What “Pro-Life” Actually Means

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.
This is further illustration of my point that the *main* thing your vote affects is not the outcome of an election, but your own soul.

  • Sean O

    Scandalous. This kind of rank partisanship and political gamesmanship by a Pro-Life group can only undermine the integrity and effectiveness of the Pro-Life movement. Their calculation here was shameless.

    • Confederate Papist

      Shameless…agreed.

      Are there any real pro-life people left in Massachusetts? Are there any Catholics left there?

      This is one of the many millions of reasons why I burnt my GOP card back in 2006.

      • http://agapas.me Bob LeBlanc

        “Are there any real pro-life people left in Massachusetts? ”

        Yes

        “Are there any Catholics left there?”

        Yes, but the number of nominal Catholics is deceiving. Just this past Saturday, I heard my first homily which said that Catholics may not be Cafeteria Catholics and may not pick and choose the teachings we believe and obey.

        • Confederate Papist

          Thanks Bob. I am praying for Massachusetts Catholics to come back to Christ.

      • Irenist

        Three very orthodox seminarians I know found their vocations through discernment at the UMass Amherst Newman Center just in the one year or so I went to Mass there. Good things are happening in Massachusetts, thank God.

        • Confederate Papist

          I pray they continue and spread like wildfire throughout the region.

      • Andy, Bad Person

        Recent episcopal appointments in Massachusetts have been very solid. Bishop McManus in Worcester has, in my experience, done quite a bit to fight the good fight in hostile territory. Pray for our bishops!

      • http://www.tasteandsee2.blogspot.com/ Kathleen L.

        Yes, yes, yes, there are Catholics in Massachusetts, even conservative, traditional, orthodox Catholics. And please, do send us your prayers. +

  • http://gloriaromanorum.blogspot.com/ Florentius

    It’s pretty obvious that Mass Citizens for Life is a Republican money-raising front-group which has very little interest in promoting life anymore–if it ever did. It’s purpose is to transfer money from the purses of pious old ladies and gents to the Stupid Party’s candidate du jour.

  • A Philosopher

    There’s that “innocent” creeping in again. Wouldn’t the true pro-life position be “no deliberate destruction of human life” simpliciter?

    • Scott W.

      Pro-life is convenient short-hand rather than some kind of virtue. It is important to not try to turn a label into an essence. In short:

      Abortion is always and everywhere evil.
      Lethal force against an unjust attacker is not evil in and of itself.

      The Church does not, and has never mandated absolute pacifism.

      • Ted Seeber

        Open up a hole for self-defense, and you open up a logical hole for those who believe that pregnancy is a death sentence and that the fetus is a murderer.

        Yes, the Church does not condemn self defense- but martyrs who choose to, in their heroic virtue, go willingly to the gallows are held up as Saints.

        • Richard Johnson

          You also open up the hole that death penalty advocates use to defend an indefensible system. Thus the insistence on the term “innocent” since, in the mind of many of these people, if you are tried for the crime you must be guilty.

        • Scott W.

          While it may open up a rhetorical hole for sophists, it doesn’t open up an ethical loop hole. The truth is the truth: abortion is intrinsically evil, self defense is not. The death penalty is not.

          • Richard Johnson

            “The death penalty is not.”

            When it takes the life of an innocent, what then? Are those innocent lives not worth protecting because they are outside the womb?

            • Scott W.

              Your argument is with the Church, not with me. Here is the CCC (my emphasis)

              2267 Assuming that the guilty party’s identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.

              If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people’s safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.

              Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm – without definitely taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself – the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity “are very rare, if not practically non-existent.”

              Now I happen to believe there are few cases where the death penalty is necessary, and that the U.S. still uses it too much, but the death penalty in and of itself is not immoral the way that abortion is.

              • Richard Johnson

                “Assuming that the guilty party’s identity and responsibility have been fully determined,…”
                I believe that is the key phrase to focus upon, at least under our current faulty system of justice. However, we also have the following: “…the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity “are very rare, if not practically non-existent.”

                We go to great lengths to protect ALL innocent life with regards to abortion, including adopting such statements as that cited by Mark earlier from the Association for Pro-Life Physicians, which asserts that given modern medical technology there is never a case where abortion, the intentional and willful killing of an unborn child, is the proper course of action. Should we not go to similar lengths in our consideration of the death penalty, especially given how many innocent people have been released from death sentences once modern technology proved their innocence?

