The right to life is a moral principle based on the belief that a human being has the right to live and, in particular, should not be killed by another human being. The concept of a right to life arises in debates on issues of capital punishment, war, abortion, euthanasia, justifiable homicide and, by extension, public health care.
It seems to me that those who vociferously claim to be “pro-life” would cherry-pick the instances in which they support another’s right to life. For example, pro-lifers are against abortion … in all cases. Yet, once a child is born to a mother who does not have the wherewithal to provide for that child, then the same pro-lifers who forbade the mother from having an abortion, turn their backs. They are unwilling to have their tax dollars used to support the child, to provide medical care for the child, or a free education. So in essence, they are crueler than those of us who would support a woman’s right to choose, since they have insisted on this child being born, but are now willing to allow it to live in abject poverty, without his basic needs being met. Listening to the song In The Ghetto, originally by Elvis Presley, one stanza in particular jumps out:
People, don’t you understand
The child needs a helping hand
Or he’ll grow to be an angry young man some day?
Take a look at you and me
Are we too blind to see
Do we simply turn our heads, and look the other way?
Rather than making it harder for women to have abortions, why not make it less necessary for a woman to need an abortion? Ever hear the saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”? But instead, the very same ones who decry abortions, have routinely and consistently spoken out to de-fund Planned Parenthood, an organization that provides counseling, health care and contraceptives to women. And many who consider themselves ‘pro-lifers’, are also against contraceptives. Think about the Hobby Lobby and other similar cases. So, they want to deny women a right to birth control, but also deny her the right to do what she feels is best in the case of an unwanted pregnancy.
Those same people who unconditionally oppose a woman’s right to seek an abortion, are by large the same who support capital punishment, seeing no problem with taking a man’s life for a crime he may have committed, even when his guilt may be in question.
And almost to a person, those who claim to be pro-life see no problem with advocating for every person in the nation, regardless of mental state, emotional health, capability, or temperament, to own and carry a firearm. They applaud when somebody takes the life of another, claiming it was “self-defense” … even though more often than not, it was not self-defense at all. They also applaud when police brutally murder a black man, frequently without reason. Just don’t kill a small pocket of cells within a woman’s womb, but kill all the people who might have committed crimes.
Where is that moral outrage on the part of pro-lifers when Trump is threatening to ban refugees because they are Muslims … how do they justify that they are anti-immigration? Do not the lives of those men, women and children living in conditions whereby bombs are being dropped over their heads over night matter? Do not the lives of Syrians, Iraqis, Afghanis, and Yeminis count in the ‘pro-life’ ideology?
Let us speak for a moment of drones dropping bombs on unsuspecting civilians in the Middle East. Or what of the “mother of all bombs” recently dropped in Afghanistan, or the Tomahawk missiles in Syria? Each of these took lives. If you support any of these, especially in the cases where civilians were killed, you cannot claim to be pro-life.
Let me tell you what I think. I think that in order for a person to be honestly considered pro-life, that person must be:
- Against capital punishment
- Pro-national health care
- Pro-social services for the poor
- Anti-discrimination of every type, including religious
- Pro-gun regulation, including at a minimum, a ban on assault-type weapons
There are others, but I think you see my point. Nobody is truly pro-life … perhaps Mother Teresa was, or perhaps Pope Francis is, but for the rest of us, there are circumstances in which we are in support of ending a life. Right? Wrong? I do not pretend to know. I know only what my own conscience tells me. And my own conscience, while not a fan of abortion, believes in a woman’s right to choice because I am not inside that woman’s mind, I cannot know her circumstances. It may be that she knows she cannot take proper care of that child for whatever reason. That is not mine to judge. But I believe there are far worse examples of taking a life than to take the life of a fetus whose life would quite possibly be a tragedy from day one.
One final note: The population on earth is 7.5 billion people and counting. So far this year, 2017, there have been some 48 million births, and fewer than 20 million deaths. The world is already overpopulated, and some would deny a woman birth control???
Next time somebody claims to be ‘pro-life’, ask them if they support capital punishment, random killings in the Middle East, or if they wish to repeal ACA which provides health care for those who would otherwise have none.
I do not ask that you agree with this commentary, but merely that you think about it.