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I’m a Pro-Life Democrat: No, That Is Not an Oxymoron

John, one of my wife’s younger brothers, was murdered yesterday. John was the supervisor of a welding shop. It seems that one of his employees took issue with John over a work order, and rather than calmly discussing his disagreement, the employee snuck up behind John with a knife and stabbed him in the throat.

John—married and the father of three sons and grandfather to one—introduced me to his sister, my wife of 41 years. For that blessing, I never could have fully repaid John. And now I’ll never again be able to try doing so.

John is gone because one man chose a violent rather than rational response to a task that would have inconvenienced him.

Now I’m going to write something most readers of this post will disagree with. But please don’t tune me out yet or respond in anger.

Both sides in the recently re-fueled debate over abortion rights are responding more out of anger than in a calm, rational manner.

Both Sides are Wrong, Both Need to Stop and Listen

Both sides in the recently re-fueled debate over abortion rights are responding more out of anger than in a calm, rational manner. Conservatives rage at liberals, accusing them of being cold-blooded baby killers. Liberals fume at conservatives over their regressive lack of concern for a woman’s right to choose whether she wants to give birth. In my view, both sides are right … and wrong. And both sides need to calm down and listen to one another. Talk; don’t react with anger and violence.

According to most medical experts, the heart of a human fetus begins beating at about six weeks after conception and can be heard distinctly by the tenth week. I believe that a beating heart is evidence of a viable life, and that viable life should be protected. I know I’m in the minority, but sometimes the majority is wrong.

So, when it comes to protecting the life of the unborn, I side with the conservatives. But I break with them regarding how society—and the government—should deal with the abortion/pro-life debate. In general, conservatives push for abortion bans, but that’s where their “pro-life” position comes to a callous halt. They pride themselves on saving the baby from a cruel dismemberment and piece-by-piece suction from the womb. Their work is done.

Don’t Abandon the Baby After It’s Born

But then that baby needs a home—and a parent or parents who can properly care for him or her. Well, conservatives contend, if the parents can’t afford to raise the child, they should have kept their clothes on. As if they’ve never acted in the passion of the moment. And as if the family—including the new addition—should suck it up and budget better to make ends meet … on a minimum wage job.

Liberals, on the other hand, while they advocate for a woman’s right to choose, also advocate for better living conditions for everyone—and, yes, often that requires government involvement. This is why—even allowing for liberals’ advocacy of abortion rights—abortion rates tend to be lower during Democratic administrations than during Republican administrations. Liberals push for a living wage for all workers. Liberals promote programs that help low-wage workers and single parents who might find themselves with an unexpected mouth to feed.

Conservatives tend to oppose such measures, declaring them to be beyond what they believe to be the limited scope of government responsibilities. Conservatives must be challenged when they try to have it both ways. Liberals mustn’t let conservatives get away with insisting on women giving birth to babies they can’t afford and then opposing government programs that would help those struggling mothers.

Please Take a Moment to Listen

I suspect this brief missive will not immediately change the minds—or hearts—of anyone on either side of the debate. But I hope and pray it will cause some to set aside passion-fueled opinions and consider whether there might be at least some merit to what the other side is arguing for.

In the name of my dear departed brother-in-law John—the victim of a man who chose to react in anger rather than calm, rational dialogue—I plead with both sides on the abortion debate to set a seat at the metaphorical table for those who hold a different view. Let peace reign.

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