Why I'm a pro-life liberal

While pro-lifers rally around a culture of life, the sum total of such a culture seems to be for them one in which abortion is vigorously prosecuted and everyone has knockoff, Livestrong-esque wristbands decrying the evils of terminating pregnancies. It’s not a convincing picture. While their arguments are in the right spirit, the tactics of the movement vary from the extreme and directly antithetical to a culture of life, such as the murder of abortion providers, to the useless and cruel, such as the harassment of women seeking abortions at clinics, to the performative and weak, such as standing around with tape on their mouths. Very little of the imaginative power of organizations such as Bound4Life and LiveAction goes to answering that echoing Christian ethical question: what then should we do? It’s not enough to say what we should not do.

The pro-life leftist position maintains that human life is so significant, so inherently valuable, so irreplaceable that it should be the central subject of political concern. This view requires, therefore, that since we care enough about the outcome of pregnancy to insist against abortion, then we must continue to care about the outcome when abortion is no longer a legal option. To me, this requires a culture agreeing to put its money where its mouth is — that is, to provide robust support programs that render feasible the entire process of childbearing and childbirth, from pregnancy to childcare to the total span of family life. Programs that immediately come to mind include: universal healthcare, which would obviate the incredible expenses of pregnancy, often costing in the thousands of dollars out of pocket; government supported parental leave and policies protecting the employment of mothers; and a no-strings-attached child allowance.