Abortion in America contains a great and terrible evil at its heart. It threatens the lives of children before they’re even born, steals the prosperity of a good life in an exceptional country, and tarnishes our nation’s moral center. In abortion we can see the worst of our people, those selfish and cruel impulses which may yet lead us all to ruin and decay before the eyes of God.
The true evil of abortion is the Pro-Life movement.
Since its conception, “Pro-Life” has stood as a contradiction, particularly among conservatives. At its core is a craven political hypocrisy which wields the Bible as a weapon in one hand and a pen as a weapon in the other, the first to “protect” the unborn, the second to re-write our laws to strip away the functioning principles which would truly protect the citizens of the American future. All told, the Pro-Life movement has taken countless livelihoods away from innocent people, and threatens to take many more.
There are layers to the dangers of Pro-Life advocacy. The first is political intolerance in the name of religious righteousness. Progressive issues once at the center of Catholic life in America, feeding the poor, improving education, promoting peace, all have fallen away in favor of a single issue which has inflamed their passions more than any other. Worse, it has given conservatives the position of a feigned moral superiority, the idea that they are more Christian, and therefore (in the minds of many religious citizens) more moral overall than their liberal counterparts, whose positions on other social policies sit dimly under the shadow of their stance on abortion. That abortion is not the guiding force of liberal politics but rather one in a long list of essential priorities of basic human rights is lost in this debate. For those who live and die by the single principle of Pro-Life, no other values can redeem you.
Perhaps the most intimately sad layer of Pro-Life cruelty is the divide it has created between its strictest adherents and those who do care about more than the abortion debate, who believe in their religious ideals of protecting the unborn and also of protecting the sick, the impoverished, and those already living who need every hand of help they can get. For religious progressives, Pro-Life voices often drown out those on their own side who want to do good work in other areas. That “Religious Right” is common but “Religious Left” is considered novel is an indication of the power of Pro-Life to dominate all other issues in conversations of the intersection of religion and politics.
Which, of course, leads to the root of all this evil: Political opportunists.
For decades, conservative politicians have blared the message of Pro-Life from a bullhorn. It is through the very public and visible efforts of elected officials that the issue of abortion has come to supercede other social debates in religious communities. Worse, they’ve used it as a gateway to advocate for other policies: Cracking down on non-violent drug crimes, stoking fears of Muslim immigrants, opposing universal background checks for gun purchases, and dismantling public education in favor of private schools. When abortion is the most important issue on which a person votes, they’ll support ideas they would otherwise find distasteful in order to maintain their feeling of moral righteousness.
But easily the worst swindles conservative politicians have pulled on the Pro-Life movement have come from economic policies. At the same time as they’ve elevated Pro-Life to the national standard of morality, they’ve taken every effort possible to pull the rug out from under those already born. From cutting social welfare programs to cutting taxes on the richest Americans, from opposing increases on the living wage to fighting against universal health care, from unbelievably costly wars to the deregulation of Wall Street, conservatives have trampled over the prosperity of the American poor and middle class, safe in the knowledge that as long as they stand up proudly as Pro-Life, they’ll always find support among a base who would vote against abortion rather than vote for their children and their own financial interests.
How can someone claim to be Pro-Life but support the mass incarceration and subsequent revocation of voting rights of millions of minorities? How can someone claim to be Pro-Life but oppose environmental protections which will maintain the health and safety of our planet for future generations? How can someone claim to be Pro-Life while accepting the death penalty, unrestricted sales of assault weapons, guns in our schools and hospitals and churches, the brutality of a police force who sees no oversight for its most egregious failures? How can someone claim to be Pro-Life when the lives of every American except those most privileged are diminished in value, in security, in hope?
All of this is completely independent of the values of Pro-Choice activists. It does not account for the horrific indignities women suffered in secret before abortion was legalized in this country, or the statistical fact that crime declined in America directly due to the decline in unwanted births which followed Roe v. Wade, or the argument that outlawing abortion while limiting access to contraceptives, financial assistance for working families, and paid family leave will ensure that every child born to people that can’t afford to take good care of them, to people that face health risks from childbirth, or to people who are being forced to birth a child conceived of rape will face abject poverty and a world that does not support their existence. The evils of Pro-Life are entirely their own.
This is not an imaginary issue. 21% of Americans in 2016 said they would only vote for someone who shared their views on abortion, and among those, voters who identified as Pro-Life considered the issue as being more important to their vote than did voters who identified as Pro-Choice. And religious voters, particularly Evangelicals and Catholics, voted overwhelmingly in favor of Donald Trump, a thrice-married billionaire who has “joked” about sexual assault and openly talked about wanting to date his own daughter, over Hillary Clinton, a lifelong Methodist who taught Sunday school in Arkansas and cited her religious teachings as central to her pursuit of social justice.
Abortion drove the Pro-Life movement so far away from their own interests that their religious teachings, not just their political and economic needs, were all but discarded in favor of a blind allegiance to the party of anti-abortion rhetoric.
Faith itself falters in the glare of Pro-Life. What could be more evil than that?