Pro-Life Outside The Mainstream

The March for Life in Washington, D.C. embodied the pro-life movement’s annual commitment to renew the fight against public policy and cultural attitudes that undermine and violate the sanctity of human life. This, for some, is not always the most pleasant experience.

A friend of mine who traveled to Washington, D.C. attended a pro-life student conference where the primary focus of the discussion was the future of the conservative movement in the wake of the current Democratic administration and Congress. My friend, Joseph, who is very lost in the world of politics did not care, nor could he fathom why at a pro-life conference the discussion could not drift away from advocating for lower taxes, tighter national security, and “less government in our lives.” He emphatically claimed that he “did not care about those things.” He would rather discuss, staying on topic, what can be done to promote a culture of life and to end the horror of abortion.

This altogether reminded me of the Texas Right to Life Gala back in October 2009. It was literally a Republican banquet, with the politicians present scoring points and boasting their rhetoric. The keynote speaker talked about supporting small businesses, lower taxes, opposing big government, the problems of “the welfare state,” national security, and a host of other traditionally-conservative concerns. Abortion was most certainly mentioned and only discussed within the greater picture of why less government is good, but it (abortion) and other life issues were not the focus at all. In fact, the keynote speech was about the evils of liberalism and why we should fight it by supporting the Republican Party. Suffice to say, I did not enjoy the event at all. It was designed for conservatives and this, in my view, is not good for the pro-life movement.

In the minds of many Americans, it is a certain kind of individual who opposes abortion. Surely such a person is a political conservative, possibly a misogynist who abhors the term “feminist,” probably a proponent of the death penalty, and almost certainly a single-issue voter who is totally unconcerned about other social issues and only focuses on making abortion illegal.

This false perception has made an impact on the public debate about abortion. To be sure, the electoral dynamics of abortion are more complicated than the numbers suggest. Most voters do not consider abortion one of their top issues, but a candidate’s position may still have a great influence on their view of him. They may, for example, associate the pro-life position with intolerance. On the other hand, they may associate it with family values. Given the one-dimensional shape of American politics (politicians who are pro-life, for example, are more likely to be anti-tax and pro-defense spending) they may associate it with all kinds of things they like or dislike without any further substantial, in-depth analysis of that candidate.

This misconception, a barrier to progress, in my view, can and must be eradicated. The pro-life movement is not as monolithic as people assume or even as much as its visible leaders state that it is. Feminists for Life is a non-sectarian, non-partisan organization of Americans who believe that abortion is a symptom of a social failure to meet the needs of women (“Refuse to Choose: Women Deserve Better Than Abortion” and “Peace Begins In The Womb” are their principal slogans). The pro-life feminist perspective is contrary to that of the stereotypical assumption that the pro-life position is pit against women’s rights.

The anti-euthanasia activists Not Dead Yet don’t even employ the pro-life label, but rather see themselves promoting a positive view of disability, that it is still a live very much worth living, contrary to the popular sentiment to view a life with disability as a fate worse than death. Such advocacy groups often teach us that it is often societal attitudes and failures, rather than disabling conditions themselves, which causes the problems for disabled people, which prompt those with misplaced compassion to advocate euthanasia.

Mostly surely the Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians (“Human rights start when human life begins”) perplex those fighting in the trenches of America’s culture wars just by their existence. The same is true of the Pro-Life League of Atheists and Agnostics. Libertarians for Life contradict the Libertarian Party’s platform that argues that a woman’s choice to have an abortion is not the concern of the State; indeed, pro-life libertarians argue quite the contrary.

A recently emerged group Secular Pro-Life (“Pro-life for a reason”) seeks to take the pro-life movement “beyond the cathedral walls” and present the pro-life case, while respecting and including religious people, in non-sectarian terms. The group is for those who believe abortion violates a constitutional right to life, science shows human life begins at conception, abortion hurts women, and are eager to save lives and fight the false media portrayal that all pro-life Americans are “religious extremists.” Beyond the ardent fundamentalist evangelical Christians, this would strike so-called secularists as unfathomable. How can someone oppose “choice” for secular reasons?

The group most important to contradicting mainstream presumption, in my view, are pro-life Democrats. The progressive liberalism dominating the Democratic Party, which includes a rigid litmus test for being “pro-choice,” is a formidable challenge for the pro-life movement, not to mention, an extreme political calculation on the part of Democrats. The conventional political assumption that people who have pro-life views on abortion are “conservative” is nonsense. If the Democratic Party wants to be successful, it will have to accommodate those with diverse views on this issue.

