How is the GOP’s COVID recklessness compatible with being pro-life?

The core of the Trump movement has always been more interested in political conspiracies, White identity politics, persecution fantasies and disdain for elites. Remember that Trump himself was initially supportive of “partial-birth” abortion. As a presidential candidate, however, Trump issued one of U.S. history’s most effective political bribes: He set out a list of conservative judicial nominees for the Supreme Court, promised to pick from among them and then kept his word.

Now, with a conservative legal challenge to Roe nearing fruition, antiabortion advocates are understandably pleased about their political alliance with the anti-government populists. Yet even after the effective overturn of Roe, years of political battles await at both the state and federal levels. And it is hard to see how a GOP increasingly dedicated to needless death can carry an antiabortion message. The effective end of Roe would be an ideal point for responsible pro-lifers to assert their position on abortion as part of a broader culture of life, including the unborn and their mothers, the old and ill, people with intellectual disabilities and refugees fleeing oppression. Instead, in the Trump era, the state of Texas is taking the messaging lead on the topic, ensuring that the antiabortion movement seems as radical, punitive and vicious as possible.

How can the anti-vaccine ideals of “my body, my choice” Republicanism — which refuses even the easiest and safest sacrifices to protect the life of a neighbor — coexist with a “culture of life”? One is a reckless purveyor of needless death. The other, at its best, is a movement of human rights. It is clear enough which is ascendant. The GOP has become the party of death.