A Culture of Life

During his confirmation hearing, Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was asked more than once about his views on Roe v. Wade.

With Kavanaugh’s confirmation, the court is now perceived as leaning farther to the right than at any time in the last 50 years.  This provides conservatives with the fevered hope that the court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling might one day be overturned, putting an end to the notion that women in America have a constitutionally protected right to obtain an abortion.

If overturned, the question of abortion access would be kicked back to the states, in which each would be free to adopt its own rules.  Fifty states, fifty potentially different rules on abortion.  How would Idaho decide?  Well, Republican three-term State Senator Bob Nonini suggested last April that women who receive abortions (as well as providers) should be charged with first-degree murder and executed—if that’s any indication.

But I digress.   Of course, we don’t know how Kavanaugh would vote in a Roe v. Wade 2.0 case.  But for many, hope springs eternal.

Back in 2017, our Vice-President Mike Pence spoke about a post-Roe world when he announced that “we will not rest until we restore a culture of life in America.”

As the father of eleven children, let me unequivocally state that I am in favor of a culture of life in America, and I agree that such a culture does not currently exist.  But it will take a great deal more than limited access to medically safe abortions to create one.

A true Culture of Life in America must reach far beyond just getting Junior here in one piece.  It must make Junior’s world considerably less bleak once he arrives.

It means an American culture where young life is nurtured not just before it is born, but after.  It means our little ones will be raised in at least minimally modest housing.  It means they will have access to affordable and well-trained adult care if parents must be away at work.  It means none of our sons and daughters will face daily hunger.  It means children can be treated for the inevitable illnesses and broken bones of childhood without driving the family to the brink of bankruptcy.  And it means one day they will have access to advanced schooling for which they are qualified without having to slog through the following twenty years under the relentless ball and chain of crushing student debt.

Here is the plain truth that picks up where the modern pro-life movement tends to stop:  in an advanced nation like ours there is no social benefit in creating children who have little or no access to the conditions in which they will thrive.  Instead, such children will become a frustration to themselves, their parents, and, eventually, society.

It is hypocritical to claim that we are creating a Culture of Life just by limiting access to reproductive services, including insurance plans offering birth control, when the basic resources needed to create the chance for a meaningful life are unavailable to millions of children and parents.

In a future post-Roe Culture of Life America, we will also need to finally address the reality that women, not men, are the ones who will face the brunt of this brave new world.  Where is the accountability for men in the anti-abortion equation?   In a world of commonplace DNA testing, it’s no longer hard to prove who’s your daddy.  If we’re going to impose dire punishments on women for having abortions, it seems to me that castrating the men involved is the least we can do.  After all, the last time I checked they’re half the problem in problematic pregnancies.

When I see our nation moving even modestly forward in these areas I will applaud America’s effort to create a true Culture of Life.

Until then, I’ll remain dubious of a culture that seems happily content to fold our arms and pass uninformed judgment on the outward actions of people we don’t know, instead of reaching out to actually help solve the profound social issues that cause the problem we are so quick to condemn.



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