By: Catherine Phillips, Students for Life of America’s 2012 Missionary for Life
I used to cringe at the accusation that I am a “one-issue voter,” and I still don’t like being called that. It carries such a negative connotation, and I make a deliberate effort to be an informed, tolerant, and concerned citizen. I would not say that I am a one-issue voter; instead, I vote my according to my conscience, and my conscience puts life first. I don’t think it is at all ignorant to put the issue of life first. In fact, I happen to believe (and think you should too) that if we are really pro-life, our first consideration in a candidate should be their stance on abortion. The following is a brief defense of that position, and why it matters in the 2012 election.
Here’s a scenario: Say there was a candidate who had made incredible strides for the nation, through improving the economy, reducing national debt dramatically, solving much of our education crisis, and more. He possessed a brilliant mind, compassionate presence, and tactful strategy that made him beloved and highly respected. But, what he had accomplished was all due in large part to hundreds of thousands of slaves who were unpaid and worked in factories across the nation under horrific conditions. Would you vote him into office?
I know this is a fictional and quite extreme scenario, but it begs the question: Is there really any amount of good that can justify an inherent evil? And can we really in good conscience vote for a candidate who supports an inherent evil, despite any amount of good that he has done or will do?
I don’t have space in this blog post to make anywhere near a complete case against abortion, and why it is inherently wrong. But if you are already even somewhat convinced that abortion is wrong, voting pro-life matters. And keep in mind that 92% of abortions in America are elective—that is, chosen by healthy women to end the lives of healthy children (and that is according to the Guttmacher Institute, the abortion industry’s own research arm).
Foreign policy, the economy, job creation, education, immigration, national security, healthcare etc. These issues definitely matter, and as voters, we should weigh our decisions around these issues very carefully. However, decisions around these issues are not black and white, that is, they’re not always right or always wrong. Good people can hold varying opinions on what is best for the country and the American people.
Abortion, on the other hand, comes down to the question: do you truly believe that abortion is wrong? Here’s the thing. If we really deeply believe that all human life has intrinsic value, and that abortion is always wrong, there is no way we can, in good conscience, vote for a candidate who supports abortion.
Again, the essential question is: is abortion an injustice or not? If the taking of 3,700 preborn lives every day is something we believe needs to be stopped, we cannot justify voting for a candidate who does not see it as an injustice, just as we could not vote for the fictional candidate who was a hero to the country and yet participated in modern-day slavery. Or suppose that in the scenario the candidate refused to prosecute rapists, or child abusers. We wouldn’t even think of voting for a person who tolerated such flawed policies! So why do we allow ourselves to justify the innately flawed worldview that abortion is tolerable? A pro-choice politician may have some seemingly genius ideas, but I just don’t think I can trust him or her to make decisions on behalf of all the American people when they will not even acknowledge that preborn people have the right not to be killed.
It truly is difficult to own the statement “I vote pro-life first.” But I hope that you will be able to courageously deflect whatever criticism you may receive from others with the conviction that protecting human life matters more than any other issue. Respecting life is not a political “issue”…it is a human responsibility.
Finally, this human responsibility to protect life will never be more important than in the 2012 election. Barack Obama is the most pro-abortion President we have ever had, and that is no secret. NARAL, an organization devoted to protecting and extending abortion rights nationwide, has given him a 100% rating every year on his pro-choice views, and he and Planned Parenthood (which does 27% of all U.S. abortions) are inextricably tied together. The last four years in this country he has taken actions to immensely expand the abortion industry’s reach. Additionally, passing of Obamacare is the largest expansion of abortion rights since Roe v. Wade. I encourage everyone to do some research on Obama’s radical support for abortion, and to really think about where you stand before this November. Because if you stand for life, your vote will matter.