If the pro-life movement wants to be successful, non-Democratic pro-life Americans will have to be, somewhat, reasonably less suspicious and hostile with their pro-life allies that are not committed conservatives nor Republicans. In fact, more support from the broader pro-life movement would be a great start.

Pro-life Democrats, on the other hand, can help by doing two things. The first is undoubtedly being more bold and courageous on behalf of the voiceless. The second is an intellectual point. Pro-life Democrats do not always acknowledge that there are, perhaps, legitimate reasons besides avarice and insensitivity to prefer private-sector solutions to social problems. In other words, every budget cut to a social program is not in and of itself “anti-life,” just as though it were a vote to make murder legal. If this were not true, we would be obligated to increase public health and welfare budgets ad infinitum. The disagreement is over the most effective means for accomplishing a task, therefore, the debate should be about policy not the intentions of the other side; though, this should not be taken as a suggestion that the “other side” is much better in this regard.

The greater purpose of pro-life Democrats beyond fighting for the sanctity of human life, can and must be a saving grace for the Democratic Party. For decades the Democratic Party dominated the federal government and beginning in the 1970s, it began to lose many of its members and pro-life Democrats, in their unique experience of the party, know why. The Democratic Party for decades was defined by its economic and foreign policy agenda with members of the party having diverse opinion on various social issues of the day. Now the Democratic Party is the opposite: a social liberal party with diverse economic views. It is with this new trend that the Democrats are politically doomed precisely because the party has chosen to define itself by its social liberalism. The opposite strategy, I find, is better for the party and for the country.

To the greater point: such pro-life groups, no matter how small or different, serve the great purpose of bringing the pro-life perspective to people who, for a number of reasons, might otherwise be predisposed against it. If the pro-life movement is to succeed then there will have to be room for disagreement about other political matters so that it a broad consensus may be forged.

48 Responses to Pro-Life Outside The Mainstream

  • Eric, I couldn’t agree more. I am a traditional Catholic and a fairly staunch conservative as well. Yet, I think it’s so vitally important to welcome everyone who stands for life regardless of other areas in which we may disagree. Abortion is NOT a religious issue. It’s not a conservative issue. It’s a human issue. We don’t need faith to tell us that abortion is wrong (though of course the Catholic faith does confirm and give depth to what reason tells us). I was at the March for Life in DC this year and I was proud to see the “atheists for life” and the “GLBT for life” groups there. I also marched w/ my “Pro-Life Democratic” friend. Whatever differences we may have on other social or policy issues, we need to stand together against the horror being committed against our fellow humans. I also agree about the importance of Democrats for Life. I so admire Bart Stupak. I didn’t want this version of healthcare reform (and still don’t), but he stood firm on his principles and I can never fault him for that.

    Great Post.

  • The base of the pro-life movement in this country is among social conservatives, and they are usually political conservatives. That being said most polls also indicate that the pro-life movement is a growing movement. I have always celebrated pro-lifers of all stripes, for example Nat Hentoff, a man of the Left, and the late Governor Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, a true hero in my book. Anyone who wishes to fight peacefully for the right to life of unborn children is welcome in the struggle.

  • Good article. CT, so glad to hear that the atheists and GLBT pro-life groups were at the March.

  • I am new to the Pro-life movement and this is so encouraging to hear that there are many of us who are not necessarily political conservatives on every issue – we need people involved from every spectrum of society – I have been talking to my friends who most definitely liberals about this issues now for some months and some have moved (with Gods help)their positions more in line with pro-life views – we discuss it without rancor so I know its possible for people to see and understand what I call the “logic of life” no matter what their politics are…

  • Abortion is a symptom of our culture separating sex from reproduction. As such, the GLBT pro-life movement will always be marked with an inherent incoherence.

  • Also, I think it’s worth noting that the phenomena you observed often tend to be associated with most (but not all) of the “Right to Life” organizations–many of whom seem to have an interesting arrangement where the Republican Party offers them lip service (and thus a sense of credibility), and the orgs get the politicians elected.

    Spend some time with other pro-life orgs (ALL affiliates, Knights of Columbus, 40 Days for Life, etc.), and I think you’d get a difference picture.

