Will Somebody Please Be Consistent | Sojourners

Will Somebody Please Be Consistent

Many plead, "Will somebody please be consistent about issues of life and death? Where did all the anti-war folks go when the abortion issue came along? And why can't the conservatives who oppose abortion understand the immorality of nuclear weapons?"

Good news: Somebody is consistent. There really are people who are pro-life in a consistent way. They think that the child in the womb, the prisoner on death row, the elderly, the poor, and everyone threatened by the bomb (which is to say all of us) have a right to life. They believe that life is sacred, or a great joy, a wondrous experience, an exciting adventure, or all of these things.

Jesse Jackson and Dick Gregory are consistently pro-life. So are Richard Neuhaus, Graciela Olivarez, Sen. Mark Hatfield, Rep. Mary Rose Oakar, and others who do not fit the neat media stereotype of a Left which opposes every kind of violence except abortion.

Some pro-lifers on the Left are strongly influenced by religious teaching, whether by specific theological positions or by a general spirit of reverence for life. Others are influenced chiefly by medical and scientific evidence that the fetus is a human being.

Some feminists believe that abortion exploits women, both physically and psychologically. They say that "freedom of choice" is a mockery when so many teenagers are pressured by their parents, and older women by husbands or boyfriends, to abort children they want to bear and raise.

Some radicals view societal pressure for abortion as an ultimate cop-out whereby the establishment tries to eliminate poverty by eliminating poor people. A radical organizer, herself from a poor background, recently said of legalized abortion: "Of all the rights that poor people have demanded...this is the right that we've never asked for but we got."

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