Is it true that the anti-abortion side is “pro-life until you’re born?”

ultrasound image pregnancy

One of the misperceptions deliberately spread by promoters of the culture of death is that pro-life and pro-family activists are hypocrites because their actions do not match their philosophy. If this idea gains traction, our message can be completely disregarded, and life (or, in many cases, death) can go on as usual. More importantly, those who embrace the culture of death will feel better about themselves, because we pro-lifers are supposedly just as bad as them.

Obviously there are dishonest and deceived people in the pro‑life movement. This is inevitable in a movement of more than a million people. We have seen “pro‑life” politicians repeatedly betray their constituents, “pro‑life” political activists stealing money from other activists, and “pro‑life Christians” publicly lying to judges, committing adultery, and killing abortionists in the name of life.

The Pro-Life Standard

Pro‑lifers are certainly not perfect. However, the great difference between pro‑lifers and anti‑lifers is that we have set for ourselves a very high (and, in fact, unreachable) level of conduct and morality. Therefore, we are bound to fail in our quest for sanctity, even though we try our best to avoid evil and wrongdoing.

Those who subscribe to the culture of death, by contrast, have no objective standard of morality, and only do what they find convenient at the moment. Their list of sins includes only those activities that they would never themselves commit, so, by their own definition, they rarely if ever sin.

It all depends upon the standards to which you hold yourself.

hands folded over bible

Christians try to emulate Jesus Christ. His standard is so high that it is impossible for any mere human being to meet it. Therefore, in the eyes of the anti‑lifer, all Christians are by definition hypocrites.

The primary differences between pro‑lifers and anti‑lifers is that the pro‑lifer is trying. A quick story will illustrate this point:

Let us say that two people are training to run a marathon. One says that he wants to set a record time of 2:05. He trains diligently, focuses all of his efforts on running faster, and suffers intensely for years. The second runner sets no standards for himself. He jogs a few miles now and then, eats whatever he wants, and completely lacks even the most basic self-discipline. When the day of the race comes, he ambles through the marathon, sitting down when he is tired, never suffering in the least, and finishes in six and a half hours, while the runner who trained hard finishes in 2:10. The slower runner then sneers at the faster one that he is a “hypocrite” for not meeting his goal.

The most common allegation of inconsistency used against pro-lifers is that we don’t care about children after they are born. A good example of this was provided by professional bigot George Carlin, who said:

Boy, these conservatives are really something, aren’t they? They’re all in favor of the unborn. They will do anything for the unborn. But once you’re born, you’re on your own. Pro-life conservatives are obsessed with the fetus from conception to nine months. After that, they don’t want to know about you. They don’t want to hear from you. No nothing. No neonatal care, no day care, no head start, no school lunch, no food stamps, no welfare, no nothing.1

People who make this charge usually do not even bother to check their facts. A 1996 study showed that conservatives gave an average of four times as much to charity as did liberals,2 and things have not changed since then. In his 2006 book Who Really Cares, Syracuse University professor Arthur Brooks said:

[Conservatives] gave more to every type of cause and charity: health charities, education organizations, international aid groups, and human welfare agencies. They even gave more to traditionally liberal causes, such as the environment and the arts.

catholic charities sign

How Pro-Lifers Care for People after Birth

The most detailed recent study of giving in the United States was published by the Chronicle of Philanthropy in November 2017. The numbers are staggering:

  • This study showed that 12 of the top 13 states in average individual giving were “red” states ― those states that tend to vote for Republicans. Romney’s home state Utah took the top spot, and the others were all from the much-maligned “Bible belt.”
  • The bottom seven and the bottom 11 of 12 states in average individual giving in 2012 were “blue” states ― those states that tend to vote for Democrats.
  • Not surprisingly, a Pew Forum study showed that the seventeen most religious states (where respondents said that religion was “very important in their lives”) all voted for Romney, and 21 of the 25 least religious states voted for Obama.3 In other words, people in more religious states are much more generous than people in less religious states.
  • People in 86 of the most generous 88 cities were in states that voted for Romney, and 88 of the 100 least generous cities were in states that voted for Obama in 2012.4 These numbers are even more remarkable when we take into account the fact that “blue” states are much more secular (so they do not contribute as much to churches) and have fewer children to spend money on.
  • In addition to being more charitable, pro-life people are much more generous in the service of life than pro-abortion people; the ten states with the highest fertility rates all voted for Mitt Romney in 2012, and the ten states with the lowest fertility rates all voted for Barack Obama.5

In summary, people who are more religious have more children and are more generous in helping others as well.

