PRO-LIFE BASICS: Has the pro-life movement forgotten its ultimate goal of total protection for all human life?

Today, many pro-lifers are told to be ‘politically realistic’ when it comes to promoting the principle of total protection. It is said we have to be less rigid so that at least some preborn children might be protected.

But if because of a Gallup poll result or a politician’s whim we forsake the pro-life principle of personhood to try and protect even one baby, we will have discriminated against some of the most vulnerable among them. We will have discriminated against those conceived by rape, incest or those who are viewed as a threat to the mother or suffer from disability.

Such compromises have been a part of pro-life rhetoric and legislation in the past, but they haven’t led—and will not lead—to victory.

Protecting persons

Every child is created in the image of God, and we should be willing to protect them all. Jesus tells us in Matthew 18, “Beware that you don’t look down upon a single one of these little children… Just so, it is not my Father’s will that even one of these little ones should perish.” Clearly, Jesus did not instruct us to leave behind those who may be more difficult to protect.

In contrast, the pro-life movement’s actions often do not match its message. When pro-lifers introduce legislation or support candidates that permit certain children (usually handicapped children or those conceived by rape or incest) to be legally killed, we shouldn’t expect the public to believe us when we say that abortion murders a defenseless child. Society sees us as hypocritical when we tolerate exceptions to the right to life.

Our movement must set the bar for what it means to be pro-life. But, overall, our standards have lowered and the number of truly 100 percent pro-life elected officials and candidates has dropped drastically. (On the other hand, the pro-abortionists are utterly unwilling to compromise.) Because of this, legislators who occasionally throw pro-lifers a bone receive the same campaign support from the movement as do solid, no-exceptions officials, and so there is little incentive for politicians to be truly pro-life.

After more than three decades of legal abortion, we still need to send a strong message to America. We must reclaim what it means to be “pro-life” and stand firm in the truth that every human life, from fertilization to natural death, is created by God and cannot be sacrificed no matter what the political reality. By being faithful to our God-given principles, the pro-life movement will be successful in transforming the hearts and minds of our nation.

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About the author

Judie Brown

Judie Brown is president of American Life League and served 15 years as a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life.