Republican and pro-life
Eddie Damstra | Wednesday, February 15, 2017
As I have scrolled through my Facebook feed recently, and especially directly after the March for Life, I have come across numerous similarly themed articles. The titles of these articles are some variation of “You’re not Pro-life” or “You Don’t March for Life.” The articles usually are written by some amateur blogger or a Huffington Post contributor (pardon the redundancy). They all essentially say the same thing: those involved in the pro-life movement only care about the unborn, and discard the value of life after birth. The articles are full of condemnations of Republicans, saying they should label themselves “pro-birth” or “anti-choice.” I have seen numerous of these articles circulating online, so I deemed it appropriate to respond. This is not a response to any particular article, but rather a response to the general sentiment being expressed by many pro-life opponents.
First of all, it is imperative to highlight that the pro-life movement is not politically, religiously or racially homogenous. In fact, the pro-life movement is significantly more diverse than many pro-choice advocates would like to admit. I attended the March for Life this year, and I saw secular pro-life groups, LGBT pro-life groups and feminist pro-life groups. People from varying religious, political and ethnic backgrounds gathered at the March for Life because the unifying element for the pro-life movement is the rational and moral belief in the dignity of all human life from conception until natural death. The pro-life movement is not an inherently political or religious movement, but rather a human rights movement.
While acknowledging the presence of diversity within the pro-life movement and affirming its separation from any sort of solely political ideology, I do not at all want to be disingenuous. There is certainly a significant portion of the pro-life movement that identifies politically as Republican. In fact, I would certainly fall into that category. However, many people seem to suggest that being a pro-life Republican means only caring for the unborn, and neglecting human life after birth. This argument is often made by pro-choice Democrats who wish to advance a political agenda.
It will often be said that pro-lifers, if they truly want to be pro-life, should support Democratic policies when it comes to healthcare, taxation, immigration and essentially any other political issue. The argument effectively says that you cannot truly be pro-life unless you agree with the Democratic party on practically every possible issue. This is absurd. Asserting that Republicans should not be able to label themselves “pro-life” because they do not want a $15 minimum wage or disagree with the institution of sanctuary cities is entirely ludicrous. Republicans propose certain policies for many of the same reasons Democrats propose their respective policies, aiming to better the nation. The two parties simply fundamentally disagree on how to achieve such aims.
The pro-life movement is concerned with protecting the dignity of life from conception to natural death. Surely, this means fighting for equality of all Americans, and attempting to better the quality of lives of those who are already born into this earth. However, it also means fighting for the unborn. In fact, there is no faction of human beings that are more systemically targeted and stripped of their dignity than the unborn. In 2013, 664,435 legal induced abortions were reported to the CDC in America alone. This is why the pro-life movement focuses substantial time, resources, and money towards fighting for the equality and protection of the unborn.
When opponents to the pro-life movement complain that the movement is too focused on the unborn or too concerned with overturning Roe vs. Wade, I am often dumbfounded. Why would you expect a movement devoted to saving lives to not focus a large portion of their efforts towards protecting the most marginalized sect of the American population?
The very people who seem to condemn many within the pro-life movement of not promoting a culture of life are the very people who lobby for the murderous practice of abortion. Being fiscally conservative does not disqualify you from being pro-life. Being for school choice does not disqualify you from being pro-life. Being for tax cuts does not disqualify you from being pro-life. You can unquestionably be a Republican and pro-life. The two are not at all mutually exclusive. You cannot, however, support abortion and claim to be pro-life. Such a claim is an absolute logical fallacy.