AOC, climate change, abortion, and me

AOC, climate change, abortion, and me March 5, 2019

I woke up Sunday morning to the below comment on Facebook, in response to the screenshot that accompanies this article, which I had posted on my wall:

I laugh at this because you think AOC is logical about saving the planet but you still don’t defend the life of unborn babies and mock people who even try to defend them. So her and you together are bigger hypocrites than Hitler defending Jews. You could defend actual life on Earth but instead you pretend it’s all about the health of dirt and furry animals. Oh, side note. F— your biblical reference to try to make yourself seem like a good Catholic.

Thank you for sharing. My advice: don’t post while drunk.

Furthermore, an authentic pro-life stance defends both the environment and the unborn. But don’t take my word for it. Pope Francis says this in his encyclical, Laudato Si. Specifically, he chastises environmentalists who don’t care about the unborn:

Since everything is interrelated, concern for the protection of nature is also incompatible with the justification of abortion. How can we genuinely teach the importance of concern for other vulnerable beings, however troublesome or inconvenient they may be, if we fail to protect a human embryo, even when its presence is uncomfortable and creates difficulties? “If personal and social sensitivity towards the acceptance of the new life is lost, then other forms of acceptance that are valuable for society also wither away”

But he also chastises those who would separate stewardship for the environment from other issues, including abortion:

It cannot be emphasized enough how everything is interconnected. Time and space are not independent of one another, and not even atoms or subatomic particles can be considered in isolation. Just as the different aspects of the planet – physical, chemical and biological – are interrelated, so too living species are part of a network which we will never fully explore and understand. A good part of our genetic code is shared by many living beings…. When we speak of the “environment,” what we really mean is a relationship existing between nature and the society which lives in it. Nature cannot be regarded as something separate from ourselves or as a mere setting in which we live. We are part of nature, included in it and thus in constant interaction with it.

The Supreme Court

Second, Roe v. Wade is not going to be overturned anytime soon. I’ll type that again: Roe v. Wade is, most likely, not going to be overturned. Attorney Lillian Vogl goes into the details why here. But the reality is, both major parties want abortion to remain legal. The only difference is, the Republicans lie to you about it. The Democrats don’t.

Five of the seven Justices who voted to legalize abortion in Roe—Harry Blackmun (who wrote the majority opinion), Warren E. Burger, William Brennan, Potter Stewart, and Lewis Powell—were Republicans.

All five justices who voted to uphold Roe in Planned Parenthood v. Casey—Sandra Day O’Connor, Anthony Kennedy, David Souter, John P. Stevens, and Justice Blackmun—were Republicans.

Two Justices dissented in both cases, Byron White and William Rehnquist. Justice White was a Democrat—a Kennedy appointee.

But the gist is, abortion was made legal because of Republicans. It remains legal because of Republicans. If the current Court gets another test case, Chief Justice John Roberts likely will join the liberal wing to protect legal abortion (he already has), and he may be joined by Justice Brett Kavanaugh (as has already happened).

Authentic care for the unborn

Given the unlikelihood of the Supreme Court overturning Roe, if pro-lifers really care about the unborn, the logical thing to do is to support policies that will reduce the abortion rate. The reasons that women seek abortions are complex and interrelated, but most women who seek one do so out of economic hardship (yes, the data is from the Guttmacher Institute, but pro-life groups rely on the data too).

So the thing to do, if one really cares about the unborn, is to reduce, as much as possible, the reasons women seek abortions, especially by working to enact policies such as universal health care, child care, job training, and so on.

In America, it costs about $32,000 for an uncomplicated, vaginal birth, but between $350 and $950 for an abortion in the first trimester. Imagine a single mother, in poverty, scared and alone, with no insurance, weighing her options. Which do you think she’ll choose?

But pro-lifers won’t support social safety net policies that will provide these women with a real choice. They ignore the demand side of this equation, and the reasons for that demand, and focus only on the supply. Which is why they look like cruel, sadistic misogynists to everyone not in their bubble.

Those who reject our responsibility to be good stewards of our environment, and who reject policies that will reduce the abortion rate, are the hypocrites. Not me. And not Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

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