“Pro Life” Really Isn’t

Those of us who champion individual autonomy and the right of a woman to make her own reproductive decisions often point to the hypocrisy of a movement that labels itself “pro life,” but expresses concern only when that “life” precedes birth.

Many of the same people who express touching concern for a blastula or fetus consistently oppose measures to ameliorate threats to the lives and health of the already-born. This disconnect strongly suggests that their real goal is control of women, not protection of life or the unborn.

Well, we have a new bit of evidence strengthening that claim of hypocrisy, and –unsurprisingly–it involves Mike Pence, Indiana’s contribution to the disaster that is the Trump Administration.

A bipartisan effort to stabilize the U.S. health-insurance markets collapsed last month after anti-abortion groups appealed directly to Vice President Mike Pence at the 11th hour, The Daily Beast has learned.

Amid opposition from conservatives in the House of Representatives, a group of pro-life activists met with Pence to lobby the Trump administration against supporting a health-insurance market-stabilization bill on the grounds that it does not contain sufficient language on abortion restrictions, according to sources with direct knowledge of the meeting. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was also in attendance at the Dec. 19 meeting, three of the sources said.

The next day, key lawmakers involved in crafting the legislation announced they were punting on the issue until 2018.

You may be wondering what the stabilization measure–which is intended to prevent thirteen million people from losing their health insurance due to a provision of the tax bill–has to do with abortion. And of course, in a sane world, the answer would be, nothing. But the supposedly “pro-life” activists who met with Pence last month were opposed to the bill because some of the subsidies in the stabilization legislation (known as cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments) might go to health plans that fund abortions.

This is how Pence’s Party–formerly known as the GOP–protects “life.”

These lawmakers are willing to see thirteen million Americans lose their health insurance if that’s what it takes to prevent private-sector insurance companies from covering abortions (many of which are medically indicated in order to save the life or health of the mother).

There are numerous studies which estimate the number of deaths that are a direct consequence of lack of health insurance.

A 2012 familiesUSA study shows that more than 130,000 Americans died between 2005 and 2010 because of their lack of health insurance. The number of deaths due to a lack of coverage averaged three per hour and the issue plagued every state. Other studies have shown those statistics to be high or low, but all studies agree: In America the uninsured are more likely to die than those with insurance.

So how, exactly, is blocking a measure that would prevent these very predictable deaths “pro life”? Elevating the value of the unborn over the value of existing men, women and children isn’t “pro life”–even if you believe that human life begins at the very instant that a sperm and egg unite–it is rather obviously “pro fetal life.”

More accurately, it’s a war on women’s autonomy. And like all wars, it will take the lives of many innocent, already-born people.

There are certainly people who are truly pro-life. They oppose abortion–but they also oppose the death penalty. They support full funding for CHIP.  They support programs to feed hungry children.

Fanatics like Pence aren’t pro-life in any meaningful sense. They are anti-women and pro-paternalism.


  1. I will only briefly repeat a statement I made on an earlier blog on this same issue; my 24 year old granddaughter Jennifer died at 5 months pregnant having seizures. She knew the dangers of fatal seizures was increased with her pregnancy but opted to try to carry her daughter to term. This was not long before Pence pushed his “pro-life”/”anti-abortion” bill through to enactment. How many young women have been forced to maintain a life-threatening pregnancy due to the interference of this bunch of pseudo religious Bible thumpers? How many young women and their fetuses or babies are just as dead as my Jennifer and my great-granddaughter? Will we ever see the statistics; is anyone maintaining these statistics? I ask the same question about the loss of lives of those who sought an illegal abortion.

  2. And, if there is anything good to come of the Trump-Pence debacle, it will be the exposure of this and other forms of bigotry, xenophobia, homophobia and sexism of today’s GOP and its eventual defeat at the polls. Another illuminating example is the recent reference to Haiti and other predominantly black/brown countries of “s***hole” by Trump and the nonexistent or tepid response of GOP leaders.

  3. Over and over again we see the same trait on display by those who support the Republican Party… hypocrisy. It has become the color of ever policy, oozing out of pronouncements and presidential statements. It screams from the lips of every Senator and Congressman by their silence in the face of racism, treason, and warmongering. It resounds from the pulpits of evangelical churches and fundamentalist organizations.

    Behind the hypocrisy is delusion. It is the delusion of extremist religion, extremist ideology, and extremist racist views. The delusion is propagated with the support of billionaires, greedy businessmen, ignorant sops and needy haters. Sadly, the cards are stacked in their favor because it is easier to be against something than to be for it. So the easy way is the road most traveled even by those who should know better.

    We sure have our work cut out for us.