  • Steve I couldn’t agree more – “GLBT pro-life” is an oxymoron.

  • I don’t think anyone suggested whether anyone’s philosophy is coherent — the point is, we’re not going to end the horror of abortion in our society if those who are pro-life divide themselves over issues that we need not fight over as a movement because a house divided against itself will fall and the abortion advocates will triumph.

    The political pro-life movement is not about conservative or liberal ideology; indeed, it is not even about being Christian. It is about advocating the sanctity of life in our culture and in public policy and that can be done and advocated from a number of perspectives. This does not legitimatize or make each worldview equal, but it is good pragmatically speaking.

  • Exactly. Steve, I completely agree that abortion is a symptom of separating sex from reproduction. I think our culture has MANY MANY problems to address. But I have also personally met people who firmly support access to non-abortifacient contraceptives and are firmly on board w/ all kinds of open sexual practices but to their core believe that abortion should never ever be an option available for a pregnancy that results. Though they live their lives in a way I believe is spiritually destructive in other ways, I also believe that people who start from a position of taking human life seriously are often people of good faith who can be open to discussions on other matters at other times. I speak on an individual level as I don’t know anything about these groups on a bigger political level – What you say about how they operate in practice may well be true. But I say anyone who truly values life from the moment of conception to natural death, for whatever reason, is someone who can help this movement b/c they bring in different demographics and show how universal this fight really is.

  • Abortion is a symptom of our culture separating sex from reproduction.

    Steve I couldn’t agree more – “GLBT pro-life” is an oxymoron.

    Then Protestant pro-lifer should also be an oxymoron since they use contraception.

  • I agree with this post. I, a pro-lifer, would more likely trust a radical feminist with my kids than an abortion clinic picketer. There’s a serious PR problem.

    We need liberal pro-lifers. Watching the movie, Lake of Fire, I got the impression that segments of liberal academia can be turned pro-life, or at least, less committed to the pro-choice movement and they could have a huge impact. It’s not hard to find pro-choice law professors who’ll admit that Roe v. Wade is difficult to defend (e.g., Richard Posner). Imagine Noam Chomsky writing a book defending the unborn or Erwin Chemerinsky submitting an amicus brief in favor of overturning Roe. Outside of the Democratic leadership, nobody else would have a greater impact.

  • Restrained Radical: As a regular abortion mill picketer, I think it’s pretty clear that you have not spent much time among the vast majority of us.

    But I think you’ve hit on a key reason why there is not unity among the pro-life movement: Too many pro-lifers are embarrassed to be pro-life. They say, “I’m pro-life, but I’m not one of THOSE pro-lifers.” Anyone who has spent any degree of time among movements like 40 Days for Life could never believe that we’re a bunch of bomb-chucking lunatics.

  • I suppose I could see how it seems kooky to some that someone would take a couple hours out their life to stand in front of an abortion clinic praying the Rosary and trying to convince women not to follow through on their intentions. I’m just saddened that people who should get it, don’t.

  • I admit that my view of picketers (those actually holding picket signs, not just praying or handing out pamphlets) is informed entirely by TV and they scare me. But I’m generally scared by a rally of rural white men. So maybe I’m a victim of pro-choice propaganda but it just goes to show how widespread that negative association is.

  • You should join protestors outside of an abortion clinic restrainedradical. I believe you will find a wide variety of people. As a rural white man, with an admixture of Cherokee blood, I would note that you have nothing to fear from the vast majority of us unless you tear through one of our peaceful hamlets going 50 over the speed limit! Then Barney might be allowed to take out the bullet from his shirt pocket!

  • “I, a pro-lifer, would more likely trust a radical feminist with my kids than an abortion clinic picketer.”

    This statement is proof that, for all their protestations that they are, indeed, “pro-life”, many pro-lifers on the left just feel more at home with their radical death-cult brethren than they do with pro-lifers who actually walk the walk (for the record, I’ve never picketed an abortion mill before, but I have the utmost respect for those who do so).

    To get back to the theme of this post, I think it is a terrible shame the extent to which the pro-life movement has been co-opted by conservatives in general and the GOP in particular. I am a member of no party, and I resent being told that, as a pro-lifer, I have to just suck it up and vote for whomever the GOP puts out there.

