The pro-life debate – defending two congressmen
By Emily Matson –
I wake up every day with babies on my mind.
First, there are my own babies. The oldest begins kindergarten this fall; the second just turned three and declared “I’m free’’; and Baby Jack is almost six months old.
Second, there are the millions of unborn babies whose talents and silhouettes may never grace the earthly stage. Those babies are on my mind as well as their mothers who will choose between giving life to their babies or abortion.
Enter the primary election season in which it appears unborn babies are on many minds. We hear and see pro-life candidates tout their pro-life credentials to apparently distinguish themselves from lesser pro-life candidates. Candidates who may genuinely believe the same thing as their opponent regarding the personhood of unborn babies try to convince the voters they are “more pro-life” or that votes on pro-life legislation weren’t actually “pro-life enough.”
For example, consider Dr. Paul Broun’s criticism of Rep. Doug Collins for voting ‘yes’ on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (which would prohibit abortion after 20 weeks). To allege the bill created a subclass of humans because it was amended to include exceptions for babies conceived in rape or incest is intellectually dishonest. If the bill became morally objectionable at the time it was amended to exclude babies conceived in rape and incest, why was it acceptable in its original form which excluded babies younger than 20 weeks? Collins voted ‘yes’ on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act in the 113th and 114th Congress. If successful, the Act would prohibit all abortions after 20 weeks fetal age. If statistics are correct, this Act would prevent an estimated 1.5% to 3% of all abortions. If multiplied by the most recent national statistic, that would be anywhere from 15,877 to 31,000 babies. (Source: Guttmacher, 2011). Broun actually voted ‘no’ on the same legislation in 2013.
Likewise, ponder candidate Daniel Cowan’s criticism of his GOP primary opponent, Rep. Barry Loudermilk. He mailed potential voters a flyer stating: Loudermilk “Failed to stand up for the unborn – broke his promise to defund Planned Parenthood.” The truth is Loudermilk cast eleven votes in the 114th Congress to protect the unborn, including the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, the Defund Planned Parenthood Act (H.R. 3134), the Pro-Life Reconciliation Bill (H.R. 3762), and the vote to override President Obama’s veto of H.R. 3762. Collins cast the same eleven votes to protect the unborn.
Many proclaimed pro-life candidates in this primary race allege a vote for the Omnibus spending bill (H.R. 2029) was a vote to fund Planned Parenthood. While the federal spending in H.R. 2029 was offensive on a number of levels, you will not find one budgetary line that directly funds Planned Parenthood in H.R. 2029. Neither would a vote against the spending bill have stopped federal dollars from flowing to Planned Parenthood…even temporarily. Planned Parenthood receives the vast amount of its federal funding through entitlement programs like Medicaid which are not dependent on annual spending bills. Alleging Loudermilk’s or Collin’s votes for the spending bill funded Planned Parenthood doesn’t pass the smell test.
While our distinct personalities and passions may inherently create different opinions as to the best strategy for saving the unborn, these differences don’t justify misleading voters about the voting records of men who believe in and have without fail voted to protect the unborn. Why such intentional exploitation of the plight of the unborn in order to politically one-up a pro-life opponent? We who believe the unborn are precious, innocent and deserve our sacrifice of time and passion are better than this.
Every minute used to fight about which candidate is “more pro-life” is a wasted minute. Every dollar spent on campaign mailers to attack the consistently pro-life votes of Congressmen like Doug Collins and Barry Loudermilk is a wasted dollar.
The political football of “I’m more pro-life than you” should be deflated and our money and rhetoric should be used to reach the hearts of women who feel that choosing life is not an option. What if each candidate, instead of touting the reasons he is “more pro-life” took to the airways and social media to call to that hurting woman, “You are cared for; that baby is a heart to love; let us help you.”
The author is the executive director of the Georgia Life Alliance