Why “What Is ‘Prolife’?”?

Earlier this week, I posted What Is “Prolife”? Why did I write and publish that post?

(What Is “Prolife”? generated a bit of controversy on my Facebook. BTW, I have deactivated my Facebook, and don’t plan to go back.)

I published that piece because I’ve been beating my head against this particular wall for forty-two years, and I’m sick of it.

It’s time to re-examine the entire prolife political strategy. Is it working? (It’s not.) Should we redefine our terms? Should we continue our habitual support of candidates because they mouth prolife shibboleths?

I’m sick of voting for candidates who use the prolife label to get my votes but don’t take the cause seriously. They don’t want to solve the problem, it helps them stay in power.

I’m sick of being used.

I have been prolife my entire adult life, since seeing a Focus on the Family video re. abortion at CIY in Talequah OK in 1978. I have always voted for prolife candidates. My view of the issue has been shaped by Dobson, Francis Schaeffer, and Ronald Reagan. Based on their influence, I have supported using the levers of government to end abortion in the United States.

For forty years, I have voted for prolife candidates, as have tens of millions of my brothers and sisters. And what has it gotten us?

What it got us:

  • In 2019, after three years of the self-proclaimed “most prolife President in American history”, Planned Parenthood received a record amount of funding from the US federal government.
  • In 2017-18, when the GOP (the prolife party) held the White House and both houses of congress, they never brought up the idea of national legislation to affect abortion.

What this proves to me is that the prolife movement’s strategy of seeking to use governmental power to end abortion in the United States is a failure.

(This is in contrast to the prolife movement’s other main strategy, influence through service, which has been a gigantic success and which I wholeheartedly endorse.)

I am not willing to be a one-issue voter for politicians who are not willing to have one-issue careers. If abortion is truly THE existential issue, as we voters have been trained to think, then why isn’t it an existential issue for the politicians who want our votes?

Why do we vote for them, motivated mostly or solely by this issue, when they go to Washington or to the statehouses and treat it as an afterthought?

For a legislator–congress or senate, state or federal–to deserve the prolife label, AFAIC they must be willing to stake their career on this issue. Don’t come to us and say, “We can’t do anything because of the …” The filibuster? If you have 51% of the votes, you can set aside the filibuster. You’re willing to do it (or consider doing it) for other issues.

So: Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Ben Sasse, etc: stake your career on standing for the prolife cause. Be willing to go down in flames for this issue. Be willing to be a one-termer for this issue. You expect us to vote that way. Don’t ask us to vote that way unless you’re willing to govern that way.

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