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Wesley J. Smith

The Pulse

Again with the slur that pro-lifers don’t care about ‘born kids’

Wesley J. Smith

Before I got into anti-assisted suicide work in 1993, I never hung out with pro-lifers. I only knew a few and didn’t engage the issues in which they were interested.

That changed fast once I joined the euthanasia fray, as the pro-life movement is one of the essential constituencies in the diverse coalition keeping the culture of death at bay. 

Once I got to know the Movement, it quickly became clear to me that most pro-lifers are selfless and loving people, dedicated not only to stopping abortion but helping women caught up with unintended pregnancies, and/or who regret their abortions–and these are legion.  

Many also put their lives where their mouths are–often adopting children who are disabled or “at risk,” as well as foster parenting, etc.

The oft-told lie that pro-lifers don’t care about children once they are born–so trite–was again slung by a Planned Parenthood chieftain in Indiana, as discussed by Tim Swarens in the Indianapolis Star. From, “Pro-Lifers Don’t Care About Kids and Other Stereotypes:”

A few minutes into our conversation, Betty Cockrum lobs a bomb — the kind that often shatters any chance of talking constructively about deeply sensitive issues or in finding common ground with ideological opposites.“Anti-choice advocates,” the head of Planned Parenthood in Indiana and Kentucky declared, don’t really care about children once they’re born.

Such smug claptrap. Swarens, with more patience than I, responds:

Deep breath. Gentle answer. It’s a common slander, of course. Hurled against tens of millions of women and men who describe themselves as pro-life.

It’s also an inaccurate, unfair stereotype.

In reality, many of those “zealots” — another common slur — pour their lives into serving as adoptive and foster parents, as mentors for struggling teens, as coaches and scout leaders and teachers. And they do it precisely because they care, passionately, about helping children in need.

Practicing what he preaches, Swarens tries to build a bridge across the yawning cultural chasm:

So as much as I might disagree with Cockrum’s means to various ends, I have no desire to attack her motivations. We all want women and children to live healthier, happier, more prosperous lives. It’s just that, for many of us, those lives begin before a child crosses the finish/start line of birth…

Yet, despite such differences, there are important things that we all should be able to celebrate. For example, the abortion rate is now at the lowest level since the U.S. Supreme Court handed down Roe v. Wade 42 years ago. In Indiana, the number of abortions has declined about 25 percent since 2008. Teen pregnancies have dropped rapidly as well.

All of that means that we’ve made significant progress in heading off the tragedy of abortion, and in helping young women avoid the anguish of unintended pregnancies. It’s OK for both sides to cheer that news.

Except: I’m not so sure both sides are pleased about that, at least, not unequivocally.

Every time a woman doesn’t abort at PP, it costs the organization money. In fact, the group is apparently so financially reliant on terminations, that when a new Texas law forced clinics to stop performing abortions, some PP facilities closed down. So much for being about birth control and cancer screening.

Facts, not demonization.

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Moreover, some notable pro-choicers are coming out as positively pro-abortion. Indeed, the argument is now being made in some quarters that fewer abortions is nothing to celebrate because it implies there is a moral problem in the first place.

Swarens did well acknowledging the common humanity and good intentions of political opponents and those with differing moral views. That is always worth remembering.

But, that won’t stop activists like Cockrum from happily peddling the trite pro-choice canard that pro-lifers don’t care about kids after they are born.

Reprinted with permission from National Review Online.

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