Religious people express their native generosity in many other ways. The Roman Catholic Church operates 26% of all of the health care facilities in the entire world, including 117,000 hospitals, clinics and orphanages, 18,000 pharmacies and 512 centers for the care of those with leprosy. This includes 911 hospitals and health care facilities and 418 orphanages in the United States.6

The Lutheran Church, the Jewish faith and others have also founded hundreds of other hospitals in the United States, although many do not continue to operate under religious principles. But when was the last time you saw a hospital named something like the “Cincinnati Atheist and Agnostic Health Care System?”

“Pro-Life Until You’re Born?”

All of these statistics makes perfect sense. Conservatives give to charities out of a desire to help people.

But when liberals give to charities, they are more likely to be giving in order to make a political statement, which is why pro-abortion and pro-homosexual groups have such huge bankrolls. If liberals give to the “correct” political groups, vote for the “correct” liberal political candidates, believe in the “correct” causes and pay their taxes, they think they’ve done their bit for social justice and will leave it to the government to take care of the rest of the needs of the poor.

In general, not only do liberals fail to contribute meaningfully to the solution of social problems, they generally support the very things that make people both sick and poor ― unlimited sex without commitment, the destruction of marriage through its redefinition, and single motherhood. They refuse to support the most effective weapon for fighting poverty among women and children, which is traditional marriage. In the case of abortion, they even stridently condemn the only non-governmental organizations that help women with material and practical needs after their babies are born ― crisis pregnancy centers.7

 

Endnotes

  1. George Carlin’s “Back in Town” show (1996).
  2. 1996 General Social Survey (GSS) by the National Opinion Research Center (NORC), described in Jeff Jacoby. “Stingy Liberals.” Town Hall, August 22, 2012.
  3. “How Religious is Your State?” The Pew Research Center at http://www.pewforum.org/how-religious-is-your-state-.aspx, December 21, 2009.
  4. For a detailed analysis and listings of all states and cities, write to Brian Clowes at bclowes@hli.org and ask for Excel spreadsheet ‘GENEROUS.XLS.”
  5. The ten states with the highest fertility rates all voted for Mitt Romney: Idaho [77.4]; Kansas [74.7]; Nebraska [76.4]; North Dakota [70.8]; Oklahoma [74.9]; South Dakota [77.8]; Texas [77.6]; Utah [88.4]; Wyoming [75.0]; and Alaska [78.3]. The ten states with the lowest fertility rates all voted for Barak Obama: Vermont [50.8]; New Hampshire [51.9]; Rhode Island [53.6]; Maine [54.8]; Massachusetts [55.4]; Connecticut [56.5]; Michigan [59.8]; Pennsylvania [60.1]; New York [61.7]; Oregon [62.5]; and Florida [63.6] (Reference Data Book and Guide to Sources, Statistical Abstract of the United States [Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office], 2012 [132nd Edition], Table 82, “Births ― Numbers and Rates by State and Island Areas” (number of births per 1,000 women aged 15-44).
  6. “Catholic Hospitals Comprise One-Quarter of World’s Healthcare, Council Reports.” Catholic News Association, February 10, 2010.  J. Kenedy & Sons Official Catholic Directory, 2011.
  7. As one of many examples, ‘Catholics’ for [a Free] Choice says that women should not be offered alternatives to abortion through crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs), which CFFC calls “fraudulent and deceptive clinics.” These CPCs, of course, may never give women factual biological information on fetal development, because this constitutes a “propaganda tool for the anti‑abortion position” [Richard Doerflinger. “Who are Catholics for a Free Choice?” America, November 16, 1985, page 313].

17 Comments

  1. Avatar Lindsey on April 17, 2019 at 7:59 AM

    If you hold that the movement called “pro-life” really means caring for children and their mothers after they’re born as well as preventing abortion can you please answer for this?

    https://catholicvote.org/why-im-through-being-pro-life/

    Please read not only the article but the comments. You have many many people in your midst who only believe in preventing women from terminating pregnancy but they say that they are pro-life. I can cite for you many more comments from Facebook on the recent fetal heartbeat bills stories reported.