              • Joseph H. M. Ortiz

                Admittedly the Magisterium does not at present go so far as Jacques Maritain has done in stating flatly (in note 19 of Chap. XIII of his book On the Church of Christ): “In my opinion … capital punishment is in itself [‘a sin of homicide'] committed by society.” But the Catechism’s use of the hypothetical words “Assuming”, and “if,” in its non-exclusion –note, not positive inclusion — of “recourse to the death penalty”, indicates that it prescinds from, not endorses, the proposition that the death penalty may sometimes be moral.

                • Richard Johnson

                  That is true. And, with each demonstration of failure of the system (i.e., a person proven innocent long after conviction and, in a few cases, after execution), there is a growing body of evidence that the system which administers this punishment is so broken that it no longer has the moral license to resort to this punishment.

          • Ted Seeber

            Ever read Evangelium Vitae?

    • Nathaniel

      “Abortion is always and everywhere evil.”

      http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1883598,00.html

      • Scott W.

        Yes, this abortion is evil as well. The child may indeed be the product of rape and incest, but the child is still innocent and it is always wrong to deliberately kill the innocent.

        • Nathaniel

          Like killing a nine year old rape victim, because the labor, or even just the pregnancy would have ended her life.

          But never mind. Such concerns are irrelevant to the “pro-life” among us.

          • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

            Is anybody actually advocating killing nine year olds? Where do you get all that straw for your strawmen?

          • Ted Seeber

            They took the life of TWO innocents- the girl was pregnant with twins. But that’s what cesarean births are FOR- to prevent having to do an abortion.

          • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

            Wikipedia has documented cases of girls as young as 5 giving birth. The baby in that case apparently lived. So besides a straw man, your post is scientifically ignorant. Just because Time magazine says something is a scientific fact does not actually make it a scientific fact.

            For those interested, the article url:
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_youngest_birth_mothers

            • Nathaniel

              Okay, so I was wrong. In rare cases, usually with surgery, the pregnant girls are able to live.

              I must say, the compassion here is stunning. “Remember, its rapists who have the right to decide if you’re pregnant, not you.”

              • http://www.virtue-quest.com/ Robert King

                The rapist does not “decide” if his victim becomes pregnant. The pregnancy (if one occurs) is one result of the rapist’s assault, a result based on many factors besides the rape. The fact that no pregnancy (presumably) would have occurred without a rape does not mean that the rape is the only cause of the pregnancy, nor does it mean that the pregnancy is inherently evil or dangerous.

                If you consider that the pregnancy is a human person, then the fact that conception happened as a result of rape does not make that person any less human.

                Not every difficulty or suffering in life is a result of choice, nor can they all be solved by making a choice. Some parts of life need to be endured. This doesn’t make it good or pleasant to endure suffering; it just acknowledges that it is unavoidable.

                The pro-life argument here is simply, “Two wrongs don’t make a right.”

                • Nathaniel

                  Personhood is irrelevant. I am indisputably a person, yet if my kidneys were to start failing, I couldn’t take one of yours without permission, even if it meant my own death.

                  That’s the law in the US. The fact this is only disputed when it comes to situations that involve women and sex is telling.

                  And of course your post ignores the numerous rapists who rape women explicitly for the purpose of getting them pregnant. “Pro-life” people’s assistance in that matter can only boost those chances.

                  • http://creativefidelity.wordpress.com Dan F.

                    Personhood is absolutely relevant and the kidney example is a non sequiter. Killing the baby (because that’s what you are advocating) doesn’t fix the problem, it just violates the woman (yes, even if it’s her choice) all over again. (in the case of it being her choice, she is violated by the lie that killing her baby will somehow make the situation better. It won’t.)

                    • Nathaniel

                      So it violates the woman, and makes it worse, even if its their own choice.

                      So all the woman writing and saying otherwise, are they lying? Are they maintaining a decades long conspiracy for…what? Because they love murdering precious babies and want others to join them?

                      Or is it your position that they’re too stupid to know what’s good for them, and that any proclamations to the contrary can automatically be ignored?

                      And the kidney example is not a non sequiter. Your body is sovereign, and cannot be tampered with without permission. Even if that means death for other people. Even if the president himself need a blood donation, and for some reason I was the only one in the room compatible, doctors could not legally or ethically force me to give blood.

