In recent weeks, pro-life advocates have released a series of disturbing and controversial videos that expose the reality of abortion. Even today, the activist group “The Center for Medical Progress” released yet another clip, showing fetal tissue vendors talk about their business relationships with Planned Parenthood and the graphic details of abortion.
The Planned Parenthood undercover videos have drawn both criticism and praise, and have forced many to re-examine the issue. But, though abortion-focused videos bring light to an important issue—one that Christians should speak out against—being pro-life is much bigger than being anti-abortion.
Today, thousands of people die because of preventable diseases, hunger, circumstances perpetuated by extreme poverty, environmental factors, violence, unsafe working conditions and other ways that represent causes Christians should stand against.
Here’s a look at five of the modern-day pro-life issues currently making headlines that aren’t abortion.
Today, there are more than 20 million slaves around the world. Many of them have been trafficked by human traders who lured them with promises of jobs. Many are children made to work long hours in dangerous conditions. Many are held against their will as sex slaves, forced into prostitution. Many have been deceived into taking on “debts” that they are then forced to pay by working in unending cycles of bonded labor agreements. Freed slaves tell horror stories of inhumane conditions on boats, farms and factories where many die and others are beaten, injured and given barely enough food or water to live.
How You Can Help: Organizations like International Justice Mission, AntiSlavery.org, the End It Movement and Free the Slaves all offer ways you can get involved through financial support and political action to end modern-day slavery.
The European Migrant Crisis
This year alone, more than 2,500 people have died attempting to flee violence in North Africa, the Middle East and the Syrian Civil War on their way to safety in Europe. Last week, the bodies of 71 migrants—four of whom were children—turned up in the back of a truck, abandoned on the side of a highway in Hungary. Many of those attempting to flee fall victim to human traffickers who load refugees into dangerous boats and trucks, resulting in thousands of deaths and at-sea rescues. Thousands are fleeing violence and desperate refugee camps with no place to go.
How You Can Help: While leaders from the EU plan to meet later this month and discuss the crisis, for now, there remain few easy political solutions. However, there are humanitarian organizations assisting those in need. Save the Children, the Migrant Offshore Aid Station and World Vision are among the organizations offering relief to Syrian refugees and migrants attempting to flee to Europe.
The Death Penalty
Though more and more states have banned capital punishment, the United States is still among the leading countries in the world when it comes to state-sponsored executions and death sentences. Increasing concerns about the drugs used in lethal injections have brought the issue back into the national spotlight following several botched executions, though the practice still remains legal. Also concerning is the record number of exonerations of inmates who were wrongfully convicted—some of whom were on death row.
How You Can Help: The National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty offers resources on how to make your voice known politically, and groups like the Innocence Project are in constant need of support as they provide legal assistance to inmates wrongfully convicted of committing crimes.
The Fight Against Systemic Racism
America is still waking up to the ways that racism has embedded itself into our social and cultural systems in ways that go far beyond ethnic slurs and “Whites Only” seating. Disparities in the justice, healthcare and education systems were built into the foundations years ago, and the U.S. has been resistant to deliberately removing the toxic materials in these structures. The cost has been high and has mostly been extracted via Black lives, resulting in an overall disparity in life expectancy in the U.S. For white men and women, it’s about 77 years and 81 years respectively. For Black men and women, it’s 72 and 78 years.
How You Can Help: The conversation around racism has been unavoidable for the last few years, but real action remains scarce. If you want to get involved beyond social media debates, there are plenty of groups doing on-the-ground work who could use your donations.
According to the World Health Organization, preventable diseases spread because of a lack of access to clean water kill more people than war. And, as charity:water notes, of the 30,000 people who die every single week from drinking unclean water and not having access to hygienic conditions, 90 percent are young children.
In an era when so many Christians have access to wealth and resources, this a major problem. Providing clean water to people in need not only saves thousands of lives by helping eliminate water-borne illnesses, it also helps communities economically by freeing up resources and time.
Jesse Carey is a mainstay on the weekly RELEVANT Podcast and member of RELEVANT's executive board. He lives in Virginia Beach with his wife and two kids.