"A movement animated by rage and fear isn’t ready to embrace life and love"
I’m seeing pro-choicers online accusing pro-lifers of not working to care for women and children. Then in response I’m seeing snarky and defensive memes from pro-lifers pointing to all the charitable work that people-lifers have done.
I grew up in the pro-life movement. I’ve been around, and been one of, the kinds of folks who pray in front of abortion clinics my entire life. Pro-lifers are some of the most personally generous people I know. They genuinely care about women and children and are willing to make real sacrifices for them.
So I don’t think the accusation that pro-lifers don’t personally care about helping women and children holds any water. However, I’m not sure that the accusation that’s being levied here and now is about personal charity.
Private charity is great. Crisis pregnancy centers are wonderful. But diapers and ultrasounds are far from enough to support women and children. We can’t keep pointing to private charity instead of working for real structural justice.
I believe abortion is a byproduct, a consequence, of an inhumane capitalistic economy that devalues anyone who isn’t profitable. A throwaway culture where, as the pope says in Fratelli Tutti:
“Ultimately, ‘persons are no longer seen as a paramount value to be cared for and respected, especially when they are poor and disabled, ‘not yet useful’ – like the unborn, or ‘no longer needed’ – like the elderly.”
Before Roe, anti-abortion activists were mostly Catholic Democrats who saw abortion as a civil rights issue. Since Roe, however, the pro-life movement deeply entrenched itself in a conservatism that is individualistic, nationalistic, and opposed to precisely the social supports that will reduce abortions like universal healthcare, extended child credits, and just wages.
For example, it’s reported that overturning Roe will likely only reduce the national abortion rate about 10-15%. This is because the states with the vast majority of abortions have very permissive state laws. 10-15% a big deal. These are real lives. But it’s also not eliminating abortion.
Now, it was also reported that Romney’s expanded child credit legislation would have reduced the abortion rate by about the same amount. Again, real lives saved.
But where was even 1/10th of the pro-life energy spent on overturning Roe at getting an extended child credit passed?
No. Where was even 1/10th of the pro-life energy spent on defending Trump at getting an extended child credit passed? A man who, for the first time in decades, was president while the abortions rates not only didn’t decline, but rose. A man whose brand is misogyny.
When I hear the accusation that pro-lifers don’t care about women and children, I’m not convinced it’s a criticism of our personal charity. I believe it’s a criticism of our integrity. And I believe they’re right. Our hypocrisy is an obstacle to real cultural change and may ultimately provoke a backlash worse that was worse the Roe.
All of this serves as an introduction to this excellent article by David French. He offers a prophetic call for pro-lifers, an invitation to sober self examination and conversion. Every paragraph is worth reading.