                    • Mark Shea

                      You’d give Scrooge a run for his money in sheer flint-hearted selfishness.

                    • http://www.virtue-quest.com/ Robert King

                      And the kidney example is not a non sequiter. Your body is sovereign, and cannot be tampered with without permission. Even if that means death for other people.

                      I’m really trying hard to make sense of this. Granting the sovereignty of each person’s body (which I do only for the sake of this argument, since I don’t consider it an absolute,) it seems to argue in favor of outlawing abortion since, by this reasoning, the child’s body must be considered as sovereign and inviolable as the mother’s. Unless you consider the body of the zygote=>embryo=>fetus=>baby to be something other than the body of a human being?

                      Moreover, I don’t see the parallel between kidney donation and pregnancy. How does your example – that you could not legally demand my kidney to replace yours – map onto the idea of pregnancy and the morality of abortion? Am I (or my kidney) supposed to be analogous to the child? The mother? The womb? Likewise, what do you and your kidney map to? Help me to understand the line of your reasoning here.

                    • http://rayontremblant.wordpress.com Robert

                      *Non sequitur

                      Sorry. The Latinist in me was screaming bloody murder.

              • Scott W.

                I assume you are being sarcastic with “the compassion here is stunning”. There is no dearth of it here. Doctors are always obligated to save the life of both mother and baby. It is never permissible to choose to deliberately kill one to save the other.

                • Nathaniel

                  Actually, no, they’re not. They’re obligated to try to save both if the woman in question tells them too. Otherwise their first duty is the woman carrying the fetus.

                  • Ted Seeber

                    Which is a ridiculous idea on it’s face, since there are two patients. Triage is the obvious choice- save both if you can, save the one most likely to survive if you cannot.

              • Nathaniel

                I’m not saying I would refuse. I’m saying I have the legal right to refuse. Just like Scrooge had the right to refuse to give to charity, even if it meant he was a jerk.

                • Mark Shea

                  When you champion starving and killing the poor and weak, you make it clear what your priorities are. You make the world a darker, colder place with your selfishness.

              • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

                I think it’s safe to say that there is zero sympathy for child rape on the pro-life side. After a horrific crime and sin (child rape) what do the victim and those around her do is where multiple opinions start to form. The pro-life side believes that the unborn child suffers no taint of blood, is not responsible in any way for the sins of the father, and should not be a 2nd class human being, an untermenschen, for whom it is acceptable to kill as a convenience. The pro choice side believes differently.

                Unfortunately, this category of untermenschen that are worthy of death seems to keep expanding. Nobody seems to be able to reliably contain it. They’re openly talking about legalizing infanticide among the bioethicists at this point and the pro-choice people are stunned to find that they have morally disarmed themselves and find that they have no good arguments against it that are sustainable, winning ones.

            • Ted Seeber

              5? Imagine being a great grandmother at 15…..scary.

          • Confederate Papist
            • Nathaniel

              So in other words, yes, rapists do have the right to decide if you’re pregnant.

              BTW, given the argument the woman is using, I could fire right back that I wouldn’t exist without abortion, so therefore she’s saying I shouldn’t exist.

              • http://www.pilgrimage.subcreators.com Lori Pieper

                “Your body is sovereign, and cannot be tampered with without permission.”
                Exactly what we’re saying. A human being’s right to bodily integrity IS sovereign. We’re just asking that it also be respected for unborn humans too.

                • Nathaniel

                  I can kick people out of my home even if they are starving. Women can kick people out of their bodies as well.

                  • http://www.virtue-quest.com/ Robert King

                    According to Catholic morality, no, you can’t just kick a starving person out of your house – not unless A) you feed him first, or B) he is actively and immediately trying to harm you or your family.

                    This idea is called the Universal Destination of Goods: simply, my right to private property is trumped by another’s immediate need.

                  • Nathaniel

                    I’m talking about legally. And unless you wish to start a theocracy, that’s what’s relevant here.

                    • http://www.virtue-quest.com/ Robert King

                      One doesn’t need a theocracy to ask whether something taught by one religion or another is right or wrong. Yes, legally, one can expel a starving man from one’s house, and a child from one’s womb. The Catholic Church – based at least as much on philosophical reflection as on divine revelation – claims these both are wrong.

                      The Church claims these are wrong for everybody, not because “God says so” but because they offend the inherent dignity of the human person, and they contradict the Golden Rule – held as a moral standard by every culture that I’m aware of. This is why you will find Natural Law theorists coming from all sorts of religious backgrounds, who recognize that this approach to morality is not based on Catholicism, but on the nature of the human person.

