I’ve done battle with the organization that calls itself “Right to Life” ever since my days defending the right to assisted suicide. It is an organization full of very compassionate and well-meaning individuals, who care deeply about the issue of abortion. I have met and talked with many members of “Right to Life” over the years and, apart from the death threats from some members of “Right to Life,” they usually strike me as sincere in their concerns. However, they seem unaware or unconcerned that they belong to an organization that has embraced policies and politicians that are in a word … anti-life.
The essential purpose of the “Right to Life” is to make abortions illegal for everyone under any circumstances. I have no problem with that. It is their right to organize and promote change and many of them feel very strongly about it. If they had chosen to call themselves the “Anti-Abortion Under Any Circumstances” organization, or even the “Right to be Born and Then You’re on Your Own” organization, then I would have no quarrel with them. But to call themselves “Right to Life” and oppose virtually all programs that protect and nurture life after birth is, well, hypocritical if not dishonest.
The recent vote on the Farm Bill is one example. The Bill cuts funding for hungry children by $800 million at a time when more children have slipped into poverty since the 1960s. The fact is that most children in poverty are in a single mother family where the mother is already working. Where were they during this debate? Silent. In fact, “Right to Life” is not so silent. They have endorsed and funded politicians that have argued against public health programs to prevent unwanted pregnancies, against programs to raise the minimum wage so that single mothers can work 40-50 hours a week and get a living wage instead of remaining in poverty, against pre-school programs and public health screening programs to ensure the safety and health of children after they are born, along with numerous other programs of social uplift. When their politicians claim that women can’t get pregnant from a rape (implying that all pregnancies are voluntary), where was the “Right to Life”?
Can you really claim a moral high ground when your organization attacks (by silently condoning) every program that protects and nurtures life after birth? Can you really claim a moral high ground when your organization attacks women who are victims of rape or incest for having abortions, but abandons the mother and child if they do decide to bring a pregnancy to term? Can it be moral to abandon children to suffering, or condemn the terminally ill to suffer needlessly because you feel it is right to suffer and still call yourself “Right to Life”? Can it be moral to focus on criminalizing abortions rather than working to create a society where abortions are unnecessary except to save the life of the mother?
I guess the vote to cut funding for food stamps, in the wake of numerous other votes to destroy the social safety net makes me wonder who will defend “life” in Congress or in society in general?