In a closed-door meeting sometime early in September, political consultant Steven Law, a close associate of Mitch McConnell, presented Senate Republicans with polling data indicating that, since the downfall of Roe v. Wade, the term “pro-life” had lost its appeal. It was suggested that Republicans come up with a new term that would sound friendlier to the mushy middle. Some senators proposed the term “pro-baby.”
This consultation came on the heels of a general case of nerves on the part of Republican officeholders, especially in the U.S. Senate. For example, the National Republican Senatorial Committee is encouraging candidates “to clearly state their opposition to a national abortion ban and support for reasonable limits on late-term abortions when babies can feel pain with exceptions for rape, incest, and life of the mother.”
We at Life Legal wanted to assure our supporters that we are still absolutely pro-life, and to explain why we are going to continue calling ourselves pro-life.
Should pro-lifers stick with the pro-life label? Yes, they should:
- The term “pro-life” is established by usage and widely understood. There’s a powerful reason for this – a reason lying in the nature of human language. Words are not assigned randomly like variables in an algebraic equation. They develop through years and decades of speech and writing. The prospect of coining a new word and expecting it to catch on is tremendously uncertain. The pro-aborts have tried to do this for us many times – describing pro-lifers as everything from “forced-birth” to “anti-woman.” Their attempts have not succeeded. Why? Because “pro-life” is the established term. It won’t be easy to replace.
- “Pro-life” developed as the positive alternative to “anti-abortion.” In our view, “anti-abortion” is itself a perfectly accurate term. We at Life Legal are anti-abortion and are not afraid to admit it. But “pro-life” encompasses more than opposition to abortion. The same ethical standards that make abortion unacceptable also apply to infanticide and to the medical murder of the elderly and disabled. The pro-life vision is a unified whole, not a collection of isolated position papers. The term “pro-life” neatly encapsulates that vision.
- The term “pro-life” exactly emphasizes the essence of the positions that we advocate for. Human life is the transcendent value at stake in all the issues we address. Yes, we’re pro-baby. We’re also pro-mother. We’re also pro-father. We’re not pro-baby just because babies are cute – but because we support the inviolability of all innocent human life.
Politicians can choose words as they see fit. We at Life Legal will continue to be pro-life and to call ourselves pro-life. All our many actions – from defending street-level activists to intervening in cases where patients are denied life-sustaining care – depend on this clarity. We hope that, like us, you will refuse to waver in response to mere polling data. We hope that, like us, you will continue to embrace the pro-life label.