So there are those who call themselves “progressive pro-lifers.” That is, according to this article from Sojourners (where else?), they are those who are “self-described liberal[s] on nearly all issues except one: Abortion.”
Jennifer Roth is one.
When in doubt [about whom to vote for], she tends toward the Democratic Party, believing its social agenda is more likely to decrease the social and economic pressure that leads to abortion.
“I don’t think it’s an accident that the abortion rate went up under Reagan and Bush but went down under Clinton,” she says. “We have to integrate parenthood and school or parenthood and work to relieve some of the social and economic pressures that make abortion feel like the only choice.”
That’s usually how the lib–er, progressives–go about things. They see a problem (abortion), but it’s not really the problem. Poverty, or homelessness, or the lack of government funding for daycare is the real problem. What is the social pressure that leads to abortion? The only social pressure with which I’m familiar has the initials Pee-Pee.
And the economic pressure? That poor people will get more abortions? Not sure if that’s true, but we’ll grant it for the sake of the argument. Why don’t we (borrowing from James Kushiner of Touchstone) restrict abortion only to poor people? Fewer abortions and fewer poor people would pretty much solve all the problems that progressive pro-lifers have.
OVER AT THE DIOCESE of Davenport, Iowa, Dan Ebener heads up a similar social action office—and the pro-life office as well. The doubled job is not the result of budget cutbacks but rather an intentional effort by the diocese to link the pro-life issue with broader social ones.
“Catholic social teaching values the life and dignity of the human person. And you can’t separate the life and the dignity; they go together,” Ebener says. That means considering not only abortion but also poverty, health care, and joblessness.
“To me it’s important to defend life where it’s most vulnerable, and certainly life in the womb is vulnerable,” he says. “But protecting human life from abortion is only one way of protecting life in the womb.” To Ebener, issues such as prenatal health care, job training for unemployed mothers, and day care for working mothers are as essential to a pro-life agenda as is fighting abortion.
As if those who are commonly called “pro-life” are not concerned about poverty, health care, and joblessness. We just happen to think that if we cannot protect the helpless in the womb, all other concerns ring hollow. Think how this argument would go in any other arena: Yes, I’m opposed to spousal abuse, but we really should focuse more on the conditions in the home that lead to spousal abuse. If we can’t do that, we shouldn’t automatically make it a criminal offense. Or: Yes, I’m opposed to rape, but we have to address the conditions that make rape possible. Until we’ve done that, we’re not really pro-woman. Or: Yes, I’m opposed to child abuse, but until people can truly achieve the American dream, they’re going to continue beating the hell out of their children. Until we’ve eradicated poverty, we’re not truly pro-child. (Wow, I surprise myself with how much I sound like a lib–er, progressive.)
The stupidity of the argument astounds. Of course some women feel pressure to get abortions. Of course we should help assuage those pressures as much as possible (although, how do you get rid of the concern that this thing I’m carrying in my womb is going to make life a whole lot more inconvenient?). That is one grand exercise in missing the point. The point is this: is abortion murder? Then it should be criminalized, just like every other form of murder. If it’s not, then you can go about your lib–er, progressive–business and pretend you’re better than those of us who think that murdering children is a far greater crime than losing your job.
Until we can change people’s hearts and their bad circumstances (we should), the murder of children should be illegal.