being opposed to Pro-Choice philosophies, wherein it is held that termination of pregnancy is the right of the pregnant woman. Though various religions preach against abortion, it is not simply a religious issue. Not all supporters of the Pro-Life movement do so based on religious convictions; nevertheless, many who support the movement claim strong religious motivations, and religious organizations are often sites of Pro-Life organization.
Some anti-abortion individuals have used terrorist tactics to further their cause, including the murder of 7 doctors and the injuring of many more. However, the actions of these individuals are considered by most as antithetical to the basic tenets of the Pro-Life movement, and are not considered a part of the Pro-Life mainstream.
Opponents of Pro-Life policies sometimes pejoratively call Pro-Life "anti-choice," similarly to their own pejorative tag of "anti-life." These terms are considered biased and as such are almost never used in formal debate.
To some, "Pro-Life" is a loaded term or code word: it contains the connotations that people who oppose the political opinions it describes are against "life" and are in favor of "death", in particular in the death of an "unborn child". Both "Pro-Life" and "Pro-Choice" are examples of political framing: they are terms which purposely try to define their philosophies in the best possible light, while by definition attempting to describe their opposition in the worst possible light (being anti-life or anti-choice). Because of this, it is often criticized as being "inaccurate" by its critics, who argue that some of those who call themselves "Pro-Life" use that term in the context of reproductive rights but fall short of the ideal in other areas, by supporting capital punishment and war and opposing social welfare measures that would aid children. One such critic, Congressman Barney Frank, characterized this approach as the view that "life begins at conception and ends at birth."  Those who label themselves as "Pro-Life" generally do not see their stance as contradictory. Although the opposition to abortion rights is generally identified with right-wing politics, some "Pro-Life" adherents view their position through the lens of the Consistent Life Ethic. As such, they may ally themselves just as often with the left, by opposing capital punishment and war. For example, this is the official position of the Roman Catholic Church.
Some, such as Thomas Frank, author of What's the Matter with Kansas? argue that "pro-life" politicians use moral issues about the lives of the unborn to distract voters from their economic concerns, while the liberal The New Republic argues that these politicians' actions do not support their rhetoric: Republicans like to claim that they are the defenders of "life," particularly the lives of those who are most vulnerable, such as the severely brain-damaged and the unborn... how do you explain the fact that, on March 17, Senate Republicans rejected... a comprehensive plan to reduce unwanted pregnancies and thereby reduce abortions? If you take Republicans at their word--that they seek to protect the lives of fetuses--then it is inexplicable... [perhaps] [w]hat they really oppose is not so much the deaths of innocent fetuses but female reproductive freedom and premarital sex. And it seems they are perfectly willing to tolerate more abortions to achieve those goals
- Morality and legality of abortion
- Culture of Life
- Culture of Death
- Evangelium Vitae or "Gospel of Life" - as written by Pope John Paul II
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details