The Perils of Pro-Life Partisanship

Earlier this week, I wrote an essay that made lots of folks angry at me, including old friends. (Don’t read my very, very ugly Facebook wall.) The essay was in Time, and the title was provocative. It got people going. “Donald Trump Is Not Pro-Life,” it said. “His Response to COVID-19 Proves It.” 

My argument was simple. There is a difference between being simply anti-abortion and being pro-life. This is a profound theological and cultural truth perhaps best articulated in the modern era by Pope John Paul II:

As a young pro-life activist, I still remember the publication of Pope John Paul II’s Evangelium Vitae, its words touched this Protestant’s heart, and when he rooted the pro-life principle in the “incomparable worth of the human person,” it crystalized not just my opposition to abortion but also an aspirational ethic of care for all persons—from conception to natural death.

“Life on earth,” said John Paul, “is a sacred reality entrusted to us, to be preserved with a sense of responsibility and brought to perfection in love and in the gift of ourselves to God and to our brothers and sisters.”

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