On the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, a Wall Street Journal/NBC poll found that 70 percent of the nation supports the Supreme Court’s decision that gave the woman right to choose whether or not to have an abortion.
Nonetheless, there are millions of Americans who think that women – even if they’ve been raped – shouldn’t have that right. On Friday, tens of thousands of them made their annual mecca to the nation’s capital to “March for Life.” This forced-pregnancy rally has been held in Washington, DC every year going all the way back to 1974.
You can tell they really believe it’s an issue of life and death as every poster, slogan, and speech is soaked with the word “life.” It’s called the “March for Life.” They’ve named their movement the “pro-life movement,” taking that name in the mid-1970s from the anti-death-penalty movement that used to be the “right to life” movement in this country.
They’re on a crusade, and have every right to march and have their voices heard. But yet, every year, the March for Life makes a very odd decision.
They almost exclusively bring the Republican Party into the fold as allies in the pro-life movement. They’ve given credence to what’s called a “Pro-Life Caucus” in Congress that’s chaired by a Republican who is a self-avowed “Champion of Life.” And it was none other than Speaker of the House John Boehner himself, the leader of the Republican Party in Congress, who kicked off the rally Friday with a pre-recorded speech.
Why on earth this movement would make an allegiance with a political party that’s seeped in the blood of numerous anti-life policies defies all logic.
By bringing Republicans into their rally year-after-year, they’ve turned their annual so-called march for life into a march for death.
When John Boehner addressed the “pro-lifers” on Friday afternoon he said, “[We] must commit ourselves to doing all we can to protect the sanctity of life.” He went on, “For the new Congress that means bringing together a bipartisan pro-life majority and getting to work.”
This is from the same guy who’s used his current Republican majority in the House to do the bidding of the most notorious purveyors of death in our society, including the gun industry, big oil, the health insurance companies, the war profiteers, the drug warriors, the climate-change-deniers, and the agribusiness monopolies.
Can we really trust the sanctity of human life with a political party that puts gun sales ahead of the lives of 1st graders in Newtown, teenagers in Chicago, and even their own fellow Member of Congress in Tucson?
As more than 10,000 Americans are gunned down every single year in this nation, why are so-called pro-life Republicans siding with the NRA to make it easier to carry weapons of death in schools, churches and shopping malls?.
What’s pro-life about promoting ammo clips with 100 rounds?
And it’s a party that’s pushed hard, year after year, for wars in the Middle East. There’s nothing pro-life about military invasions or occupations, and there’s nothing pro-life about blowing up families from 40,000 feet with a drone. After years of conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq – thousands of American soldiers are dead and millions of Iraqi and Afghan civilians are dead, wounded, or displaced.
So despite encouraging gun violence at home and abroad, Speaker Boehner has the audacity to say at this March for Life rally, “Defending life is much more than just voting the right way or saying the right things. It’s about promoting a culture of life. Human life is not an economic or political commodity and no government on earth has the right to treat it as such.”
But a corporation does, huh, Mr. Speaker?
It’s thanks to pro-death Republicans in Congress that billions of dollars in oil subsidies remain in place for some of the most profitable corporations in the history of the world, so that they can continue to dump a billion pounds of cancer- and asthma-causing pollution into our air every single day.
And it’s largely the pro-death Republican Partly that’s trying to cripple the EPA, which keeps our air and water safe to sustain human life. Hate to say it, Mr. Speaker, but when the health of entire communities is sacrificed for the profit of oil corporations, then human life has indeed been reduced to a mere economic commodity.
And what about the Republican Party’s stance on healthcare in America?
They’ve held vote after vote to repeal Obamacare, which guarantees life-saving insurance for millions of Americans.
They want to bring back the corporate health insurance death panels that get to decide which mother, father, daughter, or son will receive the medical care they desperately need and which will be turned down – just so the company can meet a quarterly profit goal. As many as 40,000 American die every year because they lack health insurance, and the pro-death Republican Party wants to keep it that way.
Ironically, it was Republican Senator Rand Paul who addressed the rally with this rhetorical question: “Can a nation long endure that does not protect the sanctity of life?”
This coming from the guy who believes our nation should not feed the hungry through food stamps, provide lifelines to the jobless through unemployment benefits, or protect seniors from poverty in old age with Medicare and Social Security.
These programs have saved the lives of countless millions, yet the Republican Party of Death wants to destroy them.
Rand Paul should have asked his rhetorical question about the sanctity of life of his father, Ron, who showed so little regard for life when he chose not to give his 2008 presidential campaign staff health insurance coverage. As a result, his campaign manager, Kent Snyder, contracted pneumonia and died at the hospital $400,000 in medical debt.
And then, nearly four years later, Ron Paul says at the CNN Republican debate, “That’s what freedom is all about.”
No, Ron and Rand, that’s not what freedom is all about – that’s what a political party that chooses death over life is all about.
This week, Sister Simone Campbell, one of the “Nuns on the Bus,” – a Catholic who does not want abortion legalized – appeared on MSNBC and said that those who call themselves pro-lifers are really just pro-birthers.
Sister Campbell is one of 64 Catholic leaders who’ve signed an open letter to all Americans calling themselves “pro-life” to endorse gun control. In it, she writes: “Pro-life citizens and elected officials have a responsibility to show greater moral leadership and political courage when it comes to confronting threats to the sanctity of life posed by easy access to military-style assaults weapons and high capacity magazines.”
She also noted, “The defense of human dignity extends beyond protecting life in the womb.”
Sister Simone Campbell gets what most in the Republican Party and some Democratic Party don’t get. You can’t call yourself pro-life, if you at the same time endorse death by way of gun, hunger, pollution, and health care insecurity.
Only when the so-called pro-lifers in the Republican Party begin to respect not just the life of a cluster of cells in a woman’s womb, but also the life of the woman herself, and her working class husband’s life, and her gay or lesbian aunt or uncle’s life, and her child who will have to inherit this warming planet’s life, and her Afghan or Iraqi friend’s life – only then – will they genuinely be pro-life. But until that day, Republicans are just the Party of Death, and the “pro-life” movement should run from them in the other direction.