~ What if “pro-life” votes actually do more harm than good? ~
It’s Election Day.
You are standing at the ballet box with your list of pro-life candidates, ready to vote for the first one when someone says “Wait!” It’s a woman’s voice with a middle-eastern accent. “Don’t vote for him,” she says.
You scan the room but nobody is nearby. Your attention returns to your ballet when you receive the shock of your life: The grainy hologram of an emaciated woman floats before you. The woman’s head is scarfed and deep lines are etched in her face.
The face fades, replaced by a turbaned young man.
“He defends fetal rights while funding weapons that do this to innocent Palestinians like me.” He turns his head to reveal a scarred scalp and missing ear. “He sends guns and missiles to the Israelis, who kill seven Palestinians for every one Israeli that dies. Is that what you call pro-life? To kill seven of us for every one of them?”
As his image fades, you shake your head, groaning. “Okay. I’ll skip that guy.” As you prepare to vote for the next pro-life candidate on your list, an elderly man with a stubble beard appears.
“That candidate supports policies that have killed 500,000 Iraqis, Afghans and Pakistanis. That’s a half million people, civilians included. He says it’s good for ‘American interests,’ which is another name for business. Is that what it means to be ‘pro-life’ in your country?”
The hologram disappears.
In frustration, you go to another name on the list. As you prepare to cast your vote, you see a morphing image of women, men and children from many different nations.
“Six million of us have died in U.S.-supported wars since 2001,” says the vision. “Many more have fled our countries because of your wars and self-serving economic policies.”
“I thought I was voting pro-life!” you growl in aggravation.
“Your candidates believe that some lives are more important than others,” says the image, “but that’s not pro-life.”
In desperation, you glance at the state and local election candidates. Your stylus approaches the ballot when the hologram of a Latino teen appears.
“That guy is pro-birth,” she says, “not pro-life. He will do everything humanly possible to put money in your pocket and keep it out of ours. For years now, your pro-birth candidates have widened the gap between rich and poor, restricting our access to healthcare, a proper education and affordable housing.”
You nearly throw up your hands in frustration. “Dang it, this is complicated! All I want is a candidate I can trust.”
“Don’t we all?” says the woman, fading into thin air.
“The unborn” are a convenient group of people to advocate for. They never make demands of you. They are morally uncomplicated, unlike the incarcerated, addicted or the chronically poor. They don’t resent your condescension or complain that you are not politically correct. Unlike widows, they don’t ask you to question patriarchy. Unlike orphans, they don’t need money, education or childcare. Unlike aliens, they don’t bring all that racial, cultural and religious baggage that you dislike. They allow you to feel good about yourself without any work at creating or maintaining relationships. And when they are born, you can forget about them because they cease to be unborn.
You can love the unborn and advocate for them without substantially challenging your own wealth, power, or privilege, without re-imagining social structures, apologizing or making reparations to anyone. They are, in short, the perfect people to love if you want to claim you love Jesus but actually dislike people who breathe. Prisoners? Immigrants? The sick? The poor? Widows? Orphans? All the groups that are specifically mentioned in the Bible? They all get thrown under the bus for the unborn. — Pastor David Barnhart
Image by Oxfam East Africa, Wikimedia Commons.
“Trump Objects to Measure Ending U.S. Support of Saudis in Yemen War,” by Patricia Zengerle, Reuters, 11 February 2019, www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-saudi-yemen/trump-objects-to-measure-ending-us-support-for-saudis-in-yemen-war-idUSKCN1Q102V.
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 “Entire Families Wiped Out: U.S. Airstrikes Killed Many Civilians in Syria,” NPR, 9 November 2018, www.npr.org/2018/11/09/664360606/entire-families-wiped-out-u-s-airstrikes-killed-many-civilians-in-syria.
 “This Chart Shows Every Person Killed in the Israel-Palestine Conflict since 2000,” by Max Fisher, Vox Media, 14 June 2014, www.vox.com/2014/7/14/5898581/chart-israel-palestine-conflict-deaths .
 Some of the sources for this article include:
“Yemen death toll to surpass 230,000 by end of 2019: UN report,” by James Reinl, Middle East Eye, 26 April 2019, www.middleeasteye.net/news/yemen-death-toll-surpass-230000-end-2019-un-report.
“Human Cost of the Post-9/11 Wars,” by Neta C. Crawford, Watson Institute, November 2018, https://watson.brown.edu/costsofwar/files/cow/imce/papers/2018/Human%20Costs%2C%20Nov%208%202018%20CoW.pdf.
“How Many Millions have been Killed in America’s Post-9-11 Wars? Part 3,” by Nicolas J S Davies, WorldBeyondWar.org, 25 April 2108, https://worldbeyondwar.org/how-many-millions-killed/.
“U.S. Regime Has Killed 20-30 Million People since World War II,” by James A. Lucas, 22 March 2018, www.transcend.org/tms/2018/03/u-s-regime-has-killed-20-30-million-people-since-world-war-ii/.
“Climate Change and Disaster Displacement,” The UN Refugee Agency, www.unhcr.org/en-us/climate-change-and-disasters.html.
“Refugees,” United Nations, www.un.org/en/sections/issues-depth/refugees/.
 David Barnhart, “David Barnhart Quotes,” Goodreads, www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/5817207.Dave_Barnhart.