Pro-choice opinion in America is likewise a many-headed snake. There’s an ugly core of true believers, who fiercely favor “abortion on demand without apology” throughout all nine months of pregnancy. To them, the only way to level the sexual playing field between men and women, and achieve gender equality, is to give women the same harsh privilege men have long enjoyed—the right to avoid sex’s consequence, human life. There are also those whose profit depends on promiscuity, which explains why a mass exploiter of vulnerable women such as Hugh Hefner poured millions of dollars into pro-choice feminist groups. There are millions of women who have already made the tragic choice to abort their children, who cling to political slogans rather than face the meaning of their decision.
Then there are the cynics, the people who claim to be “personally opposed” to abortion, many of whom are practicing Catholics or otherwise Christian, who simply don’t think that abortion is important enough to change the way that they vote. For various reasons, they are committed to the American political left, which is monolithically pro-abortion. Perhaps they are members of left-wing labor unions, whose contracts depend on pressure from the left. Or they are politicians in heavily left-wing districts, who want to keep their jobs. Still others are would-be pundits, whose careers have stalled and they now depend on public assistance, which they fear that Republicans might cut. They are nuns in religious orders which have abandoned their founding missions along with their habits; they are academics who crave advancement, or bloggers hungry for popularity.
Through the 1980s and 1990s, most such cynics would outright admit that they favored legal abortion, even though it made them very sad. (In the 1960s, comparable enemies of civil rights would speak of the need for “gradual” change, and the dangers of federal “meddling.”) They would sign on with the likes of Bill Clinton, who claimed that he wished to make abortion “safe, legal, and rare.” But lately, I have noticed an innovative tactic emerging among the cynics: They claim that they are prolife, that they wish to outlaw abortion. They go on the record saying that, then move on to frustrate, attack, and undermine every prolife politician—and dismantle the coalition which prolifers have doggedly built alongside other conservative Americans.
How do they manage this? First and most disgracefully, they dilute the prolife issue. At a time when more than one million young Americans are intentionally murdered every year with the full sanction of the government, these cynics claim that other issues are of equal significance—issues which always, in every case, just happen to benefit prochoice liberal Democrats. Hence gun control, food stamps, Obamacare, and the details of immigration policy all magically turn into “prolife issues,” and the mass murder of the unborn becomes just a box to be checked off on a list.
As the father of a girl who was aborted against my will—and her mother’s will—one of millions of abortion’s unmentioned victims, I say: “No way.” I demand that my fellow Catholics who claim to be prolife stop trivializing the legal execution of my preborn daughter by equating it with far-flung political issues that well-meaning people are free to argue about. There are many answers to addressing the plague of poverty, many of which don’t even involve the government. There is one answer to legalized mass murder, and it does involve the government. Just as civil rights could only be enforced by government action, so abortion can only be stopped when doctors who try to perform them end up in chain gangs. Anyone who tells you different really doesn’t care about ending abortion. And it’s time that we called them out on it.
Jason Scott Jones is co-author of The Race to Save Our Century: Five Core Principles to Promote Peace, Freedom, and a Culture of Life.