One of the most hackneyed, robotic comments that I hear from “pro-choice” advocates, including fellow Catholics and other pro-abortion Christians, is that those of us who are pro-life are “one issue advocates.” This is akin to saying that you cannot walk and chew gum at the same time. But let’s address this common statement to see if it meets logical scrutiny. What is the “pro-choice” person saying when they make such statements? Well, for one, they’re saying that they’re having a hard time coming up a case for why they’re not pro-life. This complaint usually comes up at election time when the ”pro-choice” advocates accuse us of not voting for their candidate based only on the pro-life issue.
Let’s break down the argument to its lowest component. If a candidate for public office is a racist and correct on all other issues, would someone be correct in not voting for that person? Would not that person be accused of being a “one issue” advocate? If another candidate for public office is an anti-Semite and correct on all other issues, would one be accused of being a “one issue” advocate if one automatically disqualified that candidate for public office?
The issue here is not being a “one issue” advocate, the issue is a significant misalignment of the moral compass. The “pro-choice” advocate believes that being “pro-choice” is a minor issue not worthy of concern. The pro-life advocate considers the issue to be of the highest importance.
Monsignor George Trabold, Pastor of St. Rose of Lima Church in Short Hills, New Jersey, in an article in the Catholic Advocate of October 25, 2000 stated that “ Respect for life is not a “single issue campaign.” Respect for life is the only issue. Respect for life infuses every issue in our political consideration.”
“Pro-choice” advocates cannot defend their position so they respond with derision and ad hominem attacks to pro-life advocates. An accusation that one is a “one issue” advocate when it comes to pro-life issues is meant as a subtle ad hominem attack. We must be careful not to respond in kind to such attacks. I like to use the method of asking questions of my opponents, what Greg Kokul calls, the “Columbo method.” I would ask this person, if they could help me clarify the issue. When do they believe that life begins? At birth? What evidence can they point to prove their point? Have they ever seen a picture of an aborted baby? Would they say that that aborted baby was a human life?
I like to tell my opponents that I’m open to be convinced if I’m shown convincing evidence of my opponent’s position. I never use scripture to try to convince a pro-choice person of my position, not because it is not important, but because you do not need scripture to prove that life begins at conception, but also because non-believers will dismiss scripture as unreliable. Science has already proven that life begins at conception. Most “pro-choice” advocates respect scientific proof. You will be hard pressed to find a scientist, even “pro-choice” ones, who deny this fact. All you have to do is look up the information in any embryology textbook.
I’d like to address the concept, usually accepted by the “pro-choice” folks, that the pro-life position is not important. Many liberal Christians believe that serving the poor and the dignity of a living person is more important. The immigration advocates, for instance, believe this. Liberation Theology is a form of liberal Christianity that believes that taking care of the poor is what Christ commanded us to do and if we do this we’ve completed the great commandment of Christ. These same people are the ones who will tell you that the minimum wage is a dignity of life issue and at the same time tell you that the unborn baby is not an important issue at all. What we have here is a failure to grasp the important moral issues of our time. If we do not defend life what is there to defend? If we do not have life we will never be poor, we’ve solved the poverty problem by killing life before it starts.
At the end of World War II General Dwight Eisenhower ordered that as many pictures as could be taken were taken of the Holocaust atrocities that he found – the reason: “Because the day will come when some son of a b…. will say that this never happened.” I want to be clear that I am not comparing a “pro-choice” person with a Holocaust denier, but the similarity is breathtaking, if you look at it. As Fr. Frank Pavone, Director of Priests for Life, states: “America will not reject abortion until America sees abortion. ” Can anyone look at pictures of aborted babies and say, no, this is a choice? The sad truth is that our culture refuses to look at pictures of abortion – they call this “offensive.” Such pictures can never be shown to kids at Catholic or Protestant schools for fear of getting the anger of parents for shocking the kids. Pro-life advocates who show such pictures are usually called “extremists.”
We need to reclaim our culture by looking at what abortion does, until then we’re no better than the person who denies the Holocaust and our culture will remain a culture of death.