Once again, we are hearing calls for activists on both sides of the abortion battle to sit down together and agree to ignore the issues upon which they will never agree, and discuss those areas in which they could find some mutual goals.
Generally referred to as “common ground,” its proponents speak in warm-fuzzy tones, saying things like, “We may not agree on every issue, but we can sit down and look for ways to reduce the need for abortion. Surely we can both agree that every abortion is a tragedy and that the key to solving this problem is reducing unwanted pregnancies.”
While on the surface this approach sounds reasonable, the fact is that pro-lifers who fall for it are being played for fools.
From the day this battle began, the abortion lobby has understood that even among people who label themselves pro-choice, the overwhelming majority have a palpable uneasiness about the morality of abortion. That is why their strategy has not been to argue that their position is morally superior to ours or even morally equivalent. All they need is for it to appear morally defensible.
Obviously, we cannot look for common ground with these people without giving the impression that even we believe their position has at least some moral legitimacy. It would be no different than if representatives of the Jewish people would have agreed to sit down and look for common ground with the Nazis while the ovens at Auschwitz were burning day and night. The Nazis would have loved it because it would have given moral credibility to their position.
The same phenomenon applies to us. It is no coincidence that these proposals to sit down and look for common ground with the Choice Mafia inevitably come from someone with ties to or sympathy with the Choice Mafia. Believe me, they know exactly what they are doing.
These people also know that legal abortion is much easier to sell when it is perceived that abortions are done out of need rather than out of want. When we agree to look for ways to reduce the “need for abortion,” by definition we are conceding that such a need exists. After all, rational people don’t go looking for something unless they believe it actually exists. In other words, when we engage in common ground discussions we reinforce one of the abortion lobby’s fundamental arguments.
Of course, the truth is that even studies conducted by hardcore abortion advocates prove that almost every abortion performed in America is for non-medical reasons and involves a healthy baby who was not conceived by rape or incest, and a healthy woman whose pregnancy does not threaten either her life or health. In short, the overwhelming majority of abortions are done for want, not need. For abortion apologists to say that we should help them reduce the need for abortion is no different than some pimp telling the vice squad that they should help him reduce the need for prostitution.
Another problem with this common ground business is that it always requires an acceptance of the abortion lobby’s premise that abortion should be legal. Since abortion is legal, any forum that prohibits discussion of whether that should change (as all common ground discussions do) automatically constitutes an implied acceptance of the current policy and is thus a defacto surrender of the pro-life position. With a prohibition against discussing whether abortion should be legally allowed, the pro-aborts get to play compassionate crusaders without having to defend the fact that their brand of compassion is paid for with the blood of innocent human beings.
Consider this. In every common ground discussion, the moderator’s opening statement is something like, “Everyone has agreed to set aside any discussion about whether abortion should be legal or not and simply look for areas of common ground and for ways to reduce the need for abortions.” If the real goal was common ground, it would be equally legitimate for the moderator to say, “Everyone has agreed that abortion should be made illegal, so our goal today is to look for ways to reduce the incidence of illegal abortions once that happens.” But that is never the basis upon which we look for this elusive common ground because the abortion lobby would never agree to discuss their position on their opponent’s terms. We seem to be the only ones who fall for that trick.
A kissing cousin of the common ground philosophy is the Seamless Garment. This is a concept primarily advocated by liberal Catholics who argue that in order to be truly pro-life one must also be a pro-welfare, pro-gun control environmentalist who’s opposed to the death penalty and never sees a justification for any type of military action.
Obviously, people of good faith can agree or disagree about the merits of this viewpoint.
However, when one looks at the way the Seamless Garment is actually applied by its most ardent followers, the real agenda becomes apparent.
When people who are pro-life confront a Seamless Garment advocate about his or her lack of support for the pro-life cause, the pro-lifers will inevitably be asked what they are doing about other “life issues” such as welfare reform, the environment, poverty, etc. If they say that they are not involved with those issues, they are immediately told that they have no credibility because they are inconsistent.
On the surface, this could be interpreted as simply being consistent with the fundamental Seamless Garment philosophy. However, that conclusion is blown out of the water when you observe that people who seek support from Seamless Garment types for liberal social causes are never told that they must join the pro-life cause in order to be credible. For example, people who petition them to get involved in anti-war or anti-death penalty efforts are never dismissed as inconsistent for not being involved in the anti-abortion effort. You can also be assured that homeless advocates in the church are never confronted by the Seamless Garment crowd about their lack of pro-life activism.
The recognition that pro-lifers are the only ones ever rejected by these people for being inconsistent is what I call an “Ah-Ha!” moment. Immediately, it becomes clear that the Seamless Garment is nothing more than a scam designed to (a) silence pro-lifers, (b) neutralize the abortion issue and (c) provide a way for people who claim to be Christian not to have to publicly reveal or defend their pro-abortion sentiments.
Of course, the Seamless Garment is just one of many problem areas associated with this common ground nonsense. But the bottom line is always the same: when we take the bait the Choice Mafia wins. The time has come for those of us in the pro-life movement to stop being so easily manipulated. Remember, our job is not to sit around the campfire and sing Kumbayah with a bunch of people who torture and slaughter helpless babies for money. Our job is to stop them.