Yesterday, Students for Life of America’s Northwest Regional Coordinator, Lisa Atkins, was verbally attacked on campus while hosting the SFLA Fetal Pain Display, which discusses how preborn babies can feel pain in the womb. It has been a unifying display on campuses all over the country since usually both pro-choice and pro-life advocates can agree that abortion after 20 weeks gestation should be banned.
So this attack on Lisa and the students with her was a bit unexpected and unnerving, especially given the hostility of the man. While I doubt he would have listened to whatever Lisa was saying in response to his questions, we do want to answer them here.
First up – shouldn’t Pro-Life Advocates care about ending poverty?
Simple answer – yes, they should care. And usually they do. But Pro-Life advocates do not advocate ending abortion as an alternative to ending poverty. Virtually all Pro-Life advocates agree that ending abortion AND ending poverty are both righteous causes – and many of them actively donate their time and effort for both causes. However, those pro-abortion-choice advocates who present this false dilemma of, “Either you care about ending abortion OR you care about ending poverty” ARE in fact arguing that society ought to end poverty INSTEAD of ending abortion. Even worse is that in situations where the questioner is asking about your efforts to end poverty in an accusatory way it is creating an additional mixture of a loaded question as an implied personal attack. So in short, if you’re accusingly asking pro-life advocates (or, really, advocates of any cause) what they’re doing about poverty, or any other world problem, you’re kind of just being a jerk (and not clever).
Second topic – are Pro-Life Advocates trying to impose their beliefs on others?
If you want another simple answer – yes. But don’t jump to conclusions yet. There is a follow-up question: is it always WRONG to try to impose your beliefs on others? When it comes to decisions that only affect the decision-maker, most millennials probably agree that is when it is wrong to impose your beliefs on the decision-maker. But, what about decisions that bring harm to another human being, not the decision-maker? Isn’t that when it is okay, or even morally obligated, to impose the belief that innocent human beings ought to be protected from other people’s harmful decisions? Indeed, virtually everyone supports this principle – when they impose their belief that stealing from them is wrong by locking their house at night, when they impose their belief that police brutality is wrong by protesting, or even when they impose their belief that imposing your belief is wrong (“You’re trying to impose your beliefs on someone else, which is wrong!”)
When it comes to imposing your beliefs about abortion, the relevant question is, “Does abortion harm anyone besides the decision-maker?” The whole point of being a Pro-Life Advocate is to show people that abortion does harm, even kills, a defenseless, powerless, and innocent human being. If Pro-Life Advocates are correct in the very argument that defines them as Pro-Life Advocates, it is not wrong to impose this belief – in fact, it would be wrong to do nothing about this belief. It would be similar to doing nothing about child abuse.
So while the verbal attacks and faulty logic continue on campus, we will continue to be the voice of reason and welcome honest debate until abortion is ended. Our consciences won’t allow anything less.