    But, on the other hand, let’s face it: to the extent you wish to put your pro-life beliefs into political practice, conservatism (and, to a certain extent, the GOP) is the only game in town. And that’s nobody’s fault but the Democrat Party and those who support that party. Hopefully, the recent heroic actions of Congressman Stupak and other pro-life Democrats in the House will lead to a seismic shift in the party; but, in the meantime, we’re stuck with one party who at least pays lip service to the pro-life cause, and another party who is diametrically opposed to protecting the unborn.

    Here is what the Republican Party Platform says about abortion:

    http://www.ontheissues.org/Celeb/Republican_Party_Abortion.htm

    In contrast, here is what the Democrat Party Platform says about abortion:

    “The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v Wade and a woman’s right to choose a safe and legal abortion [ED: what happened to "rare"], regardless of ability to pay, and we oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right.”

    http://www.ontheissues.org/Celeb/Democratic_Party_Abortion.htm

    Note the emphasis on “regardless of ability to pay” – THAT is why the Democrats would rather see health care crash and burn than agree to the Stupak language. You know what’s almost as sad? Many pro-life Democrats reading this will be more troubled by my leaving two letters – “ic” – off of their party’s official name than they will be by what their own party’s platform says about that party’s disregard for the life of the unborn.

  • for all their protestations that they are, indeed, “pro-life”, many pro-lifers on the left just feel more at home with their radical death-cult brethren than they do with pro-lifers who actually walk the walk

    The pro-life movement isn’t some kind of social club. It’s not about wanting to be friends with a certain type of person (God help us if it comes to that).

  • Who said anything about a “social club”? Do you think the folks out their picketing abortion mills are doing it for their social status?

    What? So that their fellow self-proclaimed “pro-lifers” can hold them less trustworthy with children than radical pro-aborts?

    Yeah, that must be it.

  • “I admit that my view of picketers (those actually holding picket signs, not just praying or handing out pamphlets) is informed entirely by TV and they scare me. But I’m generally scared by a rally of rural white men. So maybe I’m a victim of pro-choice propaganda but it just goes to show how widespread that negative association is.”

    You know, a year ago yesterday we had a pro-life rally that culminated with a march to a proposed late-term abortion center here in Madison. There were only about 60 who counter-protested–largely members of the campus international socialist organization with a few 60s retreads thrown in.

    The mainstream media reported that hundreds from each side showed up and ran a front page photo that appeared to be a pro-lifer and a socialist screaming at each other. Only if you were present did you know that the pro-life man was singing the Divine Mercy Chaplet while the socialist screamed profanity at him. Whether it be this rally, the March for Life a couple weeks ago, or any other pro-life event, the media coverage is not just biased, but fraudulent. You’ll know you’re dealing with dishonest coverage by the camera shots that are used. A tight, close-up shot means they want to make it look as though both sides are equally represented when a wider shot would reveal thousands of pro-lifers.

    Shame on you for buying into the pro-abort rhetoric. The overwhelming majority of people praying and picketing clinics are quiet, non-confrontational people who would rather be ANYWHERE else. They only come because they feel compelled to do SOMETHING to stop the slaughter.

    I’d even go so far as to say that our biggest challenge in the pro-life movement is not the pro-aborts themselves, but the self-proclaimed pro-lifers who are embarrassed to be associated with those of us actually getting things done on the streets.

  • By the way, Eric, good post. I started out writing to agree with you about the co-option of the pro-life movement and found myself getting distracted by a comment negatively contrasting pro-life picketers to radical pro-abortion feminists.

    I agree with you that tax policy, foreign policy, etc. have no place at a rally in support of the rights of the unborn. To the extent such programs are on the agenda, it is a leading indicator of the extent to which the more politicized pro-life organizations scuh as NRLC have been co-opted by the GOP.

    And I agree with Steve that you don’t see the same sort of politicized agenda nonsense from the other pro-life organizations he listed.

  • Jay,

    You’re the one that defined the issue in terms of the kind of people you feel more at home with.

  • Excuse me? I said nothing about whom I feel more at home with. That’s just a spin you decided to add in order to do a little chest thumping.

    In fact, you conveniently edited out the portion of my comment that would have excluded the particular “interpretation” you gave to my comment.

  • Sadly, there are a great many pro-lifers who cannot see that they are elevating prudential issues to the category of non-negotiable (just as liberal Catholics do).

    I recently got into a debate on Jill Stanek’s blog where her commenters continued to defend John Stossel, even after I pointed out that he is pro-abortion. The same who rightly blasted the Kennedy funeral were using the same broken logic because it suited their political interests.

