There are few issues as polarizing in the United States as that of abortion. Many of Americans have seen unproductive arguments on tv and within our own communities over the status of human life before birth and its implications for people everywhere-men, women, and children.
The Human Life Review recently hosted a panel discussion at Columbia University titled “Transcending Partisan Politics in the Pro-Life Movement”, bringing together five panelists with a variety of political leanings to discuss the Pro-Life movement–Professor Charles Camosy (Fordham University), Maria Maffucci (Human Life Review), Carol Crossed (Feminists Choosing Life New York), Mollie Hemingway (The Federalist), and moderator Chris White (Catholic Voices, USA).
The false binary of the politics of this issue in the United States usually frames this discussion. However, this panel deconstructed that and discussed the variety of opinions held on this issue from people affiliated with various political parties and leanings. Within this false binary system, the status of life before birth and its implications becomes a game of red versus blue rather than a serious moral question facing all peoples. This alignment, is one panelist Charles Camosy problematized in his opening remarks. Prof. Camosy brought up polls that reveal that these terms and their alignment with their respective parties end up obscuring significant consensus amongst most Americans–that at the very least, abortion should be restricted after twenty weeks. With this start, the panelists examine this life issue from their own various political leanings. For all the panelists, the life of pre-born humans takes precedence over any political ideology about the role of government in society.
This panel discussion truly fulfilled its intended goal. By including panelists who hold a variety of political values who shared common ground on their strong belief in the human dignity of women and the lives of the pre-born, the discussion addressed many problems the Pro-Life movement faces and will face while suggesting paths to success outside of the political binary. Panelist Mollie Hemingway of The Federalist, suggested that this issue could see the emergence of a Pro-Life party, bringing together people from all and no political parties united on their advocacy for the protection of all lives.
The panel left me thinking about the “pro” preposition to “Pro-Life”. While often this movement is defined by its opposition to abortion, in reality it is so much more than that. “Pro-Life” is a movement working to build a culture of life in the United State and abroad, affirming the human dignity all, especially that of women and children. It works for a society in which all the lives of all members are protected and supported. One in which every women in pregnancy, however unplanned, unexpected or underprivileged, is never marginalized but supported, valued, and celebrated.
This movement, one that WYA is a part of, is a positive one. It is a movement dedicated building a society that affirms the dignity of every human person in all stages and circumstances of life. As a new intern in WYA’s headquarters, I look forward to being a part of that.
Written by Andrea Arellano, a 2016 batch 3 North America intern.