News & Politics

Trump, the March for Life, and the Inconsistency of the Left’s 'Consistent Pro-Life Ethic'

Trump, the March for Life, and the Inconsistency of the Left’s 'Consistent Pro-Life Ethic'
President Donald Trump speaks at the "March for Life" rally, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020, on the National Mall in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

President Trump’s appearance at the March for Life Friday has the left in the predictable tizzy. Aside from the expected huffing and puffing over Trump’s “hypocrisy,” as if everyone else at the March for Life was entirely sinless, some leftists have hauled out that hoary old chestnut that we see every year around this time: the “consistent pro-life ethic,” that is, the claim that you can’t oppose abortion unless you sign on to every other aspect of the left’s agenda. If you don’t, you’re just not pro-life, you see.

If fetuses are human beings and therefore abortion is murder, as all the scientific evidence demonstrates, then this is as absurd as saying, “You cannot consistently oppose murder unless you’re for raising taxes and expanding the power of the federal government.”

In fact, that is exactly what these leftists are saying. Rebecca Bratten Weiss, who describes herself as a “writer, farmer, freelance academic, and Christian rebel,” says she was “involved in the pro-life movement for much of my life. I have bused in to Washington for the March, participated in Life Chain, protested outside clinics. I voted Republican dutifully for many years, even though I didn’t like the Republicans much, because of my belief that the right to life is foundational, natural, and irrevocable.”

Now, however, “people say that pro-lifers are really only pro-birth, and don’t care about other life issues such as war, gun violence, rape, immigration, or poverty. And now the pro-life movement is hailing as their hero a man who cuts benefits for poor families, loosens firearm regulations, cages immigrants, deports the innocent, pals around with dictators, and has repeatedly expressed his willingness to commit war crimes.”

The notorious Fr. James Martin, S.J., broadened this criticism in a tweet Friday morning: “Why am I pro life? Because every life is sacred. From the unborn child, to the poor child in the slum, to the endangered migrant at the border, to the LGBT person contemplating suicide, to the inmate on death row. All life is a gift from God.” He linked to an article he published last year, in which he said: “So my respect for life extends to all people, but most especially those whose lives are at risk: the unborn child, to be sure, but also the refugee whose life is threatened by war, the L.G.B.T. young person tempted to commit suicide, the homeless person whose life is endangered by malnutrition, the uninsured sick person with no health care, the elderly person in danger of being euthanized, the inmate on death row. I have come to value all life, from conception to natural death, and believe that our laws should reflect this important principle.”

All right. So a “consistent pro-life ethic” means that one has to “care about other life issues such as war, gun violence…immigration,” and not just to care about them, but to endorse the left’s remedies for these problems: cutting the defense budget so as to render us vulnerable in the face of our enemies and disarming the people so as to increase that vulnerability, all the while opening our borders to mass migration, including that of criminals who will terrorize the unarmed population, bringing in large numbers of people and thereby decreasing the job opportunities available to Americans, and increasing their poverty.

Why is it “pro-life” to bring in unvetted migrants, but not pro-life to care for the Americans who will suffer as a result? Rebecca Bratten Weiss doesn’t say. Likewise, Fr. Martin doesn’t explain why he is concerned about “the uninsured sick person with no health care,” but not about the person who has to bear a crushing tax burden in order to pay for his favorite government-run health care scheme, or for the doctor who is expected to labor for severely reduced wages in order to provide this “free” service, or for those who will be reduced to lives of poverty and degradation as a result. Don’t those people matter? Isn’t Fr. Martin “pro-life”? He is worried about “the inmate on death row,” but apparently not for those who will be brutalized or killed by that inmate if he is released, or for those who have to bear the economic burden of feeding, clothing, and housing that inmate for 50 or 60 years if he is imprisoned for life.

Karl Marx is said to have advised his followers: “Accuse your enemy of what you are doing.” That adage certainly applies to the left’s “consistent pro-life ethic.” It isn’t actually consistently pro-life at all; it is simply socialist internationalism masquerading in moral and ethical garb. While the left brays about Trump’s supposed hypocrisy for appearing at the March for Life, it is important to recall who the real hypocrites are.

Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of 19 books, including the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is The Palestinian Delusion: The Catastrophic History of the Middle East Peace Process. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.