  • Excuse me? I said nothing about whom I feel more at home with. That’s just a spin you decided to add in order to do a little chest thumping.

    Let me quote you:

    for all their protestations that they are, indeed, “pro-life”, many pro-lifers on the left just feel more at home with their radical death-cult brethren than they do with pro-lifers who actually walk the walk

    “At home” is your language.

  • I voted in 2000 for George Bush II, precisely because I had “converted from pro-choice to pro-life. I also voted for some other “prolife” conservatives. The rhetoric of certain prolife organization that there was no more important issue made sense to me. However, after certain “lesser races” I got the sense that the power brokers in the GOP are consciously pursuing a policy of giving prolifers less and less. They have different priorities.

    Reading now some of the policies of earlier GOP administrations on population policy I am now certain that prolifers are being used. I know other prolifers who will likely never vote GOP again for just that reason.

    I would love nothing better than to see each pro-life subgroup fighting for the primacy of human life in whatever part of the political spectrum its members happen to inhabit.

  • “At home” is your language.

    And to whom does that refer? NOT ME.

    I quote RestrainedRadical:

    “I, a pro-lifer, would more likely trust a radical feminist with my kids than an abortion clinic picketer.”

    Trusting someone with one’s kids seems to me to indicate that one feels more “at home” with that person.

    I quote RestrainedRadical again:

    “I admit that my view of picketers (those actually holding picket signs, not just praying or handing out pamphlets) is informed entirely by TV and they scare me. But I’m generally scared by a rally of rural white men.”

    Again, the person quoted evinces a level of insecurity and discomfort about being around a different set of people … i.e. RestrainedRadical doesn’t feel so “at home” among those who protest outside abortion mills.

    I really don’t get what your point is, Blackadder. If there was something particularly offensive about using the term “at home” to describe RestrainedRadical’s having a higher comfort level with “radical feminists” watching his or her kids as opposed to pro-life picketers, then I am open to another less “offensive” rendering.

    But, again, you decided to spin this about whom I felt most “at home” with, when I never expressed any particular preference regarding myself. Is it the fact that I stated that the maligned picketers were “walking the walk” that you find offensive? Well, aren’t they “walking the walk”. Both figuratively and literally?

    And how you chose to spin that as my wanting to exclude others from the alleged “social club” when I had specifically excluded myself from it by noting that I had never picketed outside an abortion mill, is something of a marvel. (And, again, what social “status” might be gained by being part of said “social club” is beyond me.)

    The only purpose of my comment was to defend a group of people that I admire and find heroic from a pernicious comparison to radical pro-abortion feminists (in which the radical feminists came out as the more upstanding – i.e. more trustworthy with children – of the two groups). That you chose to spin it otherwise is a reflection upon your own need for … whatever point it is you’re trying to make, not upon my choice of words in defense of that group.

  • I think this is a good and important article, Eric. While there are reasons that the pro-life movement find the majority of its supporters among social (and by overlap also economic) conservatives right now in the US, and although I think that social conservatism (rightly defined) is desperately needed in the US, I don’t think it’s doing the cause of the unborn a favor when conservatives make it seem like being against abortion is a “conservatives only” club. I also (have beeing accused of not caring about life one too many times in the last week) really appreciate your point to other pro-life progressives that mis-representing conservatives views in an effort to make the claim that the only true pro-lifers are progressive is also a massive disservice to the movement and to the unborn. Thanks.

    Steve,

    I agree with you that a large part of what makes abortion seem like a good idea to people is that the separation of sex and reproduction in people’s minds makes people feel like, “It’s not fair if I got pregnant while using birth control — I deserve an out from being pregnant,” but at the same time, it seems to me that if people with divergent views on other moral and philosophical issues can be brought together to agree that abortion is wrong and should not be allowed, that is a good enough start.

    Indeed, I think it’s reasonable to hope that opposing abortion would lead people to greater truth about the human person and morality on other fronts. (For example, the blogger Raving Atheist turned around and became the Raving Theist after a couple years of being a pro-life atheist.)

  • Jay,

    I was using ‘you’ as a plural. If it makes my meaning more clear, substitute the word ‘one’ for ‘you': You’re the one that defined the issue in terms of the kind of people one feels more at home with.

