1. “Do you believe illegal abortion can be prevented, and if so, how? If not, what makes criminalization worth so much harm to women?”
We believe in protecting the most vulnerable members of the human family. Preborn children are sadly at the top of that list. Women in crisis pregnancies are not much better off than their babies. We know that, which is why we support shelters and centers that offer women alternatives to abortion, provide them health care, housing, job training, and other empowering resources. We don’t only do this to win them away from the abortion mills, but because we consider their lives every bit as a sacred as their children’s. Meanwhile, the abortion industry in states such as New York tries to criminalize the operation of such centers, which threaten its profit margins. This same industry, as former members such as Bernard Nathanson revealed, vastly exaggerated the harm to women that came from illegal abortions—which never, by any estimate, came close to the 1 million abortions performed each year in America.
As more and more young people describe themselves as prolife, we see the culture inexorably moving in our direction. So it’s only responsible to plan for what will happen when laws change to offer the preborn protection. We would press for the firm and consistent enforcement of laws against doctors who pervert their medical training to destroy preborn life. Laws restricting any evil, from domestic violence to racial discrimination, are only as effective as local authorities make them.
2. “Do you see any chance of a stable compromise? What would it look like?”
The abortion movement has rejected every attempt to impose limits of any kind on the absolute “right” of “choice,” resulting in America having the laxest abortion laws on earth. Prochoicers—who have rejected attempts to protect the preborn from abortion by sex-selection, because of handicap, or once they could viably live outside the womb—have lost the right to talk about a “compromise” by their implacable insistence on unconditional surrender. Americans know what prochoicers want: The status quo of “abortion on demand without apology” through all nine months of pregnancy. Prolifers want the maximum protection for the unborn that can be won politically—which is, admittedly, a moving target, as we continue to awaken the conscience of Americans. Few abolitionists saw as far as the 1964 Civil Rights Act when they demanded the end of slavery, but that was its logical outcome.
3. “Is contraception a lesser evil than abortion or just more of the same evil? If the former, would you accept universal provision of birth control to any and all, including teens?”
Prolifers are sworn to protect preborn life from intentional or negligent destruction after conception. The implications of that must depend, like laws regulating other dangerous medicines and procedures, on the verdict of science. Solid research could surely answer any real remaining questions about the abortifacient side-effects of methods of contraception, and prolife laws would reflect the medical scientific consensus.
4. “What do you offer to women who want to end a pregnancy because they can’t support another child?”
Social scientists differ on whether open-ended, value-neutral entitlement programs incentivize women to avoid unwanted pregnancies, or encourage them. Prolifers, per se, have no fixed position on that; we favor legal protection for the preborn, and sufficient nutrition and other supports for children. Whether that is most effectively administered by private charities or federal, state, or local programs is a question for policy makers. We certainly wish to connect the end of abortion with solving the massive shortage of adoptable newborns in America.
5. “What are the responsibilities of men?”
Offering protection to the most vulnerable includes enforcing their rights—and children have a right to paternal support, which should be enforced by better, stronger laws on deadbeat dads. The current system allows men to shirk their responsibilities with ease, by paying for abortions, leaving women to bear the emotional scars while men walk off unscathed. Proving paternity and garnishing paychecks are well worth the price of sparing 1 million lives per year.
6. “How do you see women continuing to progress if they cannot control when they bear children?”
Few women really aspire to the “equality” that entails abandoning or destroying their children. In a post-abortion world, where men were compelled to support children whom they fathered, the burdens would be much more equally shared than they are today, where women who choose to keep their problem pregnancies are blamed for it, and left in poverty.
7. “You believe the fertilized egg is a person…. But abortion is not the only threat to this tiny being’s life. What about failure to implant, miscarriage and, of course, in vitro fertilization and stem cell research?”
See answer #3. As persons, unborn children deserve the same protection of laws against negligent or intentional homicide as other children—no more and no less. Privacy concerns were trotted out against laws punishing child abuse in the past. They were no more persuasive then than they are now. Since miscarriages are so much more common than spontaneous infant deaths, it would make little sense to subject them to the same legal scrutiny.
8. If zygotes are people, abortion is infanticide, a very serious crime….Why should women who hire a fetal hit man get a pass?
For the same reasons that a doctor who attempted to assist with suicide ought to be imprisoned—instead of his unfortunate patient. Destroying one’s child is so self-destructive and unnatural that it ought to be treated more like a suicide than a murder attempt. Attempts to portray abortion as a minor surgical procedure or a lifestyle accessory have foundered on the agony of women who know the truth, from bitter experience. We wish to protect women and their children from the ultimate medical malpractice.
9. “Are there any pro-choice arguments that resonate with you? Which ones?”
Yes there are. And the answer is “most of them,” except for those like Ayn Rand’s which are programmatically narcissistic, based on a fictitious absolute autonomy that is true of no man’s or woman’s life. But other arguments capture part of the truth, or else they wouldn’t sway reflective people like you, Ms. Pollitt. We recognize the profound and intimate bond that links a mother and preborn child, and we have heard first-hand from mothers in crisis or post-abortive women how trapped, alone, and desperate their lives can become. We consider women’s freedom and legal equality important social goals. We just aren’t willing to kill millions of children to achieve them. There has to be a better way, and we are committed to finding it.
Jason Scott Jones is a human rights activist and filmmaker, who has raised more than $6 million for women in crisis pregnancy centers through the award-winning short Crescendo. He is president of I Am Whole Life, which defends human dignity around the world regardless of age, ethnicity, handicap or other condition.
John Zmirak is an editor, college teacher, and writer. With Jones, he is co-author of The Race to Save Our Century: Five Core Principles to Promote Peace, Freedom, and a Culture of Life.