Tures: How pro-life are we willing to be?

Published 3:46 pm Tuesday, June 4, 2019

John Tures
Professor of political science at LaGrange College

Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Missouri passed a heartbeat bill, and other states may join the trend. Alabama criminalized abortions, even in the cases of rape and incest.

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed into law the bill in her state, claiming “Alabamians’ deeply held belief that every life is precious and that every life is a sacred gift from God.”

Email newsletter signup

It’s a tough standard, that we consider every life to be precious and a sacred gift from God. It would mean that we fundamentally change so much of what some Americans support.

Certainly, many of us are against euthanasia, but such a standard would mean outlawing “DNR” or “Do Not Resuscitate” orders. Turning off a ventilator could be a felony.

We would have to outlaw the death penalty in America (New Hampshire just did).

I know that’s going to lead to howls of disapproval, especially in the very states that just passed these stringent anti-abortion laws.

And there are even Americans that think people who commit crimes less than murder should be executed, even if those accused have been exonerated.

We would also have to change our attitudes toward disaster relief, homelessness in America, and those less fortunate. It would a great obligation, private or public, to undertake to make sure we really are treating life as though it was a precious or a sacred gift from God.

This also applies to aid to other countries, treating people as budgetary matters or precious lives, sacred gifts from God.

The same goes for war. From threats to “make the sand glow” or “bomb them back to the stone age,” we would have to transition to a nation of pacifism in world affairs, or at least “just war” theory as a compromise. And that would also put the crosshairs on how we wage war, if it is a just one, one with rules against human rights abuses instead of rewards for cruelty and extrajudicial killing.

Earlier this semester, I invited conservative Republican State Rep. Ken Pullin, from Upson, to speak to my students. In his talk, he touted not only his strong support for the heartbeat bill, but also his change of heart on the death penalty, surprising his audience.

He contends that such a new stance wouldn’t help him in elections necessarily, but that pro-life view, along with concerns about executing an innocent person, led to such changes.

He’s hardly the only one.

Some Republicans like Senator Rand Paul are less enamored with war than they have been.

And seeing Democrats like Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards become the signatory on Louisiana’s bill echo President Bill Clinton’s dictum that abortion should be safe, legal and rare.

For those who demand the strongest anti-abortion law with claims that life is precious and a gift from God, and ignore similar pro-life practices on war, the death penalty, health care, foreign and domestic aid, then it’s just about votes, and firing up the political base, not life.