Toward a Consistent Life Ethic: What Do We Do Next

Toward a Consistent Life Ethic: What Do We Do Next May 12, 2016

Given the massive lack of prudence which Movement Conservatives have demonstrated in diverting prolife energies from saving babies to battling the Church, all culminating in a surge to make prostration before Donald Trump the Christian Prolife Thing to Do, I believe that a paradigm shifting rethink is necessary, based on actual Prudence and not on the disastrous “Vote GOP or the Baby Gets It” approach of the past three decades.

To begin: 20% of Americans want abortion on demand without apology. 20% want it outlawed. 60% of Americans don’t like abortion but also have no intention at all of telling some woman in a crisis pregnancy what she has to do. They don’t want to think about it and they wish it would all go away.

Our two major candidates have to navigate that to win and two basic strategies dominate (and have dominated for 30 years). Trump knows his audience. He speaks of abortion as little as possible and only to signal his approval of abortion and support for Planned Parenthood to the mainstream while lying to prolife people that he totally hears them and is on their side. His deluded “prolife” supporters then do the heavy lifting of rationalizing their support for him when he has, in fact, made clear he will not change a thing in the law and that he likes Planned Parenthood just fine. He makes crazy statements about punishing post-abortive women to please the fanatics out at the end of the bell curve and then, when normal people (including most prolifers) gasp in horror, he rescinds them quickly to tack to the center. He has to do this to fool a crowd of suckers that wants him to lie to them–a crowd which has demonstrated time and again that the most transparent cynic can get their passionate support if he just wears a Precious Feet pin (see, “Romney, Mitt”, “Cheney, Dick”).

Clinton, in turn, has to please her base so she signals her passionate support for the other 20% (early in the campaign). Then, later, she will likewise tack to the center and tell the mainstream (who don’t like abortion but don’t want to ban it) that she will keep it “safe, legal, and rare” as the campaign goes on. (Obama did the same stuff. Remember the Freedom of Choice Act he was going to sign on Day One of his Presidency? It vanished into thin air the moment he was elected.)

So the reality is that Trump and Clinton are identical. Both will maintain the status quo and behave in identical ways in office. Only prolife Trumpkins are deluded enough to think otherwise.

And the practical result? Prolife Trumpkins will now spend the rest of the campaign and (God forbid) next four years prostituting themselves to defend, not the unborn, but the evil things that Trump actually cares about, all in the hope of having a place at his table. All the “prolife” defenses of unjust war, torture, murder of civilians and grinding the face of the poor will return, courtesy of the same crowd “prolife” people who defended Dick Cheney as God’s statesman while he was torturing and murdering innocent people (a sin about which he is completely impenitent).

That is the inevitable result of prostitution to Trump and the GOP Culture of Death. Prolifers will get nothing from him. He will get from “prolifers” who endorse him the willingness to make war on the Church on a dozen fronts, all while constantly using the unborn as human shields for his *real* core non-negotiable: defending the Right Wing Culture of death instead of the Church’s consistent life ethic. He will offer you the kingdoms of the earth, but only if you bow and worship him. And where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Given the demographic realities just discussed, the actual fact is that Roe is never going to be overturned. Neither party wants to do it, backed by roughly 80% of Americans. So the entire “We must Vote Trump Because the Supreme Court!” fantasy is a complete waste of time. Indeed, the reality is that our abortion regime is largely the product of GOP appointees to the Supreme Court.

At the same time, roughly 80% of Americans dislike abortion and sense something deeply terrible about our national character in it. So they are open to finding ways to decrease it.

What our politics has depended on is a supply/demand argument and two parties who manipulate their bases in terms of supply. Republicans have lied to prolife suckers for 30 years that Real Soon Now we will completely outlaw supply. Using that carrot, they have then taught prolife suckers to battle with might and main to increasingly devote their energies, not to the quixotic goal of outlawing abortion, but to fighting the Church on all their real policy goals: unjust war, torture, enriching the gun lobby, defending polluters against Laudato Si, the death penalty, grinding the faces of the poor, striving to defend the 1%, xenophobia, etc.

And so those duped by FOX and the Right Wing Noise Machine see people like Rush Limbaugh as their great catechists, run after Trump, and regard Pope Francis and the Magisterium (which would be a great band name, by the way) as the real menace the Church faces since they have been brainwashed into regarding authentic Church teaching on everything except the five non-negotiables (5NNs) as “liberal” and “Marxist”.

