Scott Klusendorf: Five questions for pro-life candidates « Wintery …
Pro-lifer Scott Klusendorf on pro-life issues and candidate selection. (H/T Scott)
In 2008, a handful of notable pro-life evangelicals and Catholics threw their support behind a presidential candidate sworn to uphold elective abortion as a fundamental right. They argued that doing so constituted an enlightened pro-life vote that was morally superior to the narrow party politics of religious conservatives. Instead of passing laws against abortion, so the argument went, the candidate and his party would “reduce” it by addressing its underlying causes.1 True, he was mistaken on abortion, but he was right on other, important “whole-of-life” issues such as opposition to war, concern for the poor, and care for the environment. The candidate’s political strategy was simple: shrink the significance of abortion so it was more or less equal with other issues.2
It worked. Twice as many white evangelicals age eighteen through forty-four voted for Barack Obama in 2008 than voted for John Kerry in 2004. Catholics, meanwhile, supported Obama at fifty-four percent, up seven points from what they gave Kerry four years earlier. The candidate got just enough pro-life votes from these groups to tip the election his way.3
I submit that each of these alleged pro-life votes represents a profound misunderstanding of the pro-life position. The fundamental issue before us is not merely how to reduce abortion, but who counts as one of us. How we answer will determine whether embryos and fetuses enjoy the protection of law or remain candidates for the dumpster. As Francis Beckwith points out, a society that has fewer abortions but protects the legal killing of unborn humans is still deeply immoral.4 Given what’s at stake, it’s vital that pro-life Christians persuasively answer five key questions before the 2012 election
He makes 5 points in the article.
Here’s point #4:
4. Instead of passing laws against abortion, shouldn’t pro-life Christians focus on reducing its underlying causes?
First and foremost, the abortion debate turns on the question of human equality. That is, in a nation dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal, do the unborn count as members of the human family? With that fundamental question in mind, it’s unreasonable for liberals to insist that pro-lifers surrender the legal fight to focus on underlying causes. As my colleague Steve Weimar points out, this is like saying the “underlying cause” of spousal abuse is psychological, so instead of making it illegal for husbands to beat their wives, the solution is to provide counseling for men. There are “underlying causes” for rape, murder, theft, and so on, but that in no way makes it misguided to have laws banning such actions.8
Moreover, why are liberals even concerned about reducing the number of abortions in the first place? If destroying a human fetus is morally no different than cutting one’s fingernails, then who cares how many abortions there are? The reason to reduce elective abortion is that human life is unjustly taken-but if that’s the case, then restricting the practice makes perfect sense. Imagine a nineteenth-century lawmaker who said that slavery was a bad idea and we ought to reduce it, but owning slaves should remain legal. If those in power adopted his thinking, would this be a good society? True, politics isn’t a sufficient answer to injustice, but it’s certainly a necessary one. Martin Luther King, Jr., once said, “The law can’t make the white man love me, but it can stop him from lynching me.”9 Frankly, if Christians don’t think the government-sanctioned killing of unborn children merits a political response, then they not only misunderstand the moral gravity of the situation, but also their mandate to love their neighbor as themselves.
Underlying causes talk reminds me of how liberals, once in power, push contraception as a way of preventing unwanted pregnancy. The numbers from the UK show that this is like throwing gasoline on a fire – the number of abortions just goes up because contraception is not foolproof, and it just normalizes sex all the more.
Point #5 is really worth reading, but too long to excerpt here.
- Scott Klusendorf confronts a “pro-life” nun who voted for Obama
- Scott Klusendorf makes the case for protecting the unborn
- Scott Klusendorf discusses Obamacare and the pro-life cause