                      Since we live in a democratic republic, we should not feel bound to obey the laws whatever they be, but bound to make the laws as just and moral as we can. This is why pro-life activists argue to change the laws.

                      And, by the way, if there are areas where I would not be guilty of at least manslaughter for allowing a starving man to die, I would argue those laws ought to be changed as well.

                  • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

                    Read up on ectopic pregnancy and you might be surprised to find there is a sliver of agreement with that position within the Church. The difference is that if there is a horrific crash and a body is thrown from a car onto your property with damaged spine, you don’t have the right to kick that person out before the paramedics come, stabilize the person and move them out when it is medically safe. The Catholic position is not against early delivery, but only that early removal for convenience not be to the medical detriment of an innocent, fragile life. Today that means several months in the womb. In a future world of artificial wombs, the Church will have no moral argument against removal, and I predict will be quite satisfied at the ability to save ectopic unborn, for example.

                  • Will

                    And it is also the “extreme case” libertarians like to try on each other… if someone falls off the roof and breaks his fall by grasping my window sash, can I refuse to let him enter, or even cease his “trespass” by letting go?

                    (The answer is like is let him take the stairs down and THEN sue him for trespass…. on the assumption that any jury will award damages.)

                    • Will

                      I meant “demand that he cease his ‘trespass’.”

              • Ted Seeber

                So you’re saying you wish your mother had aborted you?

    • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

      Including the word innocent is correct, useful, and excluding it leads to foolishness.

    • Joseph H. M. Ortiz

      As I see it, the use of the qualifier “innocent” here by educated Catholics is psychological, not logical, being an attempt to prescind from, not endorse, the views of those followers of merely human tradition who quote pro-death-penalty statements of such as Aquinas — who himself, however, committed everything he wrote to the judgment (whether contemporary or future) of the Church.
      In America, it was in the 1970′s, I think, that the Catholic voice became more vocal against the death penalty. In 1973, Notre Dame’s Joe Evans Englished Jacques Maritain’s book On the Church of Christ, in which the prominent Thomist philosopher (admittedly in disagreement with Aquinas’s writings) stated flatly (in note 19 of Chap. XIII): “In my opinion … capital punishment is in itself such a sin [i.e, 'a sin of homicide'] commited by society.” Note here the “in itself”, equivalent here to “intrinsically”, and to “simpliciter”.
      Also in the 1970′s, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, by majority vote, said simply (I quote from memory): “This Conference goes on record against the death penalty.”

      • Scott W.

        There is nothing wrong with being opposed to the death penalty. It is when people try to make the case that it is intrinsiclly wrong is when they fall down. No one can read the Old Testament and come away with that. The death penalty isn’t some man-made tradition.

  • Ted Seeber

    The converse of this, which seems to be quite hard for a certain breed of Americanist Catholic to understand, is that American Culture has fallen so far away from a culture of life that the only realistic way out of this mess is to actually pay women to be mothers.

    In other words, praying a rosary for 40 days means nothing if you don’t stop at least one woman in the street during that time and offer to give her food, clothing, and shelter if she will just refrain from killing her child.

    • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

      Isn’t that just a specific case of “my devotion is better than your devotion”? I wouldn’t say that this is as particular an issue as just being americanist. There’s a sin lurking there that’s definitely not geographic specific.

      I pray for the day that the scientists finally crack the problem of the artificial womb.

      • A Philosopher

        For those who think the “innocent” restriction is proper: can you give a justification for the immorality of deliberate taking of human life, such that that justification is undermined when innocence is lost?

        I take the standard Catholic justification to be this: persons are created in imago dei. They thereby share in the intrinsic moral worth of God. It is morally wrong deliberately to destroy something of that intrinsic moral worth, so it is intrinsically wrong deliberately to destroy human life. Lack of innocence undercuts that justification only if lack of innocence removes the imago dei. But it’s not the standard Catholic view that it does, and I can’t see any reasonable construal of imago dei theory that makes lack of innocence a defeater.

        • http://creativefidelity.wordpress.com Dan F.

          Eh, not sure if i’m understanding you exactly so first a clarification: Are you asking whether it is permissible to deliberately destroy non-innocent human life? If so then the answer is ‘it depends’.