  2. Avatar Sj on May 17, 2019 at 9:14 AM

    The reason people think pro lifers don’t care about the already born is because people are more likely to adopt babies rather than older kids. Right now there are nearly 500k kids that need families. If you want people to believe you are truly pro life you have to change. Promote adoption of kids of all ages, and not focus single mindedly on the unborn.

    • Avatar HLI Staff on May 20, 2019 at 10:15 AM

      Thanks for your comment. Actually, we are a Catholic apostolate and our particular mission is 5-fold, all pro-life issues. So HLI by nature of our mission statement focuses on them. But you are right about adoption needing more attention. Adoption and foster care is available through Catholic Charities and normally is in every diocese. HOWEVER, if you have seen on our Facebook page, we have actually published articles on the challenges there. Cities like Philadelphia to the state of Michigan are attacking Christian principles and Catholic agencies will not adopt out to same sex couples. This violates freedom of religion, but is also short-sighted, since they provide the majority of placements in many cases. In other states, Catholic agencies are shutting down, because we cannot consort with evil. This writer’s mother was a social worker with Catholic Charities was placing babies for adoption in the 1960s! So the work is by no means new – nuns, etc. have run orphanages for centuries.

      • Avatar Cheyenne on July 4, 2020 at 1:44 PM

        Education and nutrition are what get children out of poverty. This article is sickening; precisely what ”anti-lifers” are ridiculing the church. It’s as if the author doesn’t know that we, the people, fund the government. Why would you send a message to girls that their only hope to escape poverty is through traditional marriage rather than encourage and enable opportunities for them to thrive on their own two feet in this world?

  3. Avatar Susan Marie Schneider on September 12, 2019 at 3:47 PM

    This statement is not true. You have no idea the amount of people who stand up for the preborn and their moms. There is follow up for those who need it and those who can help. Each of us even in prayer can adopt in prayer those who are in need. We do it for our own families. We do it for families they do not even know. The Red Cross helps those they do not know, etc. We each play a part in each others lives.

  4. Avatar Gerry P. on September 13, 2019 at 11:24 AM

    I do not know where the idea that pro-lifers discontinue to care about the babies after birth comes from, but I imagine it is the devil, the father of lies.
    My wife and I have joined in the spiritual adoption program over the years and have not ceased to pray for these children we have spiritually adopted using the formula (adjusted for born children) given by the Venerable Fulton J. Sheen. We pray for them by name (one name which is actually known) twice each day, once after our daily Rosary and once before we go to sleep. We also have financially adopted two children from Latin America. We married late in life so we have no children of our own but prior lived lives of service to the Church as single Catholics.
    A second comment is over the well-funded gay movement. I went with my wife to a conference in San Francisco and it just so happened that there was a gay pride festival there which I did not know about. I was appalled to see people walking around naked but for some body paint and little children with glassy eyes indicative of drug intoxication and crowds of young people who displayed symptoms of cannabis intoxication.
    I helped three gay men in their last days with Mother Theresa’s sisters and sat with them, fed them, bathed them and chatted with them and even learned from them and loved them as though they were my own brothers. I recall that none of their friends ever visited them. I do not have a high opinion of the gay movement and its canonization of immoral and self-centered behaviors.

    • Avatar HLI Staff on September 16, 2019 at 2:09 PM

      Thank you for your witness, Gerry. Your life affirming compassion of the unborn, the young, and the dying bears out the statistics that pro-lifers are generous and care deeply for people from womb to tomb.

  5. Avatar Jean S on October 14, 2019 at 10:27 PM

    Pro life should be applied to both the unborn and the living. We condone government control of abortion while we refuse to support governmental aid to prevent the over 70,000 unnecessary deaths and stop the suffering brought on to millions because the victims can’t afford medical care. We who are Christian must think that God declares a baby due in four months more precious than one four months old.

