By Deborah Hollifield, Former PPL Executive Director
In 1989, the last year of Ronald Reagan’s Presidency, I was a new candidate running for a county level office. I was present at a Texas Senatorial District convention when pro-life conservative Republicans upset the slate of delegates of establishment Republicans who were set to attend the next Texas State Republican Convention as delegates. Attendance as a delegate at the State Convention was a necessary prerequisite to being chosen as a delegate to the prestigious National Convention. At the time abortion was a contentious issue with plenty of negative pressure put on those who were accused of “dividing the party” by being socially conservative and scorned as “single issue voters.” At the time, the pro-life cause was considered to be too politically “hot to handle,” and would guarantee GOP losses. At the convention after the upset, a more experienced elected official counseled me on where I shouldn’t sit, lest I become negatively identified with the rebellion. I was new enough to politics that I had not yet become identified as “one of THEM.” It turns out he was right: 30 years later – even after leaving political life 16 years ago – some of them still avoid me.
But this is not about me. It is a reflection on people who would now be mature adults – many of whom would be likely be engaged in the current political debate – had they had the opportunity to be born since that political dustup in 1989. It is a reflection about outwardly good people – many of whom were Christians - who valued something more than the lives of the millions who would remain unborn. Those unborn are not among us – but the same outwardly good people – many of whom are Christians – those who value something more than human life in the womb, remain among us. We are still scorned for being “single issue voters.” We are still seen as narrow-minded dividers and disrupters.
But, as I wrote above, it is not about us. I wonder if any of those self-described pro-life Christians who are so willing to stand with candidates and parties that would expand death – in effect, as Scott Klusendorf posits, pouring gasoline into an already burning building – truly imagine there is a moral equivalency between saving unborn human beings and supporting poverty programs and after-school daycare? Have they thought at all that their position to support candidates and platforms that promise – promise – to make abortion “the law of the land,” is the same position taken by Christian slaveowners in the 19th century? What about being against making abortion illegal, or being “against abortion except for rape and incest”? Do they not see that it is the same logic that would support making buying and selling slaves illegal, while allowing current slaveholders to keep the ones they have?
What do these 21st century voters have in common with 19th century voters? They do not believe the child in the womb is a human being. They cannot believe it and hold their positions.
Nearly 50 years have passed since Roe v. Wade, and 30 since my first political experience as a single-issue voter. The people are the same, with different names. The arguments are the same, only more hollow, their noise dampened by the 66 million souls crying out to God. How much longer will this go on? How much longer will we allow it to continue? God has given us a real chance to make that difference in this election. We have a responsibility to vote according to the clear moral obligation to save human life; and post-election, we will have the same responsibility to continue to press to hold those elected accountable to complete the process.
Christian, you know what you must do.
Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work? Proverbs 24:11-12