          Most of that conversation has to do with Just War theory and personal/other defense. For example, were I to come upon a mugger attacking another person, said mugger being obviously armed or intent on causing lasting potentially fatal damage, I would be justified in interfering and using potentially lethal resistance to stop the mugger’s attack. I would also be justified in doing so if the attack were directly just against myself but in that situation there exists the possibility of heroic non-resistance (huge new possible thread of issues come along with that).

          This is something that I, as a martial artist with some small skill, think about a lot and this is before you even get to the civil/legal ramifications of coming to the defense of another person.

        • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

          I see what you’re doing there. You’re responding off thread and putting in a new restriction to favor your argument. The justification for killing in Catholicism is that one does what one has to in order to protect life, and if you can figure out non-lethal methods, one should prefer them. If one cannot, you are still under that same regime of trying to protect life and defense of self and others may allow measures that turn out to be lethal without committing a sin.
          Deliberately seeking out the death of people when there are workable non-lethal alternatives is what I take you mean by deliberate. Please correct me if I am mistaken.

  • http://www.masscitizensforlife.org Anne Fox

    Mark, you have played fast and loose with your quotation marks by implying that the brief quote you cite at the end of your first paragraph refers to the entire paragraph.
    The Boston Globe did not say that Massachusetts Citizens for Life has endorsed Senator Scott Brown. In fact, it quoted me correctly as saying that we had not endorsed Brown in 2010 and would not endorse him in 2012 because he is not pro-life. The article said nothing about campaign reform. Instead it pointed out that Brown votes correctly on tax funding of abortion, parental consent, partial birth abortion, conscience rights, ESC research, and judges.
    The Globe, AP, NYT and others have also quoted me as saying that Brown and his challenger, Elizabeth Warren both say they are “pro-choice” but Brown votes pro-life while Warren’s position is extreme.
    You would be much more helpful for life by calling on the media to make Warren spell out her position – for instance, does she agree with Obama about withholding treatment from new-borns who survive abortions?

    • Richard Johnson

      Ms. Fox, with regards to the Boston Globe article…

      http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2012/08/23/leading-antiabortion-group-support-scott-brown-calling-him-senator-who-votes-pro-life/ItaRf0BFi8y3Mkva3cY9LI/story.html

      …is the following statement accurate?

      “Fox, the Citizens for Life leader, said Brown deserves credit for backing strong parental consent laws and opposing the procedure that opponents call partial birth abortion, among other stances.

      She said she met with Brown last month and urged him to support a bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks and would only apply to clinics in the District of Columbia. Brown did not rule it out and promised to study the bill, she said.

      Fox said the group does not consider its support for Brown a formal endorsement because of Brown’s stated support for legalized abortion.But she said the group would urge its members to vote for the senator and enlist volunteers for his campaign.”

      Is your group urging members to vote for and volunteer for Senator Brown?

      • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

        Again we have the problem of what to do about the pro-life fellow traveler. Sen Brown is not pro-life. He is, however, open to changes in law that are pleasing to the Church and have the effect of moving society in a pro-life direction. For that seat, in this election, he is the most pro-life option on the ballot.
        I’m still interested in any of the absolutists to spell out the proper treatment of the pro-life fellow traveler.
        As for myself, I like to think of them as akin to catechumens, or perhaps seekers who are “just visiting”. You must speak the truth, but you must also encourage so that growth and development start and continue towards a well formed conscience on life issues. In the political realm, that means throwing in with people who will move legislation to improve conditions for the unborn. By withholding formal endorsement, the truth is told. Scott Brown is not pro-life. Both encouraging members to vote Brown while withholding the endorsement, the balance seems roughly proper.

        • Richard Johnson

          “I’m still interested in any of the absolutists to spell out the proper treatment of the pro-life fellow traveler.”

          How about we start with a simple admission.

          “In the upcoming election for {insert office here} we have {Candidate A} and {Candidate B} as the two options offered on the ballot. Neither candidate is truly pro-life. Both have voiced clear support for the Roe decision and for keeping abortion legal. Thus there is no pro-life candidate in this election.

          However, because of his/her stance on some key issues (insert issues here), it is this organization’s position that {Candidate A} is the better choice in this election. Therefore we encourage our members to support {Candidate A}, and will work to encourage pro-life voters to support him/her.

