Liberals misunderstand the pro-life position
By: Robert E. Meyer
In the aftermath of this year’s electoral train wreck for conservatives, my local newspaper has published a few editorial letters by people trying to offer their rejoinders to pro-life positions opposing abortion, by claiming that those who articulate pro-life positions are inconsistent. These letters usually carry a litany of monolithic talking points, which include some or all of assertions made below.
Pro-lifers are accused of only caring about the child before it is born, but forgetting about it afterward. In addition, a general apathy, or even neglect, for the gamut of human need is imputed to the pro-lifer.
Furthermore, we are told that anyone with a pro-life stance ought to be a blank-check pacifist, against state imposed capital punishment, and for expansion of government programs, particularly to include universal health care, as an example of social justice.
It should be noted that even if the arguments offered against the pro-life position were valid, pro-choice advocates have their own problems with consistency. First off, they ask pro-lifers to justify the perceived inconsistencies in their own positions, yet make no attempt do explain why they champion the positions listed above, yet still fail to stand against abortion. That sort of turns the issue of consistency on its head.
Secondly, the pro-choice moniker itself is deceptive and inaccurate, because the people who apply it to themselves are generally not philosophical libertarians, committed to the concept of maximum choice in all of life’s facets, but limit the concept to the abortion issue, and other areas that reflect a rebellion against traditional values. Where is their “choice” preference when it comes to individual volition on subjects like educational vouchers, rights to possessing weapons for self-defense, or public religious expression?
But, even at that, their objections generally have little validity because they have failed to understand the nuanced applications of the pro-life position, and in fact, are largely mistaken in their conceptual approach. Essays could be written in support of each of my following counterclaims, but I will touch on them only briefly here.
Capital punishment by the state is clearly pro-life, because it punishes the guilty perpetrator who has taken the life of an innocent person, requiring a forfeiture of life as proper restitution. It recognizes the distinction between private and public morality, asserting that in the state, the authority to take life of guilty parties is vested, while at the same time, prohibiting vigilante justice. The distinction is between guilty and innocent life, and the application of due process.
Unconditional pacifism is not pro-life because it permits the flourishing of evil by insisting that people of goodwill do nothing to forcefully oppose it. For example, imagine if we had never gotten involved in liberating the world from Nazi Germany, and Imperial Japan? Would that have been more pro-life than watching it all happen, and then complacently, taking no actions to defend our own soil and citizens, much less the world’s innocent? While many people point to a cultural icon like Gandhi as an example of a commitment to pacifism clearly succeeding, it is forgotten that his appeals worked well because, the remnant of Christian thinking in Britain culture was yet moved by such appeals.
The advocacy of benefit rights empowers the state with prerogatives that far exceed those specified in our Constitution charter. We have numerous examples of the end result of stateism. The book Death by Government, authored by R. J. Rummel illustrates how bestial governments become when they overreach their legitimate powers. Such consequences are anything but pro-life.
The accusation or innuendo that pro-lifers use the abortion issue as a political football, but then care little about human need, is a bogus claim. So many charities are based in religious objectives and spiritual mandates, that such a claim is nothing short of preposterous. I see such misguided effort as a red herring to cloak the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of the pro-choice position, which is really a “soft” expression of the pro-abortion argument.