  4. another attempt,or just a ongoing attempt,to control people,by a religious org. remarkable how politicians today,side with the likes of double talking religious zeolots who see controling any situation as their need to be god like. as a non believer,( and dont even think im not seriously into this issue of god,)my many discussions on both sides with believers,and non believers, has made a two way street. though, my view of thease discussions,leave me with people who want to control ones destiny as merely using religion to further their need to control people. The bible may have been written to further a moral agenda,and stories that can make one believe,whatever they were drinking,id take two. as the pulpit rains both good and bad upon seated patrons,amazed at words that both condem and enlighten,one would only need to fulfill ones happiness,by helping someone who really needs it,and not shoving guilt,stigma,condemnation on some person in need of a personal moment to decide the need of their own lives,and not by others intent on only self satisfaction and a religious excuse. ive personally been confronted protesters at a abortion clinc,by being just there. my words,do some good now,help a homeless person,donate some time to a org that actully is doing something,help a vet get to a appointment,donate to a food bank,dont stand here interfering with people who dont need your crap…

  5. Sandy; if you want to prove your point, stand strong and use the word SHIT as the president did. His neo-Nazism, White Nationalist and KKK blatant support is used by his followers to support racism and bigotry nationwide. How long before he uses the “f-bomb” – that is FUCK – in a meeting with our “leaders” and that leaks out. An AOL news item about Anderson Cooper originally used the term “shithole”; a few moments ago it popped up with “s-hole”. Call these people currently in charge of all of us by their true names; this is no time for being nicer or warm-and-fuzzy – it is a cover up of the truth – it is Trump’s “alternate facts” and we need to avoid doing that, even if it means repeating offensive language.

  6. We have a conundrum in the titles that each side has taken to describe themselves. Pro-life is only pro pre-birth life. Pro-choice may actually be pro-life, it’s up to you to decide. The “Pro-life” conservatives have done a much better job of marketing than the “Pro-choice” side has. It is all a con job by the best salesmen the world has ever seen, today’s Republican Party.

  7. If life was so sacred, we would all live forever.

    I can’t believe we STILL have to protest this SHIT, Damnit.

  8. I get more angry by the day at religious fanatics who believe they have the right to control everyone else, yet rarely abide by their own set of rules.

    TAX the churches!

    pence is evil – there is no other way to describe that empty headed waste of air space that he inhabits.

  9. Word has it that Fake President Donald Trump has championed the use of four-letter words in today’s political world. His Vice Presidential whipping boy has added a few words to the list: anal … bang … butt … crap … dong … and dyke. Pence will add more words to the list when he gets past the “D” words in the dictionary. Those in a position to know do not feel Trump’s vocabulary will improve, because he does not know the meanings of words with more than four letters.

    What do you mean that “four letter words” was not the topic of today’s blog?

  10. We do need to know all Donald Trump is doing and saying, what he says changes with such frequency I am sure many of his statements get missed in the onrush. This morning on “Morning Joe”, one guest was a member of Trump’s staff named Heidi, her response to questions regarding Trump’s denied “shithole” statement was, “That was Donald Trump being Donald Trump. It was a closed meeting and he didn’t think his words would become public.” Well; I do agree with part of her statement – “…he didn’t think…”

    While all of this is vital to “transparency in government” we seem to have lost sight of Mike Pence. His campaign foundation, in addition to supporting Trump’s racism and bigotry, was that he will take his Indiana state level anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ laws to the federal level. Where is Pence, what is he doing – IS he doing anything but stand behind Trump’s speech making? Are not the actions, and inactions, of the Vice President not of national importance; especially considering his stand on two vital issues, anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ rights. Will he push these actions through, via Trump, or is he saving them to become his legacy as president. We need to be looking into Pence’s activities as deeply as Trump’s and his administration. Learning success, failure and/or consequences of Pence’s Indiana state laws may lead us to their current status…somewhere within the White House.

  11. Some good news: Donald Trump cancels London visit amid protest fears. The reason blame Obama. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jan/12/donald-trump-visit-to-london-called-off-amid-fears-of-mass-protests
    Any way back to the subject. Paul Ryan said: “This is going to be the new economic challenge for America: People. . . . I did my part, but we need to have higher birth rates in this country.” As some one put it (sarcastically) – women need to lie back and think of America.

    Years ago my wife and I were part of Indiana’s foster care system. We had two foster children. At the time the foster care system had far more children in it than adults willing to be foster parents. Some of these children were available for adoption. So on one occasion, I got snippy with a pro-life type and asked how many foster children had they taken in?? How many children had they adopted??? I did not receive an answer, so I suspected the answer was none.

    The system, I believe it was called DCS (Department of Children and Family Services) was horribly under staffed and underpaid given all the demands and stress placed on the case workers. Turn over was high among the case workers. The bible thumpers do not seem to be bothered at all by the lack of funding for the living child.

    The bible thumpers fight it all with their twisted minds. Sex education is forbidden, as if the teachers hand out copies of the Kama Sutra and say have fun. Birth control they fight it, some little hussy may be committing a sin by having sex. (Men are left out of this part of the equation)

  12. Jo Ann, Mike Dense, was recently in Afghanistan at the Bagram Military base. It was just a quick drive by so to speak. He (Mike Dense) planned the trip in secret and flew in on an unmarked C-17 transport plane to minimise security risks. Gee after 17 years of fighting in Afghanistan, Dense has to sneak in.

