Every few years, the anti-abortion organization, Justice For All, pays a visit to my college campus while touring the nation visiting other campuses as well. They aim to spread the message that abortion is the biggest problem in the world today. How do they do this? They display an enormous, three-sided, three-story billboard full of shocking images of bloodied fetuses and erroneous “facts” about abortion. Then, they send representatives disguised as regular students into the crowd in order to incite debate.
In a month, JFA will be returning to my school, and it has me thinking about the so-called pro-life movement in America. What does pro-life really mean?
The last time I checked, most people who are against abortion aren’t pro-life at all.
According to a May 2010 Gallup poll, 47% of Americans call themselves pro-life, whereas 45% identified as pro-choice. Only 31% of Democrats and 34% of those who lean Democrat chose pro-life. The poll went on to say that 68% of Republicans and 61% of those who lean Republican prefer the pro-life label. This is an increase from a 2004 poll, in which 57% of Republicans and 53% of those who lean Republican identified as pro-life.
So it’s mostly Republicans who are trying to save the poor innocent babies from being aborted. So what do they do? Well, here in Oklahoma, they’re on a mission to prevent abortions and shame women who have them. The mostly Republican state Congress has passed laws requiring an ultrasound and verbal description of ultrasound results for women seeking abortions; preventing women who have a disabled child from suing doctors for withholding information about birth defects while the child was in utero; and requiring women to complete a 30-question survey before receiving an abortion, results of which were to be published on a tax dollar-funded public Web site. Although Governor Henry vetoed the survey and continues to veto blatantly anti-woman legislation, Congress can override these decisions and has.
But that’s just a local perspective. Republican organizations and politicians across the country are trying to limit access to abortion. They say it’s because they’re all about life. But it seems to me that they only care about life for that unborn fetus. Once that fetus becomes a baby, the pro-life crowd quickly becomes notably anti-life.
Take gun control, for instance. The 2008 GOP platform voiced support for the Second Amendment of the Constitution and the Supreme Court’s decision in D.C. vs. Heller, which revoked Washington, D.C.’s handgun ban. Additionally, the gun rights lobby donated over $19 million to Republican candidates in the 2008 election season. Firearms account for 67% of murders in the United States, and the right to own and carry them is supported by the Republican Party. Pro-life? I think not. So why don’t we look at healthcare? Surely anyone who supports life would also support universal healthcare! Oh, wait, no; a 2009 Gallup poll shows that 49% of Republicans don’t think health care should be reformed, even though 1 in 6 American adults does not have health insurance. Another 2009 Gallup poll showed that 77% of Republicans and leaners think that it is not the responsibility of the federal government to make sure all Americans have health care coverage. So I guess they are pro-life, well, if you have insurance, that is.
I bet a pro-life person would be anti-war, though. If you support life, how can you support violence? But George W. Bush was totally anti-abortion, and he started a preemptive war in Iraq based on false accusations! And other pro-life people supported him!
In fact, those who call themselves pro-life are actually only pro-life when it comes to that single issue: abortion. When that baby is born into poverty (42% of women having abortions are poor, according to a 2010 Guttmacher Institute study), pro-lifers will deny or try to deny it welfare, food stamps, health care, and a decent education. And then that baby might just get sent off to die for our country’s oil addiction.
So what is it that the pro-life lobby is for? It’s certainly not life. But I guess pro-death is a little harsh. Maybe, stay with me here, maybe these people really are anti-woman and anti-sex. Abortion is the only issue here that concerns sex and (exclusively) women, and they want to strike it down. Pro-life is not pro-life at all. Don’t let the words fool you.