          We will also continue pressuring the two major parties to put forth candidates who are truly pro-life so that conscientious voters do not have to, once again, vote for the “lesser of two evils.” When that happens, only evil wins.”

          How’s that for a start?

          • http://www.likelierthings.com Jon W

            That’s wonderful. I would that all political language was that honest.

            • Richard Johnson

              If the voter demanded it, the language would be honest. Politicians and their promoters get by with prevarications because we vote for them anyway. Thus you end up with Scott Brown being a pro-life candidate supported (but not endorsed) by a pro-life group.

              To borrow a phrase…why pay for the milk when you can get it given to you for free?

    • Richard Johnson

      Also, the article does touch on the campaign finance issue, though not with a comment from your group.

      “The National Right to Life Committee credited Brown for that bill and for voting to repeal President Obama’s health care law, blocking funding for the law, and opposing the Disclose Act, which would require independent political groups to disclose the names of donors who give more than $10,000. The committee considers the bill an attack on its First Amendment rights.”

      The NRLC and many other groups oppose the Disclose Act, a campaign reform initiative the Senator has opposed.

    • http://disputations.blogspot.com Tom K.

      http://prolifemass.blogspot.com//2010/01/congratulations-now-lets-finish-job.html
      ” CONGRATULATIONS! Now let’s finish the job!

      “Each and every one of you can be so proud! You got with Scott before anyone else and never took your eye off the prize! I heard Pat Buchanan say today what we have been saying all along, that we have literally saved this country.

      “Envision us all at the March for Life with our signs. One I had thought of: “MA = 41st vote”. If you have any ideas for signs, please let me know. I can also see everyone from all over the country, at the top of Capitol Hill, turning left to the Senate to go in and demand that Scott Brown be seated now before there are any more health care votes.

      “In reality, everyone can demand that he be seated, but only we can do anything about it. The US Senate will claim they can’t seat him until Massachusetts certifies the vote. So, again, it is up to us.

      “Each of us must call Secretary of State Billy Galvin first thing Wednesday morning. We must tell him to certify Senator Brown’s election right away. The last special election we had was that of Nicki Tsongas. She was seated in Congress in two days. Secretary Galvin’s contact info: …

      “ISN’T IT WONDERFUL! THANK YOU!

      “Anne Fox”

    • http://disputations.blogspot.com Tom K.

      http://prolifemass.blogspot.com/2009/12/mcfl-pac-needs-you-correction.html

      “MCFL PAC NEEDS YOU! …

      “Jack Rowe, Chairman of the Mass Citizens Political Action Committee reports that the PAC will be distributing literature on Jan 16 and 17, the weekend before the US Senate election. He is looking for volunteers.

      “The PAC is organizing this effort by state rep. districts. That means you can help close to home.

      “Jack says, “This is an unprecedented opportunity to send a pro life vote to the Senate. The turn-out will be very low. The name of the game will be getting out the vote. There are more than enough pro-lifers in the state to send Scott Brown to Washington – a pro-life vote from Massachusetts, no less!

      “”We need to have volunteers in place before Christmas because the election comes so soon after the New Year”

      “Jack continues, “Please call Janet at 617-242-4199 X 230 or email her JCallahan@masscitizensforlife.org. Leave your name, phone number, email and the name of your state rep. If you are not sure of the name of your rep, leave your address. I will get in touch with you about how you can help.”

      “Jack and the PAC are working very hard. Thank you for helping!

      “Anne Fox, President”

    • http://disputations.blogspot.com Tom K.

      http://prolifemass.blogspot.com/2010/01/pro-abortion-advocacy-has-cost-another.html
      ” Pro-abortion advocacy has cost another woman her election, latest on seating Brown

      “for immediate release January 20, 2010

      “Pro-abortion advocacy has cost another woman her election.

      “The Massachusetts Citizens for Life Political Action Committee congratulates Senator Scott Brown on his election to the United States Senate.

      “John Rowe, Chairman of the PAC, states, “Abortion advertising hurt Martha Coakley badly. Her advertisements stated that Scott Brown was backed by Massachusetts Citizens for Life, an anti-abortion group. Since more than 50% of people self-identify as pro-life, this gained votes for Scott Brown.

      “”Brown’s positions on abortion funding, parental consent and banning partial birth abortions are favored by the vast majority of Massachusetts residents, as are conscience rights.

      “”Coakley attracted attention to the fact that Scott Brown favors conscience rights for medical personnel while she stated that pro-life people should not be allowed to work in emergency rooms.

