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POEM: Judgement Points a Finger, Compassion Lends a Hand


By Christi Ortiz

A pro-life love must be all encompassing
It must mourn for the pain of all God’s children

Whether it be the tiny infant that stirs in a woman’s belly
or a black life trapped in the belly of our prisons

Neither feels that they matter
Both are defenseless, voiceless

Do they both matter? Are both their lives sacred?
If either is, they both must be.

We cannot march for the life of the unborn
and not march for the life of the undocumented

Neither have legal rights or certificates on paper
Both but are sacred in the eyes of God

If we fight and pray to defend the life of an unborn child,
can we then turn our backs when that child is grown and poor or needy?

If we care enough for our love to rattle us to our bones In fury,
should we not care for that life at all stages, in all phases, in all colors and nationalities and creeds?

Is that life any different when it is a drift on amniotic fluid
or along the waves of death from the capsized boats of refugees

Don’t they both hunger and call out for hope and compassion?
How could we care for one and turn our backs on another?

Do the unborn’s rights and dignity disappear if they are disabled, gay, or Muslim?
Life and rights do not end at birth, they remain on both sides of the border

Both in the womb and outside, the defenseless call for our protection
They depend upon our compassionate action

We cannot honor the sanctity of life of one and ignore the needs of the other
whether they come in the form of a babe or as the poor, the refugee, the oppressed

We cannot claim the rights and dignity of some
And deny those of others

For the womb of God holds them all as precious children
We are all called to respect life even if it costs us,

even if it’s inconvenient, even if it’s not our choice, or it’s not fair,
we are called to love.

To love all, to love always.

I cannot claim that we must respect life, if I am not willing to foot the bill
Respecting life calls for courage, sacrifice, and generosity

We cannot march with judgement or closed fists or hearts or wallets
Life costs us. We must be willing to pay the cost.

Talk is cheap, but action speaks louder.
It’s easy to point a finger, it takes compassion to lend a hand.

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