In my last post, I discussed the objection that is often being leveled at pro-lifers, in that they are inconsistent for their alleged hypocrisy when it comes to the issue of aid for foreign refugees. Today, I would like to discuss the issue of pro-life "hypocrisy" just a little bit further.
One of the most common accusations leveled against those who oppose abortion is "Why aren't you doing more to support the poor, or working to end poverty?" Or "Why don't pro-lifers give more support to things like national healthcare reform?"
These talking points have been very common pro-choice slogans for years, but they have become especially popular in light of recent political developments within the new Trump administration, regarding the ongoing debate over national health care reform. Along those lines, another very common slogan among street-level pro-choice activists has been to attack pro-lifers for their supposed unwillingness to adopt children who would have been aborted otherwise. During our pro-life outreach at my local university campus this past year, multiple people asked us why we weren't doing more to care for children who were already born, as opposed to simply "caring" for children who have yet to be born.
Frankly, as I discussed in my earlier post, these talking points also miss the point of the pro-life argument against abortion, by simply treating the unborn as if they were not fully human beings. No one talks this way regarding those whom they already agree are human. It is only when the humanity of the unborn is at issue is it dismissed entirely, and then they attack the character of those who are opposed to abortion.
It needs to be remembered that the debate over abortion is not about who we are going to provide government aid and support for, but rather about who we are going to intentionally kill, and whether we are justified in that killing. If it is wrong to intentionally take the life of an innocent human being, and if abortion does intentionally take the life of an innocent human being, then abortion is wrong. Even if pro-lifers do possess any number of character flaws (we are not perfect), abortion doesn't suddenly become wrong if every pro-lifer becomes a saint.
Second, these assertions are often leveled at pro-lifers who don't support a more progressive view of government on issues like poverty and healthcare. In many cases, opposition to a policy such as government-based health care gets one labeled "anti-poor" or results in being accused of wanting to deny Americans health insurance coverage.
In a recent video for the conservative think tank Prager University, economist Arthur Brooks makes the point that both liberals and conservatives completely agree that more should be done to limit the effects of poverty on the culture. Where conservatives and liberals disagree is the role that government should take in addressing the issue. Highlighting data from the last fifty years of welfare spending since President Lyndon Johnson's "War on Poverty" began, Brooks points out that the poverty rate has pretty much flat-lined, with barely a change in the rate of those living in poverty over the last fifty years.
Since many pro-lifers want to see legislation based in evidence, it is not inconsistent for them to oppose programs that will not result in more good, and could produce more suffering in the long run.
Lastly, and perhaps most strikingly, somehow the inconsistency argument is never applied to the views of pro-choice liberals. When objecting to the alleged character flaws in those who support the unborn but oppose anti-poverty legislation, many don't question the absurdity of supporting programs that are intended to help the small and the weak in society, while yet supporting the legalized killing of the smallest and weakest among us: the unborn. If the unborn are human, just like the rest of us, then obviously they should be protected in law just like other innocent people are.