Progressive Pro-Lifers?

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.


6 thoughts on “Progressive Pro-Lifers?

  1. I wonder how far this sentiment goes across denominational lines. Is this primarily a Roman Catholic thing, or is this even broader? (Even if it was a RC thing, that would still be a decent chunk of the population, I guess.)

    The RC church’s various emphases on the “social” front tends to line up with a lot of the democrats ideas in the areas besides the sexually related ones—increased focus on relieving the burdens of the poor (in ways that democrats tend to agree with), anti-death penalty, anti-war, etc.

    Of course, there are other voices on the vast RC landscape, but I’m not surprised that many RCs have a hard time going to the polls when the only issue they really break from the dems is the abortion one. What’s bewildering is why there aren’t any pro-life dems out there. Surely someone should be able to go against the party on that one issue and still be able to win an election.

  2. There are groups like Democrats for Life, but the DNC won’t link to them. There are also some pro-life Democrats around (I voted for one in Minnesota), but they have little to no voice in the national party. Which makes it all the more strange that Republicans are accused of being closed-minded. It is the Democrats who are intolerant of opposing viewpoints. The Republicans can field presidential candidates like Rudy Giuliani, but the Democrats won’t even have pro-life candidates speak.

    I think the abortion-death penalty issue is interesting. I’m anti-abortion but pro-death penalty. (Not unequivocally, but the government certainly has the right to use it.) Progressive pro-lifers usually accuse (regressive?) pro-lifers of being hypocritical on this point. But I guarantee that 99% of those who are “pro-choice” are opposed to the death penalty, so they are clearly not consistent in their application of the pro-death principle.


  3. Progressive pro-lifers are in good company… namely Darwin for his enlightened view of mankind, in terms of social vale and purpose. This leads us to Hitler who promoted the social welfare of Germans over the suffering of Jews and my favorite progressive pro-lifer biochemist Johnathan Glover which, like all “progressive pro lifers” sees human life as not a right, but rather person hood being deemed in matters of “degrees” as in who has a better life worth living. The best thing about him, is he was honest enough to make it PURELY subjective. He would say “If a pregnancy was in dager of harming the mother OR would interfere with a holiday she had planned, an abortion is both proper and expected in each case.” He’s a monster, but at least he’s an honest monster.

    The modern equivalent is the American progressive pro-lifer who will turn a blind eye on the death of an unborn child in favor of a born one. Why? Because educating a single mother has more potential of saving future abortions. In the way of Glover, she has more of a right to life because her life has been deemed as more valuable.

    Such legalism is MIND BOGGLING and dare I say 100% unchristian.

  4. I have heard this sentiment recently pop up in some of the college students at my church (technically non-denominational but baptist roots) They aren’t necessarily applying this world-view to abortion (though they might be, not sure, I haven’t asked them)

    The basic belief is this, Poverty causes sin.

    How you can read the bible (or even the first couple chapters of Genesis) and draw this conclusion I don’t know. It’s quite obvious (or so I thought) that Sin has brought about the crumbling world we see today and thusly Sin causes poverty not the other way around.

    These college students are completely focused on curing the social disease that causes sin in a means of ministry. It saddens me to see so much enthusiasm and effort put into something that will prove futile in the end.

    PS. in the end, when my husband (the new college group leader) addressed this new “doctrine” cropping up in the group by simply showing the bible the people holding this belief left the church. 😦

  5. “Sin causes poverty not the other way around.”

    I wish Kendra would have elaborated on this point. It seems completely non-nonsensical.

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