    • Avatar HLI Staff on October 29, 2019 at 9:12 AM

      Thanks for writing. Yes, life from conception till natural death is critical. All life matters. But there is a hierarchy to be considered. An abortion victim is murdered; his heart is injected to stop the heartbeat and he is dismembered, often in excruciating pain. Someone who goes to the hospital with an emergency in the United States is required to be given treatment, and certainly not killed or tortured while alive. But the Church has advocated for caring for the sick since its inception. Just last month the USCCB advocated for more federal money for health care and provides its own health care as well the world over. http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/health-care/letter-to-senate-on-replacement-for-affordable-care-act-2017-09-21.cfm

  6. Avatar Ursula Andrews on October 10, 2020 at 4:34 PM

    I taught at a Catholic school for some time. When one of our former students visited the faculty room to show off her beautiful baby, most of the faculty gathered around to admire the baby and to share In the mother’s joy and excitement. Our celebration of this mother and child was not affected by the fact that the mother was unmarried.
    Two senior theology teachers stopped at the door, turned and left abruptly. As they walked away, I heard one say to the other, “I cannot condone that sin by acknowledging that slut, nor will I acknowledge the existence of her bastard.” Her companion smiled and agreed.
    I was shocked and horrified. This was in 2002! They were the “well-respected” lead theology teachers! They led our students to “Right to Life” marches in Washington DC. Our teaching contracts required all teachers to support the teachings of the Church….and these women were the representatives of the Church!
    When elders of the church, the ones we trust to instruct our young people, sound like the horrible nuns in the Irish Mother and Baby Homes of last century, it bodes ill for the young women who give birth to their unplanned babies. Both mother and child can look forward to relentless and endless condemnation from these “respected elders of the Church.”
    That totally unexpected experience really made me reevaluate my opinion of the Church. Perhaps people have concerns with the motives of some “pro-lifers” because some representatives of the Church choose to be so harshly judgmental.

  7. Avatar Susan on January 23, 2021 at 9:45 AM

    I just saw a pro-lifer refer to Hispanics as bottom-feeders. If we Christians value human life, we would value every life including the refugees. Many of my pro-lifer friends hated the Black Lives Matter movement. I, confused. I thought every life was precious? So why would they not be marching with us?

    • Avatar HLI Staff on January 26, 2021 at 6:33 PM

      Susan, thank you for the input. As an international Catholic apostolate, HLI works tirelessly with and for people of all nationalities and cultural backgrounds. We have strong outreach and affiliates working throughout Central and South America, and do not condone such a reference. Likewise, every black life, like every other life, is precious and must be respected and protected. The Black Lives Matter movement demands justice but does not seem interested in saving unborn black lives. Sadly, in this country the injustice of abortion is more prevalent among African American women than any other population group. Many Planned Parenthood’s surgical abortion facilities are within walking distance of minority communities. Why the silence? Why not protest the killing of so many black babies? Black lives certainly do matter. All of them. Born and unborn.

  8. Avatar Richard Kane on February 16, 2021 at 5:25 PM

    Let’s encourage life. Banning guns or abortion rarely stops it. But the gun buyback program works, Romney wants one to get a stimulus check for a child prorated four months before birth. Let’s find ways of making choosing life more attractive

  9. Avatar Nils on March 8, 2021 at 1:18 PM

    Religious states are lead in charity donations only if you count tithing as charity. I’m sorry to sound harsh but making Kenneth Copeland even more rich is not the same as being charitable.

    Fertility rates are also nothing to be particularly proud of. The countries with the highest fertility rates are Niger, Somalia and Congo.

    Pro life is a valid stance on the subject but you’ve chosen some weird things to be proud of.

  10. Avatar Karen on June 18, 2021 at 12:49 PM

    My grandmother just delivered the 10th of her children to make it to adulthood. There were too many mouths to feed on my grandfather’s paycheck. The older kids dropped out of school to help put food on the table. Grandma went to the parish church for some food. My grandmother held my uncle in her arms and my mom came with to help carry whatever they rec’d home. My grandmother was turned away empty handed. Father at the door refused to help and told Grandma to get a job. A few months later, the kids found Grandma dead on the floor at 41 years old and at least 10 kids; God only knows how many of my aunts and uncles she miscarried. Mom always told us never to go to the private sector when you hit a rough spot b/c you won’t get any help. She told us that when we were on hard times, the government would be there to help. Mom talked from experience.

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