A Moral Rot Inside The Pro-Life Movement Has Been Thrust Into The Light – Above the Law

I have written before regarding the peculiarities of the focus of the pro-life movement. For example, insisting that the grossly failed policy of criminal prohibition is the only viable moral solution to abortion while at the same time rationing and restricting the best anti-abortion tool we have (birth control), strains credulity. Nevertheless, and for what it is worth, I personally do not blame most pro-life movement members for these peculiarities. In my personal experience, if you can get the facts in front of most pro-lifers (often no small feat), on things like the effectiveness of birth control versus prohibition in driving down abortion rates, they will generally support the most effective approach. The problem is the leaders of the pro-life movement consistently demonstrate they will not accept reason and the result is irreparable harm to the movement itself.

One of the most recognizable leaders of the pro-life movement in recent years has been David Green, CEO of the retail craft chain store Hobby Lobby. Green was thrust into the pro-life spotlight after he challenged, and eventually won against the Affordable Care Acts mandate that employers provide contraceptive care coverage. What is important to keep in mind, is that when the Hobby Lobby case was going before the Supreme Court, Green stated that it was his Christian beliefs that kept him from pay[ing] for certain forms of birth control that medically operates no differently than other forms of birth control and thus if he lost his case he would be facing fines that would logically force his business to shut down. In other words, Green argued during the Hobby Lobby case that his religious belief would not allow him to engage in an act that might end a life and thus if he had to provide contraception coverage to just one employee his business would face fines that would force closure.

In the pro-life world, it is obvious to see why Green became a lionized figure. I mean this guy stood up against the government based on a supposed deeply held religious abhorrence against doing anything that might end a life and won! During the past week, however, the shallowness and hypocrisy of Greens beliefs was laid bare for all to see. As has been already pointed out by Elizabeth Dye here in the pages of Above the Law, Green has decided that in the face of our current pandemic, all 900-plus Hobby Lobbys are staying open. Now I ask you to think about this for one second, a man who said he would face financial ruin and likely foreclosure rather than provide one employee with certain forms of birth control (because it might end a life) is now refusing to close his stores when it certainly means that by remaining open, he is substantially adding to a public health risk that will end lives. Make no mistake, the public health crisis we are currently facing is not the flu, the risk to life is great. Prioritizing a stand against contraception coverage over a stand against a pandemic cannot be rationally attributable to a person who views all life as some sacred gift.

As we have already seen, however, instead of calling out this behavior for what it clearly is many of the most prominent pro-life voices have chosen instead to defend Green and deny he is putting his profits over a clear risk to life. By defending the indefensible, these pro-life leaders/voices are, in my opinion, the cause of the pro-life movements failure to gain a wider acceptance. Adding to the absurdity is these same pro-life voices will advocate that others take a different path while utterly refusing to take that same path of compromise themselves (acknowledging the obvious that prohibition doesnt work would be a great start). Worse still, is that these leaders will praise states as pro-life strongholds based solely on their abortion stance while ignoring or refusing to mention grotesque examples of how these same states act as though life is anything but sacred. Or place a focus on issues like pornography, as a scourge deserving of constant attention while saying nothing about how the states they claim set such a fine moral example have literally institutionalized the rape and torture of women.

I guess the simple point to be made here is that if you want to be seen as pro-life you have to take pro-life stances consistently. David Green at Hobby Lobby has made clear the rotting hypocrisy, and counterintuitive thinking that plagues the pro-life movements leadership. Until and unless that hypocrisy and thinking is challenged by those inside the movement (I fully understand my limitations in this debate), pro-lifers can expect their movement to continue its contraction, rather than expansion. I remain on the side of life, I want to keep driving down abortion rates by giving human beings the tools to make their own procreation decisions. Will the pro-life movement acknowledge its faults and make room for me? If the actions of their leadership is any indicator the answer is a resounding no.

Tyler Brokers work has been published in the Gonzaga Law Review, the Albany Law Review, and is forthcoming in the University of Memphis Law Review. Feel free toemail himor follow him onTwitterto discuss his column.

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A Moral Rot Inside The Pro-Life Movement Has Been Thrust Into The Light - Above the Law

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