Pro-Lifers Should Remain Active in the Political Process

Politics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 28, 2012   |   11:24AM   |   Washington, DC

The devastating election results may be enough for some pro-life advocates to call it quits and decide to get out of the political process by ending their involvement in supporting and electing pro-life candidates.

Other pro-life advocates may think electing pro-life candidates doesn’t bear any pro-life fruit — even though pro-life laws have saved millions of unborn children and cut abortions in some states by as much as 50 percent to historic lows.

Last week, Thomas Peters of CatholicVote wrote an excellent summary of why it is critical for pro-life people to remain actively involved in the political process. Electing and supporting pro-life candidates — whether on the presidential, Congressional or state and local level — is a must if we are to have any hope of restoring legal protection for unborn children.

It is simply wrong to claim the political pro-life movement has accomplished “almost nothing.”

Prof. Michael J. New and others, have written article after article demonstrating the success of pro-life laws nationwide in driving down the abortion rate and encouraging women to choose life. The Hyde Amendment alone has saved millions of babies (h/t: Steven Ertelt). It was pro-life political efforts over the last couple years, for instance, that have defunded over $60 million from Planned Parenthood. That’s because we have the most pro-life Congress in history since abortion was legalized as well as the highest number of pro-life politicians in state houses and senates across the country. All of that isn’t nothing, it’s saving babies.

Yes, we have an abortion epidemic, but even that would pale in comparison to what unfettered, tax-subsidized abortion-on-demand would look like. People who are unsatisfied with the pro-life political movement’s win-loss record this year must recognize that as awful as losing is we simply have no choice but to fight, considering what is at stake. And Mirus forgets that pro-life activism, when properly done, is also pro-life evangelization and witness. Politics gives people a platform to have a discussion with their fellow citizens that ordinarily is much more difficult to prompt.

And as someone who works with pro-life political outfits, I can say frankly that there isn’t much of pro-life political movement. Here’s what I mean: compared to the pro-abortion political apparatus, our pro-life structure and reach is totally outmatched. Planned Parenthood alone spent $15.5 million on the 2012 election and I bet that’s more than all the pro-life political groups put up combined.

So it’s not as if there are massive pro-life political expenditures sucking all of the cash out of the system. We are thin everywhere, and the more you get involved in any one of these good works, be they political or otherwise, the more you realize how thin we are, wherever you look.

(As an aside: if Catholics were to develop a better system of philanthropy and did a better job of encouraged responsible giving, we would see a rising tide of financial support that would lift all pro-life boats, political and non-political. That’s a better future to pursue than simply squabbling over the limited resources we have at our disposal now to divide among everyone.)

Meanwhile, I believe the growth of pro-life culture building and pro-life culture shaping have increased apace with pro-life political expansion. The examples are too numerous to provide a complete list, but a start would be to mention pro-life pregnancy centers, 40 Days for Life, pro-life arts, pro-life campus activism, pro-life media, etc.



What does Mirus think is protecting all of these pro-life initiatives, especially the continued existence and survival of pro-life pregnancy centers and the right of the Church and Catholics to engage in pro-life activities? Successful pro-life political efforts to pass and defend pro-life laws and protections!

Here’s my view of why pro-life politics remains important on a cultural level.

Politics should not and is not everything, but it is a benchmark of the culture, and it is a proxy for the struggle between our view of the human person and the alternatives proposed by relativists and aggressive secular liberalism. Pro-life laws, where they exist, reflect a culture that is pro-life, and if we give up the fight to promote pro-life politics, that will be a sign of our own capitulation to the culture of death.