      “”Exit polls consistently find that voters who vote on the abortion issue vote two to one pro-life. This pro-life differential hurt Martha Coakley.

      “”Pundits agree that Shannon O’Brien lost her race for governor when she advocated abortions for 16 year old girls without their parents’ knowledge or consent. Pro-abortion advocacy has cost another woman her election.

      “”Personally I would like to thank Martha Coakley for informing so many people about Massachusetts Citizens for Life””

    • http://disputations.blogspot.com Tom K.

      http://prolifemass.blogspot.com/2010/01/phony-calls-pretending-to-be-from-mass.html

      ” Phony calls pretending to be from Mass Citizens!

      “The most disgraceful thing is happening!

      “Pro-lifers are receiving phone calls from people claiming to be Mass Citizens. The callers say that Mass Citizens is not supporting Scott Brown because of his position on health care!
      The truth is that Mass Citizens is suporting Brown because of his position on health care!

      “These deceitful calls are coming from 202-461-3441, a Washington, DC number. The phone company says this is a company called SOOH. Pro-lifers are not the only victims of this scam. Our MCFL sleuths have found that this same number is calling people across the state claiming to be different groups with different messages – all anti-Brown!

      “Please, please send this email to your entire list and ask those people to do the same! This deceit must go viral!

      “We cannot let this election be stolen!

      “Keep up your great work!

      “Anne Fox

      “P S If you get the call on your answering machine, please save it. These people should be made accountable for using our name!”

  • Peggy R

    Can’t help but wonder what campaign finance reform has to do with being pro-life. (Anybody with sense would oppose McCain Feingold.) That’s awfully removed from the appropriate agenda of the Right to Life movement.

  • http://www.prayerpunk.wordpress.com PrayerPunk

    The people Ilove are the “Pro-Lifers” who will get into a berserker rage over abortion and then say that we don’t use the death penalty enough. My old priest actually cleared the church, not for preaching against the death penalty, but simply for having compassion for the men on death row. I am from Texas and Ibelieve that we execute more people here than in China, maybe not, but we execute alot of people. I was in prison and on the same unit as Death Row. I worked there as a janitor. I talked to those men and laughed and joked with them. They have done horrible things in the past, most admit it. Most would never hurt another person ever again. Some would and need to kept away from others, but for the most part the death penalty is used as a tool for vengeance. I’m sure many of you that read this will dismiss me as a bleeding heart. Others won’t pay any attention because I have been locked up and am thus a “bad” person. I don’t expect to change anyones mind here, but I would ask you to meditate on what Jesus said about forgiveness and visiting the prisoners, and maybe do that before making a judgement about it being ok to kill those who are not so innocent.

    • Joseph H. M. Ortiz

      In the 1970′s, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, by majority vote, said simply (I quote from memory): “This Conference goes on record against the death penalty.”
      Also, in the early 2000′s, the conservative televangelist Pat Robertson, while maybe not opposed theoretically to the death penalty, called for a moratorium on it in America at least.

  • http://www.prayerpunk.wordpress.com PrayerPunk

    All life is sacred; the unborn, and the guilty. I am pro-life, from conception to natural death. There are no loop holes.

  • Kirt Higdon

    Mission creep is part of what has politically neutered the pro-life. Some of the mission creep comes from jumping on a hot issue (e.g. Obamacare, gay marriage, campaign finance) at a time when abortion is not hot just to keep an organization functioning and dollars flowing in. But other factors are more important. One is the rachet effect of the lesser evil mentality which follows the greater evil in a race to the bottom. The greater evil is bound to always win this race. I suspect there is a bit of lesser evilism in the support urged for Brown.

    More important still is the tendency to jump on band wagons and believe what a politician says or what position he takes in speeches or platforms rather than what his record is. I’ve been guilty of this one myself – mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa – in the case of Ronald Reagan, virtual god and idol of the pro-life movement. As a resident of California, I knew full well that he had signed into law a very liberal abortion bill as governor, which turned California into a Mecca of abortion tourism years before Roe v. Wade. I never voted for him for governor, but when he ran for President, I fell for the hype and voted for him – twice. He in turn appointed two pro-abort judges to the Supremes who provided the winning margin for the pro-abort side in the Casey decision which upheld Roe v. Wade. Lesson learned. I now vote according to a politician’s record, no matter what they say.

