If I said that I work with homeless people six days a week, providing them with food and shelter and clothing and praying for their needs on my knees with godly fervor–but that I had no objection to those who, in pity for their plight, went hunting on the seventh day and shot them in the head to put them out of their misery, you might feel as though I am not really quite as “prolife” as a I claim to be.
Yet many people imagine that when a politican says he is only in favor of allowing Planned Parenthood to kill the right sort of babies–and only out of pity for them–he is prolife. This illustrates one of the little confusions that some people are prey to concerning the meaning of the term “prolife”.
In fact, to be prolife means to insist that you can never, under any circumstance, deliberately destroy innocent human life. That’s it. That’s all. And contrary to popular belief, it is possible to be intelligently consistent on that point. When you start saying you *can* deliberately destroy innocent life for some reason, you are no longer prolife. You are simply “anti-abortion in certain cases not inconvenient to your desire for political power.” Your mileage may vary once you start playing that game. Kurt Vorndran, for instance, chronicles one of the more grotesque spectacles in American political life of the past couple of years as “prolife” politics morphed into a Byzantine parody of itself by suffering major mission creep:
Massachusetts Citizens for Life, the state affiliate of the National Right to Life Committee, endorsed Pro-Abortion Senator Scott Brown for re-election. While Senator Brown strongly supports abortion rights, he is opposed to national health care and to campaign finance reform. His positions on those two issues was enough for the groups to look aside as to his strong pro-choice views. In reaction to the endorsement, Brown’s campaign manager denied the Senator is pro-life and released a statement from ex-LG Kerry Healey (R), a campaign spokesperson: “Scott Brown is prochoice, and has voted that way in both the State House and the US Senate. He stands in the mold of other New England Republicans like myself who are fiscally conservative and socially moderate” (Levenson, Boston Globe, 8/24).
Brown himself reacted to the endorsement by the pro-life group in stating, “I believe that Roe v. Wade is the law of the land, and that a woman should be able to make what is a very personal and difficult decision in consultation with her doctor and family. … In the Senate, I’ve backed up my words with action. I believe it is wrong that women in the military who suffer the horrible tragedy of rape currently have to pay for their own abortions. … I’ve been blessed to be surrounded by strong and ambitious women. I am a better senator for it, and I will continue to fight to advance issues important to their health, safety and equality” (Berkshire Eagle, 8/24).For Mass. Citizens for Life, none of that seems to matter, so long as the Senator opposes health care for all and campaign finance reform.