That’s how we have come to witness major “prolife” figures lining up to back a thrice-married draft-dodger whose college years of serial fornication were his “personal Vietnam”. An ardent Planned Parenthood supporter who calls for torture and murder of civilians, a fiscal fantasist and four time bankrupter of businesses which do nothing but take your money. A mocker of the disabled and POWs. A racist, misogynist swine who once took vengeance on an infant with cerebral palsy and who still blames that disgusting act on others. That is what the bulk of the “prolife” movement now stands for and actively defends. That is what it will spend all its time battling the Church to defend. And all in pursuit of the fantasy of cutting off the supply of abortion.

What must be done is that the now-thoroughly-prostituted “prolife” movement must be replaced with people who are committed to simply being docile to the Church’s whole teaching and a consistent life ethic. Instead of asking “How will this benefit the GOP?” we must ask “How can I consistently support the dignity of human life from conception to natural death?” Instead of focusing solely on cutting off supply (though that remains important), we have to ask, “What are we doing to reduce demand?” And the moment you do that, you see the shell game the GOP plays in using the unborn as human shields for policies that, in fact, only guarantee more of them are aborted.

Pitting the unborn against the rest of the Church’s teaching is how “prolifers” got turned into suckers and stooges for the Right Wing Culture of Death and now find themselves in the preposterous position of lying to themselves and the world that Trump is “prolife”. Come away from all that. Wash yourselves clean of that lie and adopt a Consistent Life Ethic of respect for human life from conception to natural death. Don’t feel bad about your opposition to abortion when lefties yell at you. But also, don’t feel bad about your support for a living wage, health care, opposition to the death penalty, opposition to unjust war and torture, support for a state social safety net for the poor, concern for the environment and other “liberal-sounding” policies that also are backed by the Church.

Because what has proven most effective in combatting abortion is not the Supply Side fantasy of Abolishing Roe Real Soon Now, but rather reducing Demand by the “liberal” (that is Catholic) policies of reducing economic pressure on the poor to abort (which the Right has taught prolifers to battle with libertarian lies). The irony of our time is that it is under the Great Enemy Obama that abortion rates have dropped to their lowest since Roe. Prolifers can continue to cling to mindless hostility to all his works and pomps because the GOP orders them to do so, or they can ask themselves, “What has he done right that has contributed to lowering abortion rates?” What they will find is that (mixed with evil policies that must be rejected) other policies he advocates have tended to (just as the Church urges) reduce economic pressure on the poor to abort. Because it turns out people don’t abort for fun. They do it because they feel desperate. “Prolifers” have largely supported GOP policies that inflict punishment on the poor and encourage that desperation. That’s stupid and evil. Stop doing that. Don’t just battle supply. Help reduce demand. Listen to the Church, not the Right Wing Culture of Death.

The point is not “become a doctrinaire Lefty”. The point is, “Be more prolife, not less. Oppose abortion by all legitimate means, not just GOP ones. Don’t be afraid to listen to the Church’s whole teaching, even when it sounds “liberal” to you. When Lefties agree with the Church, congratulate them on it. Don’t listen to the lie that if the Church agrees with a Lefty it is a sign of the Great Apostasy. (If you want signs of apostasy, look at “conservative prolife Christian” prostitutes telling you that Trump’s advocacy of torture is just hunky dory.)

The point is: form your minds according to the Church, not according to our politics. Best part: when you grant the numerous good things people on the Left have to say in agreement with the Church, you are no longer in the position of being vulnerable to the currently-very-credible charge that much of the prolife movement is simply a fig leaf for the Right Wing Culture of Death. When you simply agree with the Church’s teaching and grant that denying a worker a living wage is evil, that wrecking the earth is wrong, that refugees should be treated like human beings, that health care is a right, that torture is evil and must never be allowed, that unjust war is evil, that our culture of gun violence must change, that racism and misogyny and hatred of gays are evil you suddenly find yourself free to stop defending and excusing all that crap on behalf of Trump and you can actually focus on what was hitherto only your putative “non-negotiables”. such as fighting abortion.

More than that, you can then turn to the Lefty whose virtues you have now affirmed and say, “You have a lot right. Why then, do you still cling to this glaring inconsistency of support for the killing of the most vulnerable among us: the unborn?” It remains an immensely powerful argument, once the prolife movement is no longer prostituted to defending GOP Culture of Death priorities.


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