Pro-life versus pro-birth

At the Jan. 27 March for Life rally in Wash. D.C, Vice President Mike Pence declared that “Life is winning in America!” just days after President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning federal funds for organizations that provide abortion services worldwide, such as the International Planned Parenthood Foundation.

Despite the overwhelming religious rhetoric used by Pence and others at the march, Catholic nun Sister Joan Chittister underscored the hypocrisy in the pro-life movement, explaining on Public Broadcasting Service’s NOW with Bill Moyers, “[I]f all you want is a child born but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed…That’s not pro-life. That’s pro-birth.”

Leaders of the pro-life movement showcase their religious piety, but often fail to substantiate their pro-life stance when they do not advocate for policies that protect people’s lives. For example, in Wisc., Republicans campaigned to eliminate staple food items that the Women, Infants and Children program provides for low-income children. Of the 33 pro-life states that restrict public funding of abortion, 27 permit death sentences; Ind., where Pence was governor, is one of these states.

Furthermore, this movement is led by conservatives who prioritize their belief in small government over welfare programs for education, food, housing and universal healthcare that can better the lives of the children and mothers for whom they claim to fight. Yet, while they withhold funds from these social programs, they support military funding for campaigns that often destroy the lives of innocent civilians in other parts of the world. Even though many would argue that pro-military action protects American citizens, military funding is mainly allocated for acts of aggression and rarely to protect the lives of American veterans.

In addition, many members of the pro-life movement perpetuate a cycle that deteriorates the quality of life. The movement centers around religious fundamentalism, and thus, often fails to address sex education. This platform provides neither a means of preemptively avoiding unwanted pregnancies with accessible birth control through programs, such as the Affordable Care Act, nor access to childcare. Pro-life politicians’ mishandling of life in the most literal sense deteriorates life in actuality. The inconsistency in their platform blinds them from many factors, including nutrition, housing, education and parenting, that affect the quality of life beyond conception and birth.

Before the annual March for Life rally, over 20,000 people congregated at The National Prayer Vigil for Life, praying together until the rally began. The politicians who lead this cause have good intentions, but their intentions are unsubstantiated when they support life by funding wars and defunding programs for children and mothers