  • Fine. Then pick whatever other term you would use to describe one’s being more comfortable with one set of people than with another (as indicated by one’s preference for allowing Group A to be around one’s children over Group B) and feel free to substitute that term for “at home with”.

    But, again, I fail to see how my description of what the commenter seemed to be saying evidenced a prescription on my part to exclude anyone from any “social club”. It was the commenter to whom I was responding that seemed to be saying “I don’t want to be associated with THAT SORT of pro-lifer”.

  • The original comment from restraintedradical rubbed me the wrong way as well. I don’t decide who watches my kids based on ideology, I do it based on who I know personally and trust. And so saying that one would be more inclined to leave one’s kids with a radical feminist than with a pro-life protester seems an awful lot like saying that pro-lifers as a group are more dangerous and untrustworthy as a group than radical feminists.

    However, I suppose one could take RR’s orginal comment as basically saying, “Pro-lifers as a group look culturally foreign (conservative) to a significant fraction of the country (of which RR is a part) and so people are naturally suspicious of them. Having liberal pro-lifers as well would thus be a big PR plus.”

    If one is in the spot of seeing “radical feminism” as mostly having good things to say, while having issues like abortion wrong, maybe RR’s comment makes a lot of sense. Sitting where it seems to me that “radical feminism” (as I would tend to use the term) has nearly everything wrong, it seems a pretty foreign statement to me.

    But, to each his own, as the old lady said, as she kissed the cow.

  • Jay,

    My problem wasn’t with your terminology, but with the sentiment expressed. Being pro-life is not a matter of being more comfortable around certain types of people rather than others.

  • It is true that separating sex from procreation is at the root of abortion, but it is not completely arbitrary to draw a line at abortion. Sure, it is not as coherent logically. Sort of like saying I prefer to treat the symptoms, not the cause. But at least they are willing to treat the symptom.

  • Again, you’re reading something into my comment that was not there.

    Otherwise, if you still object to the sentiment expressed in my comment, then I can only conclude that what you find fault with is someone defending pro-life picketers against those who deem them less savory and less trustworthy than radical feminists.

    That’s fine. As Darwin said, to each his own. Interesting, though, to note which comment you found more offensive/troubling.

  • And, for the record, my initial comment NEVER said that one needed to associate with clinic protesters (or people otherwise engaged in “approved” pro-life activities) or not associate with “radical feminists” (or people otherwise engaged in pro-choice activities) in order to be sufficiently “pro-life”.

    But I would hope that anyone calling oneself “pro-life” would not attack others who have been out front in the cause (especially a blanket attack that implicates everyone picketing in front of a clinic) as being less savory characters than those who are out front in the effort to keep abortion legal.

  • Being pro-life is not a matter of being more comfortable around certain types of people rather than others.

    Right on, but then the question is why to aim that comment at Jay, who was likewise condemning the phenomenon wherein certain pro-lifers are always trying to distance themselves from those that they’re not comfortable with.

  • I’m glad I’m not the only one that was rather disenchanted by the Texas Right to Life Gala. I personally have nothing against Michelle Malkin, but I felt like her keynote speech was the low-light of the evening.

  • We had a similar (though not as egregious) problem when another local pro-life organization had Laura Ingram in as a speaker a couple years ago. While the talk was primarily about life issues, the overall talk was just too partisan in orientation (in a wider GOP vs. Dems sense) to be appropriate for a pro-life event.

    My wife provided them with that feedback afterwards, and the woman she talked to said she’d received a lot of comments along those lines.

  • Baron, you must have read my mind.

  • This statement is proof that, for all their protestations that they are, indeed, “pro-life”, many pro-lifers on the left just feel more at home with their radical death-cult brethren than they do with pro-lifers who actually walk the walk (for the record, I’ve never picketed an abortion mill before, but I have the utmost respect for those who do so).

    The same could probably be said of the late Bob Casey.

    And, for the record, my initial comment NEVER said that one needed to associate with clinic protesters (or people otherwise engaged in “approved” pro-life activities) or not associate with “radical feminists” (or people otherwise engaged in pro-choice activities) in order to be sufficiently “pro-life”.

    Why the “pro-life” in quotes whenever you talk about me?

    However, I suppose one could take RR’s orginal comment as basically saying, “Pro-lifers as a group look culturally foreign (conservative) to a significant fraction of the country (of which RR is a part) and so people are naturally suspicious of them. Having liberal pro-lifers as well would thus be a big PR plus.”

