By Matthew Tyson and Rebecca Bratten Weiss
In a recent Facebook post, Priests for Life member Fr. Stephen Imbaratto took the New Pro-Life Movement to task, and in doing so, admitted to something (and not for the first time) that is actually one of the main reasons we founded the NPLM in the first place:
Finally, I find it interesting that these New Pro-lifers or these bloggers want to condemn us anti-abortion people by associating us as political animals and with Trump. I have made in clear that my Trump vote was nothing more than an anti-Hillary vote; anti abortion vote…one issue! I was always clear, adamant, and very public about that.
These comments are troubling. Single issue voting is dangerous because it blinds the voter to any and all other potential issues a candidate might present. And in Trump’s case, there is a mountain of problems that simply cannot be ignored. Yet Fr. Imbaratto, and many like him, seems perfectly willing to do so.
Here we have a man who ran a campaign in which he:
· Promised to deny shelter to refugees fleeing war torn Syria
· Said he would register Muslims in America
· Threatened the 1st amendment (loosening up libel laws)
· Threatened the 14th amendment (stop and frisk)
· Advocated for the use of torture
· Promised to pull out of the Paris climate agreement
· Promised to end funding to sanctuary cities
· Promised to deport millions of undocumented immigrants
And that only scratches the surface.
Fr. Imbaratto’s single-issue vote embodies one of the biggest problems with the mainstream prolife movement. They’ve become so fixated on the goal of ending abortion (and the politics surrounding it) that they can’t see the forest for the trees. There is no pragmatism, no reason, and by getting in line with Trump, they’ve tarnished any shred of remaining credibility. They’ve lost sight of the pre-existing social conditions in which abortions happen, refusing to accept that a woman might be driven to such a choice by serious in her life. Outlawing abortion might save her baby’s life, but she (and her child) still have to face these hardships. And these are hardships a Trump presidency would likely exacerbate.
This is the error that the New Pro-Life Movement wishes to correct.
Despite what our detractors might say, we do not want to take away from the gravity of abortion. Instead, we want to create a movement that is truly dedicated to the protection and sustainment of life from conception to natural death and everything in between. One should not have to pick only one injustice we get to eradicate. We want a movement that recognizes all pro-life issues, not just one.
Furthermore, we want a movement that thinks beyond Roe v Wade and recognizes abortion as the complex problem that it is. As stated in our foundational pillars, we believe that the best path forward is to focus on comprehensive solutions that eliminate the demand for abortion rather than just the supply.
Lastly, we want a movement that doesn’t sell out to dangerous demagogues simply because they’re willing to tell us what we want to hear. We think valuable resources are better spent in support of organizations that actually help provide at-risk women with alternatives to abortion, than on, say, donations to the political campaigns of the super-wealthy.
And it would seem we’re not alone.
Over the past few weeks, NPLM has gained a lot of positive momentum (and plenty of negative reactions to compliment). But we have no intention of slowing down, and we invite anyone who is interested in join us in spreading this movement.