    Dense also said, “But today, let me assure you: President Trump has your back.” Ohh, those words must stirred up the warrior spirit. The Draft Dodger in chief – Mr. Bone Spurs has your back. That, he has your back I believe in a perverse literal sense. The Trumpet’s back in Mar A Lago far from the actual battle fields, doing his part – golfing.

  13. I can’t help but believe that when our times are tallied by historians they will conclude this: in those times it was revealed fully, though it had been understood by some for decades, that the human species tends towards extremism, the avoidance of nuanced thought, the black and white perspective of a gray world. In normal times that tendency is latent, held in check by intellectual culture and our need for social connection. In those times those cultural adaptations were excused away by a snow ball that turned into an avalanche by business success. In the 80s a failing sports announcer became an entertainment fountain of wealth by demonstrating to the gullible the inner power of primal emotions, unrestrained anger and fear directed tribally at “others”. Once that business model demonstrated such financial success it was emulated time and time again on the all but fully pervasive media, another trend of the times, until it became a cultural tsunami overwhelming the social dams that had contained it.

    The rest of the story will be the record of our descent into…….

  14. Nobody, today, mentioned the gutting and attacks on Planned Parenthood. PP is used as the foil for Republican attacks on abortion, even though only 7% of what they do involves that procedure. Moreover, most public schools place strong limits on sex education and private schools even less.

    It seems that promoting contraception and making it easily available to everyone solves many of these issues. But no. Religions don’t want to talk about sex or preventing pregnancies. They just want to control women’s behaviors because, after all, it’s all their fault. GRRRR.

  15. Pence is the Presidential substitute-in-chief for all things military/law enforcement and, now, diplomatic (if we actually have a diplomatic corps anymore). He is the one who goes to the overseas military bases, visits Israel, spends the majority of his time (unless he needs to cast the deciding vote in the Senate) speaking to groups who by their very nature are authoritarian, greeted with fawning deference by the officers in charge as well as the troops themselves. It is truly frightening.

    He is pro-birth, not pro-life. His record on real lives is starkly counter to his rhetoric. He cares only for his own ambitions to establish the U.S. as a theocracy.

  16. My parents were Catholic. My Mom an Rn in a war zone in WW11, my Dad an engineer prior to WW11 and an Attorney after war on GI Bill. I’m their 2nd born & female. My mom was pregnant most of my childhood. The 1st 5 of their babies were a year apart, the last four were spaced every two years. Personally I experienced my Mom being exhausted between pregnancies & my Dad being stressed by the financial implications. There was a lot of love, work and hardship in this family situation. Although as a nurse & mother I think birth control is often warranted, I will not criticize my parents way. They lived it and payed for it in full! To this day I believe human life begins at conception, prior to that is where adult responsibility resides accordingly!

  17. hundreds of millions of women all over the world would not dream of having an abortion and most here would consider them religious fanatics, republicans, or just some other form of dismissed-by-bigots as less than humans..if we had fool proof, safe, cheap and available to all birth control, there’d be no need for any woman to abort in the second place if she was protected in the first…such exists: a one shot a year – like a flu shot – for men, not women, and it has been tested for ten years, is safe, but – it can’t get to market…do you know how many pills, condoms and abortions would no be needed, and what that would do to those who profit from those “products”? that is our problem, not alleged religions or people of lower humanity, especially when so identified by much higher life forms from the master race..as long as private profits in the market rule and people are reduced to calling each other dirty names, capital, the rich minority, and a menaced civilization will continue until people and/or the planet no longer tolerate such divisive disrespect.

  18. I’m not a fan of these sorts of arguments. While I’m definitely pro choice, I think it gravely misunderstands the thinking of anti-abortionist to assume that they must hold the life of fetus to be of the same value of murders. I see no inconsistency with someone who believes that fetus are “babies” also supporting the execution of murderers. I support abortion but oppose the killing of infants and I don’t think that position is inconsistent with my view that it’s just to execute murderers.

    The other argument that I find hollow is the idea that if one opposes killing fetuses under the belief that they are babies that it’s hypocritical to also oppose some sort of welfare program. This would be like saying someone that opposes genocide is hypocritical if they don’t also support universal garunteed income.

    No welfare program gives as much as could be given so everyone is subject to the accusation that because they don’t support X then they are in favor of people dying. That sort of reasoning is just partisan party politics. The current health system in the US doesn’t provide as much security as a British style universal health care system but I wouldn’t say that the Democrats don’t care about people’s lives.

  19. Given recent reports on the state of – addicted babies, safe baby boxes, defaulted child support fathers, our foster care system, and overloaded case workers of CPS, you’d think we’d take every opportunity to prevent a “hard life” before it starts.

    Women aren’t using abortion as a “get out of responsibility free card”. Pro choice means, the ability to evaluate circumstances and decide if a new life will be best lived and cared for at that time. Women make this choice every time they insist on using a condom, or take a birth control pill. The point in the reproductive process at which the decision is made, should be inconsequential, and not subject to the opinions of others.

    I wish lawmakers would stop trying to decide what’s best for “everyone”, and let each individual decide what’s best for themselves and their families.

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