  • Chris

    THere is no pro-life movement… there are however a lot of people who are anti-abortion.

    You will never end abortion until you end the need for abortion. This requires a change in our culture and our culture will never change to a culture of life unless the anti-abortionists apply ‘pro-life’ values to all areas of society. Yes, even if that means making sure others have healthcare.

    But this is just a pipe dream of mine.

    • Chris M

      It IS a pipe dream. There is never a “need” for abortion just as there is never a “need” for any other particular brand of murder, but some people will do it all the same regardless of the quality and cost of their healthcare.

      That said, I certainly agree that we should try to provide affordable, quality healthcare to everyone and eliminate that particular excuse for killing our own children.

  • Richard Johnson

    An article by our host that deserve yet another bump in the blogosphere. It is quite relevant to this discussion indeed.

    http://www.catholicity.com/commentary/shea/07563.html

    “So it’s come to this: the Big Thinkers of the Thing that Used to be Conservatism at NRO are commending Massachusetts voters for not being held “hostage to extremists who would rather lose than support a pro-choice candidate” while simultaneously concluding that the takeaway message from Brown’s victory is “Waterboarding wins.”

    Translation: Elect pro-aborts – as long as they’re also pro-torture.

    Incredibly, the election of a man who posed nude and supports torture and the damnable Roe is gushed over as a pro-life victory by multiple pro-life talking heads, while the buzz on Drudge and other “conservative” sites on the day he is elected to the Senate is about the feasibility of packing the guy off to the White House. And all just in time for Roe v. Wade Day!

    “Scott Brown for President: Support Torture or the Baby Gets It!” Has a nice ring, don’t you think?

    King Pyrrhus, pray for us. If the pro-life movement has many more such victories, it will be undone.”

  • Elaine S.

    OK, so Scott Brown is not exactly a staunch pro-lifer. But given that Massachusetts is one of the bluest of the blue states, and that in 2009 he was the only viable alternative to a much more aggressively pro-abortion candidate (Martha Coakley, who among other things, stated that conscientious Catholics had no business working in a hospital emergency room if they weren’t willing to dole out emergency contraception) — I can understand completely why pro-lifers in Massachusetts were backing him and why they “gushed” over his victory. That said, putting Scott Brown in Ted Kennedy’s old Senate seat is one thing (the symbolic value of replacing Teddy with a Republican can’t be underestimated); putting him in the White House is something else entirely, and I can’t figure out why Drudge, et al, would float that idea.

    • http://disputations.blogspot.com Tom K.

      Do you understand the distinction between MCFL supporting Scott Brown — as they did by attacking one of his pro-life primary challengers for not being sufficiently pro-life; by deflecting attention away from Brown’s own appalling positions; by having their PAC distribute literature on behalf of Brown’s “pro-life vote”; by inviting him to their Assembly for Life, as though he were for life — and MCFL endorsing Scott Brown?

      • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

        Could you be a little more clear? Scott Brown, so far as I can tell, did not have any primary challengers in this race, in 2012. Or are you opening up a different can of worms, the 2009 primary where the re-establishment of even a theoretical Republican filibuster threat depended on the GOP winning that seat. That doesn’t sound right either as you’re referring to challengers plural instead of challenger and there seem to have been only two GOP candidates in that field.

  • http://disputations.blogspot.com Tom K.

    TMLutas:

    Yes, I could be more clear. Do you require that clarity to distinuish between MCFL supporting Brown and MCFL endorsing Brown, or are you just being contrary?

  • Kirt Higdon

    Yeah, I was sort of thinking the same thing. Supporting someone as opposed to endorsing him does seem like a distinction without a difference.

  • Richard Johnson

    Looks like it’s 1994 all over again!

    Mitt in 1994: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UeQGObiGGqY

    Ann Romney in 2012: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/election-2012/wp/2012/09/07/ann-romney-wont-talk-about-birth-control-gay-marriage/

    “You know, I’m not going to talk about the specific issues,” she said when asked about lesbian parents. “I’m going to let my husband speak on issues. I’m here to really just talk about my husband and what kind of husband and father he is and, you know, those are hot-button issues that distract from what the real voting issue is going to be at this election. That, it’s going to be about the economy and jobs.” ”

    There’s a lot of room on the Romney/Ryan campaign bus for the pro-life community. But watch out…sometime in January pro-lifers will be expected to get under the bus once again, just like in 1994.


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