While I was MIA, a reader made a comment about my essay on the pro-life movement. While he agreed with me that the the pro-life movement didn’t address the full scope of life, he asked “do you honestly feel justified in supporting the opposite stance simply because there are those who haven’t reached that [a more complete] level of understanding?” This question brings up an issue which deserves to be addressed.
Many on the Right—members of the conservative noise machine such as Limbaugh, Hannity, and Coulter, members of the conservative Christian movement such as Pat Robertson and Ralph Reed, and members of Utah’s own conservative camp such as LaVar Christensen—have worked fervently to con the public into believing that liberals or the pro-life movement are the “opposite” of the pro-life movement. This is a blatant lie. There is no “Anti-Life” movement. Nancy Pelosi, herself mother of five and grandmother of six, does not promote abortion. Nor does Harry Reid, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Al Gore, John Edwards, Barack Obama, Edward Kennedy, Howard Dean, or any other prominent Democrat. Same goes for Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Ralph Nader, Michael Moore, Al Franken, or any other prominent liberal apologist. The “zero-population” abortion advocates meant to scare us in Saturday’s Warriors are nowhere to be seen on the political landscape. No public figure on the left or in the pro-choice movement endeavors to increase the abortion rate in the U.S.
The majority of those in the pro-choice movement believe pregnancy is a very grave matter, and abortion something to be considered only with great trepidation. We talk about making abortion “rare.” We dislike the arguments of the few who talk casually about “abortions of convenience” as much as do those on the Right. But we recognize that abortion isn’t the overly simplistic, black-and-white issue which conservatives like to portray. This isn’t an ideal world, and we recognize—as does the LDS Church—that there are circumstances in which abortion is a valid, if tragic, option. We understand that the best methods by which to make abortion rare are not political fiat, fear, or harsh punative measures. We wonder why the Right seems to have learned nothing from the progressive temperance movement and the Eighteenth Amendment. The pro-choice movement may oppose the pro-life camp, but don’t let yourself be fooled into confusing “opposed” with “opposite.”
And the answer to the basic question is yes, absolutely. The perspectives of the leaders and advocates of the pro-life movement from whom I hear are so incomplete, so myopic, so pharisiacal, and so destructive, that I do indeed feel justified in supporting the opposing side.