On September 18th Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg lost her battle with pancreatic cancer, aged 87. Donald Trump nominated Amy Coney Barrett to replace Ginsburg. These are big decisions; the job of serving on the U.S Supreme Court is a lifetime appointment. Amy Coney Barrett has a reputation for being strongly Pro-life whereas Ginsburg consistently supported abortion rights. The appointment of a Supreme Court Justice is a newsworthy event even in ordinary times but with the U.S election around the corner, it’s an even bigger story. Republicans currently hold the White House and control of the U.S Senate and so there’s technically nothing stopping them from confirming a justice to the Supreme Court before November’s election. Democrats are demanding the position remain vacant until after the election. November’s election has the potential to give Democrats control of both the White House and the Senate.
The issue of abortion rights fires up voters on both sides of the debate.
Donald Trump, even while recovering from COVID-19 tweeted from the Walter Reed Hospital: PRO-LIFE! VOTE! Trump believes voters who are Pro-Life will support his agenda. Pro-life is usually just another label for being anti-abortion. Pro-life campaigners believe that life begins at conception and are seeking to protect innocent children whilst in the womb. It’s good that people want to protect children in the womb but I wonder if it’s possible to think about being pro-life from a bigger perspective.
A wider look at the issues
Some Americans are pro-life, but they are also pro-guns. In 2019 more than 15,000 Americans were killed by gun violence, a figure that doesn’t include suicides. That equates to 300 deaths a week, if such figures occurred in another country it would be considered a national tragedy but gun violence is part of America’s daily life. In 2012 in the state of Colorado a gunman walked into a cinema during a batman movie and opened fire. He killed 12 people and wounded 70. In 2018 in the state of Florida a nineteen-year-old former student walked into his old high school and went on a shooting spree. He killed 17 people and wounded 17 others. America is well known for its relaxed attitude toward gun control with many Americans asserting their right to bear arms. There are Americans who vote to protect children in the womb only to let them die in their classrooms from gun violence.
America’s politicians also fight mercilessly over healthcare. Approximately 30 million Americans have no health insurance and can’t afford the crippling costs of healthcare if they get sick. America has politicians who fight for children in the womb but not for their parents who can’t afford the costs of healthcare.
With COVID-19 raging across America, the issue of mask-wearing has become politicized. Many Americans who support Donald Trump's pro-life agenda are opposed to being forced to wear masks. Donald Trump himself has occasionally worn a mask and occasionally ridiculed the practice. Upon returning from hospital Donald Trump took off his mask despite still being infectious.
How genuine can your pro-life credentials be if you’re willing to put the lives of others at risk? It wasn’t just Trump who contracted COVID-19. His wife, four senior advisers, his press secretary, two military aides, two communication aides, two members of his housekeeping staff, his campaign adviser, and three US senators have tested positive for COVID-19. Wouldn't it be considerate of the lives of others by keeping a mask on while still infectious? Or even better continue to quarantine until tested as COVID negative? Can you simultaneously fight for the unborn while risking the lives of your staff? More than 200,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 since February. Given the scale of the tragedy surely you can’t be both pro-life and anti-masks?
To top it off some of American's fiercest pro-life advocates are anti-immigration. America has had instances of immigrant children being separated from their parents. Australia too has its own issues with immigration policy. How is it reasonable to fight for children in the womb but not fight for children in immigration detention? Why be selective about which children we fight for? Why not fight for all children in all locations? Surely all children deserve to be safe.
Some folks are pro-life but are simultaneously pro-guns, anti-healthcare, anti-immigration, and anti-masks. You have to wonder what sort of life they’re advocating for.
Being pro-life should mean so much more than being anti-abortion. Pro-life should include visiting prisoners, adopting orphans, respecting women, feeding the hungry, caring for the sick, caring for refugees, protecting the unborn, respecting the elderly, opposing violence, and protecting our communities from disease. Be pro-life for all people, at all times from the womb to the tomb.
Travis Barnes lives in central Victoria with his wife and two daughters. He is a contributor for Christian Today and a sportswriter.