If you are Pro-Life, you must accept restrictions on personal liberty. Even if you reject the underlying premise of the popular Pro-Choice mantra “my body, my choice” (there are in fact two bodies), you are accepting the basic doctrine that, out of respect for the second being, there are certain things a woman cannot do while she is pregnant. You are also accepting that there are certain things she must do. As a Pro-Life woman, I recognize the financial, physical, and emotional difficulties of such a stance. I also recognize that we as human beings do not belong exclusively to ourselves. We have a responsibility to others. Thus, it is aggravating that the Pro-Life movement has come to be associated with the Republican Party, a party that advocates for personal liberty above social responsibility.
The Conservative Contradiction
Personal responsibility is a term thrown around by social conservatives who want to mandate woman to carry a child to term, but do not what to offer financial or medical support for her to do so. What they are really saying is “responsibility for thee but not for me.” It’s one thing to ask others to make sacrifices for the greater social good, but it is quite another to make those sacrifices oneself. Funding for healthcare, education, and childcare can be overlooked if the only responsibility of value is the personal kind. But this is not, and never has been, the only moral responsibility. We are in fact responsible for the state of our society. If we ask a woman to bear a child, we cannot wash our hands of what happens to that child. But, because of the inherit contradictions between Republican philosophy and Pro-Life philosophy, we often do.
Republicans Protest Lockdown Measures
Conservative groups throughout the United States are protesting lockdown measures intended to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. President Donald Trump has publicly supported these protests in a series of tweets. “LIBERATE MINNESOTA” “LIBERATE MICHIGAN” “LIBERATE VIRGINIA.” That’s a lot of liberty for America’s pro-life president. To be clear, he is advocating reopening local economies in the name of personal liberty despite risks to human life. But it’s not just the president who is showing his true colors in regards to being pro-life. The protests themselves are organized by a number of conservative organizations, such as FreedomWorks, Tea Party Patriots, and Save Our Country. There is no doubt in my mind that many members of these organizations consider themselves to be pro-life. But they would be wrong.
Pro-Life Advocates, Abandon the Republican Party
Pro-Life activists have long known that our alliance with the Republican Party is a shaky one. While abortion restrictions remain a top priority, they are far from the only goal of a pro-life agenda. The Republican focus on personal liberty above all else has put them in direct opposition with virtually every other pro-life stance. (Nuclear disarmament, immigration, healthcare, education, ect.) A nasty side effect is that the Republican genre of pro-life thinking is deeply sexist, with the only acceptable limits to personal liberty applying exclusively to women. This has caused irreparable damage to the movement – but that’s a subject for another blog.
But this latest iteration of Republican foolishness must be the last straw. A party that is willing to put personal liberty and economic stability above the lives of the elderly and vulnerable will never be a pro-life party. Advocates must abandon ship now, and save our movement. By remaining joined with Republicans, we strip our movement of any moral authority.
We demand responsibility of others, but we claim liberty for ourselves. How shameful.