What Is Pro-Life?
How its meaning may affect your vote.
By Emmanuel Simon
Quite recently, I noticed a quarrel between Trump Supporters and Biden Supporters. Some of those who voice their support for Trump do so in the name of the Pro-Life movement. According to them, no one should vote for Biden since he and his Vice-Presidential running mate, Kamala Harris, are Pro-Abortion on the political level, (even though Biden claims to be personally against abortion). The Trump Supporters say that this means that Biden and Harris support the legalized murder of innocent human beings in the womb.
On the other hand, some who support Biden claim that Trump himself is not Pro-life, and therefore the Pro-Life Trump supporters have no reason to vote Trump. Those who are in favor of Biden say that Trump cannot be Pro-life because he locked children in cages, separated children from their parents at the border, is Pro-Death Penalty, etc.
We must vote for the most Pro-Life candidate. To determine which candidate fits this description, we must see which social issues are most pressing for our day and age. If abortion truly does murder an innocent human being, then this would be the most pressing issue, given how many babies of all races and genders die in the womb every year. According to the CDC, in 2016, more than 600,000 reported abortions took place in the United States. This data is important because it shows us that abortion is an agent of oppression if abortion truly murders an innocent human being.
But as I understand it, the current debate between which candidate is Pro-Life is ineffective, since the term, ‘Pro-Life’, is used ambiguously. With this ambiguous term, dialogue concerning which candidate to support comes to a halt. Since the College claims to endorse dialogue, such clarification is fitting.
To reach an adequate definition of anything, we must be what I call ‘Socratic Thinkers’. A Socratic Thinker finds adequate definitions by first asking a question. For example, ‘What does it mean to be Pro-Life?’. Next, the Socratic Thinker examines instances of what he or she would label as Pro-Life. Murdering my eight year old cousin seems contrary to the Pro-Life position. Similarly, stealing a million dollars from a millionaire seems contrary to the Pro-Life position. Given these examples, I can now inductively generalize. ‘Not murdering my cousin’ and ‘not stealing money from the bank’ both assume that I should leave alone what is not mine.
Next, in order to have a firm grasp of the terminology, a Socratic Thinker must understand what makes that generalized definition an adequate definition. For example, ‘to leave alone what is not mine’ is Pro-Life because to do so gives to another or lets another keep what he or she deserves. Therefore, Pro-Life means to give to another or to keep for another what he or she deserves. Thus, looking back at the examples, I no longer have an opinion that murdering my eight year old cousin is against being Pro-Life. Rather, I know that murdering my cousin is contrary to being Pro-Life because my cousin did not do anything for him to deserve to lose his life. So, if I were to murder him, I wouldn’t be giving him what he deserves, since he is not guilty of any crime, nor am I allowing him to keep what is rightfully his, since I took his life for no good reason. Similarly, I cannot steal from the millionaire because to do so would be to take something from the millionaire unjustly.
When we examine what it means to be Pro-Life, we see that to be Pro-Life is to be Just to another, or to give one what he or she deserves. Now, looking back at the accusations, if both accusations against Trump and Biden are correct, then it seems to be the case that both are not Pro-Life. What are we to do then?
We must first understand what abortion is.
On the college level, my suggestion is to create open dialogue to discuss abortion. We hear about women being oppressed and black lives being oppressed. If such injustice against these groups exist, then every single person should stand up for these groups. We should say together, ‘All Women Matter!’ and ‘All Black Lives Matter!’. But surely, we cannot consistently say this if we support abortion and if abortion truly murders a human being. What about the women in the womb? What about the black lives in the womb? Surley, if abortion murders a human being, and we as a country allow abortion, we cannot say ‘All women matter!’, but merely, ‘Some women matter’. Similarly, we cannot say ‘All black lives matter’, but merely, ‘Some black lives matter’.
Lastly, it is my experience that when discussing this topic with Anti-Abortionists, they want to be wrong. No one wants to say that their country murders over 600,000 lives a year, neither those for or against abortion. Now, there are some who believe abortion is not wrong since, they say, life does not begin at conception. However, they will find themselves at odds with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. On their website, they say their goal is to, “Work to advance global health security as a national priority through…(Enhancing) international preparedness activities at the national, regional, and global levels to identify gaps, build capacity, and track progress to prevent, detect, and respond to health threats, respecting cultural differences and the inherent dignity of persons from conception to natural death.”
Thus, if abortion is murder, then to be Pro-Life requires one to be Anti-Abortion, since this is the most pressing issue of our time. There are about 600,000 innocent lives who die through abortion yearly in the U.S. This is more than triple the death toll of COVID-19, which has, at the time of writing this article, killed about 195,000 lives in the U.S. since February 2020.
So, if we believe that all black lives matter, and all women matter, then let’s make our vote a Pro-Life vote.
Link to Biden’s policies to protect and expand access to Abortion by Planned Parenthood https://www.plannedparenthoodaction.org/elections/pressroom/planned-parenthood-votes-debate-reaction-we-must-elect-joe-bide
Link to Biden’s personal views regarding abortion (last updated 2015)
Link to the CDC’s 2016 Data On Abortion Cases
Link to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Mission Statement (See Strategic Objective 2.4, Emphasis added)
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Ryan Ford '23,