A Study in Contrasts

How Pro-Life and Pro-Abortion Proponents Express Their Philosophies

A Study in Contrasts

How Pro-Life and Pro-Abortion Proponents Express Their Philosophies

By John D. Martin

Americans who doubted that philosophy drives behavior have certainly gotten a lesson this summer in the obvious truth that “worldview will out.”

In the weeks that passed between the leak of the draft and the release of the final opinion in the Dobbs case, violent threats emanating from those who deny, reject, denigrate, and destroy life included an assassination attempt against a Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, attacks on pro-life pregnancy centers, arson, and face-to-face personal violence against those who affirm, welcome, celebrate, and strive to protect life.

For weeks, these attacks were met with a near-absolute refusal on the part of the Department of Justice to enforce laws that deter such violence. This case of law-enforcement foot-dragging only came to an end when the FBI was cajoled into action by Republican lawmaker in mid-June, 44 days after the vandalism and violence began.

Once the opinion was issued, the severity and frequency of attacks and threats continued to escalate. As reported in the Guardian, Politico, the Wall Street Journal, and many other outlets, more attacks can be expected. There was even a cyberattack on the state governments of Kentucky and Arkansas by hackers who named the Dobbs Decision as their motivation.

These crimes and threats were often foul-mouthed displays of irrational histrionics about the “loss of reproductive rights” (as if having a baby tortured to death amounted to reproductive success). Some of them seemed almost demonic in their willingness to revel in the murder of children. Then there was the risibly absurd assertion by the Speaker of the House that the Supreme Court’s decision somehow betrayed democracy by…allowing legislators (like herself) to legislate on abortion for the first time in fifty years.

And the responses on the pro-life side? There were celebrations , worship and thanksgiving outside the Supreme Court building, calls to action to help expectant mothers and unborn babies – like this one, this other one, and this one, and legal analysis commending the decision for its logic and faithfulness to the Constitution.

The contrast between the two worldviews has been thrown into sharp relief by these public responses to the Dobbs ruling: One side is thrilled that the unborn, the most innocent and defenseless class of human beings, can now be protected under state laws against this particularly cruel form of murder by torture, while the other is raging with hatred and mendacity because they must now defend this murderous practice before state legislatures.

A Clear Pattern

In a way, this is unsurprising. Leftism has a long history of using violence and intimidation as its methods of first recourse. As J.D. Heyes noted at NaturalNews.com, commenting on the reaction to the Dobbs leak in May:

The difference between political activism on the left and right can be summed up with a single word: ‘Violence.’

The right seeks to convince others their policy prescriptions are the best by using reasoning, logic, examples and superior arguments. The left doesn’t care about debate, logic or reasoning and instead instinctively resorts to violence in order to force their will on others.

Case in point: Rather than press their elected representatives to do more to protect abortion rights (why anyone would want to is something else altogether) after a leaked draft Supreme Court opinion earlier this week indicated a majority of justices support overturning the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, leftist organizations are planning to go to justices’ homes to scream, shout and pressure them into reversing their decision.

Of course, Heyes’s remarks only describe general tendency in the expression of the pro-life and anti-life philosophies. And a determined critic from the anti-life camp could dig up unflattering representatives of the pro-life cause or even reports of pro-lifers who resorted to bombing abortion clinics and murdering abortionists. What this type of tu quoque fallacy seeks to obscure is the moral fact that acts such as those are in deep conflict with the philosophical (and theological) propositions undergirding the pro-life worldview, while the acts of those setting fire to pro-life maternity homes and crisis pregnancy centers are entirely consonant with their worldview and the misanthropic philosophy from which it proceeds.

This point needs to be made emphatically and often: The logical consequences of a pro-life worldview are compassion, love, and joyful acceptance of new human lives, while the logical consequences of a pro-abortion worldview are hatred, rage, and violence toward those lives and those who would protect them. The anti-life crowd is showing us what their vision and worldview generates.

Pro-lifers also need to be wise about the lies that are being promulgated about the effects this ruling. The Dobbs ruling only returns the question of abortion to the States. This clearly refutes the hyperbolic claim that the ruling “makes abortion illegal.” If you have to remind anti-lifers of this again and again, remind them again and again.

Another fallacious claim that has been repeated frequently is that Dobbs now makes it illegal to treat ectopic pregnancies. This claim is particularly dishonest for the simple reason that treating an ectopic pregnancy is not an abortion and never has been. Likewise, the claim that bans on abortion would lead to criminal prosecution of women who miscarry can only be advanced out of ignorance or dishonesty. And the assertions that states with abortion bans make no exception in the case of significant risk to the mother’s life? The truth is, well, the opposite of that.  

Disabusing people of their misconceptions and debunking lies about the new state of legal affairs in 2022 is of course important, but equally important in the days to come will be continuing to make the pro-life case out of love and not giving in to the temptation to respond to evil with evil of our own.

Borrowing from President Lincoln, it is time for charity toward all and malice toward none. We defenders of the unborn have won a profound and long-sought victory this year. Rejoicing is appropriate - and deserved - but we of biblical faiths have a command from our God and our scriptures to always be merciful (Proverbs 25:21, 2 Chronicles 28:15, Matthew 5:44 and Romans 12:20 among other passages). We are defending an ethic of compassion and mercy. Let us exercise it.

is a professional translator, missionary, and writer living in Germany, where he works with several different ministries, and lives in a Christian intentional community. He has written academic articles on medieval literature and culture and has published essays in Salvo, First Things, and Boundless. He is a native of Indiana.

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