The foundation of the pro-life position is that, from the moment of fertilization, a new human being exists and has the same right to life as a 5-year-old or a 50-year-old.
Unfortunately, one of the biggest problems plaguing the pro-life movement today is that so many of our people don't appear to actually believe that. For me, this was reinforced at a speech I gave recently. In the “meet and greet” session beforehand, someone came up to me and mentioned that he was a long-time pro-lifer but was working for one of the pro-choice candidates in the presidential race. His rationale was that there are "other issues" we also need to be concerned about, issues like the economy and the war on terrorism. He lamented that this had created a nasty and growing rift between himself and some of his fellow pro-lifers, not the least of which was his own wife. His argument was that he was as pro-life as any of them and was being unfairly attacked despite having worked for years in the movement.
I asked him if he truly understood what being pro-life means. He acknowledged that it is the belief that the unborn has the same right to life as the born. So I asked him to imagine that, instead of the unborn, it was his life, or the lives of people he knew, or the lives of anonymous 5-year-olds that his candidate was saying it should be legal to snuff out. If that were the case, would he still be saying that there are "other issues" we need to consider or does that standard only apply to the unborn?
Recognizing the trap he had set for himself, he never responded. After making it clear that his mind had not changed, he angrily walked away. Somehow, this man had convinced himself that helping to put a politician in office that would slaughter unborn children by the millions did not conflict with his claim to be pro-life.
I have often observed that the human brain is the only organism on earth that has the ability to deceive itself. This guy is a living testament to that phenomenon. The sad part is, I am seeing more and more evidence that he is not alone. The problem seems to be that a significant number of the people in this country who claim to be pro-life are only pro-life in the theoretical sense. As a practical matter, when economic agendas and self-interests collide with their pro-life principle, it's the pro-life principle they will abandon.
Each of us knows that there have always been internal disagreements within the pro-life movement and there always will be. It is human nature. Some of these conflicts have been petty and others have centered around matters of legitimate substance. In either case, however, I think we would all like to see even those pro-lifers with whom we have differences as people of integrity and character. But when someone says they are pro-life but could support a baby-killer for political office that person can no longer be viewed in that light. What they have said is that, when push comes to shove, for the right 30 pieces of silver they will drop the unborn in the grease.
By definition, that makes them the same as the people they claim to oppose. The abortion lobby is willing to butcher the unborn for personal, political and financial reasons, and the faux-lifers are willing to look the other way for personal, political and financial reasons. It is a distinction without a difference.
The bottom line is, for those of us who are committed to the pro-life cause, the fate of the unborn will never be merely “an” issue. It is always “the” issue. For that reason, a candidate's position on abortion is all we need to know and all that matters. If a politician is wrong on that, he or she cannot be right enough on anything else to make up for it. It also makes no difference whether or not the office being sought has any direct impact on abortion. Those people who contend that it should be legal to execute helpless children are not morally qualified to serve in any public office. And those who help put them there have no right to call themselves pro-life.