    Exactly. Just as a pro-lifer on the right would probably trust pro-choice Laura Bush before a gay atheist pro-life black man.

    Just take my original comment to mean that the pro-life movement (especially the on-the-ground activists) has a serious image problem that leaves a large segment of the population suspicious of them. Yes, it’s my fault for buying into that image but let me be an example of how widespread the problem is and how large of an impediment it is.

  • Restrained Radical: Why are you blaming the pro-life movement for the lies that are told about it?

  • When did I blame the pro-life movement for what lies?

  • I’ve been involved in the pro-life movement a long time, and I’ve met a lot of wonderful people in it. I’ve also met some people who were weird or creepy or (more often) just plain boring. I’ve also met a lot of people who are pro-choice but who are charming and with whom I share a lot of non-political interests. Indeed, in many cases I’d go so far as to say that I have more in common with a lot of pro-choice people I know than with a lot of pro-lifers, our political disagreements notwithstanding. Maybe that’s my fault. The point is that this doesn’t really bear on the question of whether or not I’m pro-life. Being pro-life is not inconsistent with thinking that certain pro-lifers are weird or creepy or boring. It’s just not. And while I can understand the impulse to speak up in defense of clinic protesters, to suggest that someone isn’t really pro-life if he isn’t more comfortable around one type of person rather than another is, I think, wrongheaded.

  • to suggest that someone isn’t really pro-life if he isn’t more comfortable around one type of person rather than another is, I think, wrongheaded.

    What Jay actually said.

    And, for the record, my initial comment NEVER said that one needed to associate with clinic protesters (or people otherwise engaged in “approved” pro-life activities) or not associate with “radical feminists” (or people otherwise engaged in pro-choice activities) in order to be sufficiently “pro-life”.

    But I would hope that anyone calling oneself “pro-life” would not attack others who have been out front in the cause (especially a blanket attack that implicates everyone picketing in front of a clinic) as being less savory characters than those who are out front in the effort to keep abortion legal.

    It’s called reading comprehension. Look into it.

  • Here’s Jay:

    for all their protestations that they are, indeed, “pro-life”, many pro-lifers on the left just feel more at home with their radical death-cult brethren than they do with pro-lifers who actually walk the walk

    Here’s BA:

    to suggest that someone isn’t really pro-life if he isn’t more comfortable around one type of person rather than another is, I think, wrongheaded.

    Jay may not have intended (in fact I’m sure he didn’t) that his comment came across the way it did to BA, but BA’s interpretation and criticism above is certainly reasonable. We all write comments hastily at times, and I expect that the attitude BA criticizes is not how Jay wished to be understood. But I don’t think anything about this previously civil exchange merits condescending comments about ‘looking into’ ‘reading comprehension’.

  • I believe and have said many times that the pro-life movement MUST become bipartisan or even multi-partisan (Libertarians, Greens, etc.) if it is to have the greatest effectiveness.

    Supporting and electing pro-life Democrats, and establishing a pro-life presence in the Democratic Party, should be a major if not top POLITICAL priority for the pro-life movement… I’d say equal to if not greater than getting the “right” justices on the Supreme Court. (And I say that as a Republican). It will enable pro-life measures to ride out the inevitable swings in public opinion that occur as each party passes in and out of power. The pro-life movement should NOT put all its political eggs in one basket (conservative wing of the GOP). Anyone who doubts that, I have just one word for them: Stupak :-)

  • I long ago clarified my comments in a manner that would preclude Blackadder’s interpretation. That he continues to beat this dead horse by still reading something into my comment that was not there (and even if, arguably, I was imprecise enough to allow for his mistaken interpretation, it should be obvious by now that my intended meaning was not that ascribed by Blackader) just confirms for me that he’s more interested in chest thumping and making some point at my expense that I doubt anyone posting here actually disagrees with.

    As I have neither the time nor inclination to continue to beat this same dead horse, this will be my last comment on the subject. That way, Blackadder can self aggrandize and paint me as small minded to his heart’s content.

  • Elaine…Amen sister.

    Wow…just look at the power of Satan, he divides, conquers, and leads us to him with our own tongues! I have read and re-read every post on this page. I ask all of you, for the good of the fight…step out of the politics, it’s not worth our faith. “Catholic” = “Universal”. God is calling each of us to do the right thing, be still, listen, and you will hear it.

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