Fr. Matthew P. Schneider, LC, is most well-known for his presence on social media (@FrMatthewLC) where he has over 60,000 followers. Ordained in 2013, he is currently studying graduate theology and living in the Archdiocese of Washington.
Protecting the most vulnerable killed through abortion is a fundamental civil rights issue. It shouldn’t be a political issue that is different between the two parties.
Unfortunately, in today’s climate, so often it is an issue that divides the two main parties. However, if we go back to the principles of both parties, we see strong evidence they should be pro-life.
Let’s examine each of the two main political parties.
Democrats for Life
Recently, the Democratic Governor of Louisiana, John Bel Edwards, came out against abortion unlike most of his party. NBC LA reported on his decision:
‘My position hasn't changed. In eight years in the Legislature, I was a pro-life legislator,’ he said. When he ran for governor, his view was the same. ‘I'm as consistent as I can be on that point.’ […]
‘That's the way I was raised. That's what my Catholic Christian faith requires,’ the governor said on his monthly radio show. "I know that for many in the national party, on the national scene, that's not a good fit. But I will tell you, here in Louisiana, I speak and meet with Democrats who are pro-life every single day.
Edwards invokes his Catholic faith. Historically, the Democrats were often the Catholic party, reaching a peak of 78% of the Catholic vote when Kennedy ran in 1960 (according to Gallup).
At least since the Second World War, the Democrats have emphasized their role as the party of the marginalized and downtrodden, the party that helps the little guy. They have largely supported unions against big companies, the created Medicare and Medicaid to help the poor and elderly get health coverage, etc.
However, if they are to help the poor, vulnerable and downtrodden, it would seem that the unborn would be a prime target. If you look at the change of being killed in the next year, the unborn are at a much higher risk than even the worst neighborhoods.
Hubert Humphrey, a pro-life Democrat, said something that brings out this point: “The ultimate moral test of any government is the way it treats three groups of its citizens. First, those in the dawn of life — our children. Second, those in the shadows of life — our needy, our sick, our handicapped. Third, those in the twilight of life — our elderly.” Abortion is the elimination of one of those three groups of people, and allowing it treats them poorly.
Right now, Republican politicians tend to vote for pro-life bills and against pro-abortion bills at a much higher rate. However, it is worth asking what in their principles engenders this.
Right now the Republicans promote several things which definitely support the pro-life view. They see themselves as defending traditional Judeo-Christian values, defending the Constitution and Declaration of Independence as written, and defending law and order.
I think the protection of the unborn does match Judeo-Christian values, which believe in human dignity. It is interesting that before the Christians, pagan Romans often exposed unwanted infants. Exposure was considered a more humane way to kill infants then: you would just leave them out on the town dump or in the woods and let the elements or wild beasts do the actual killing. However, Christianity and Judaism ended that barbaric practice.
It also matches with the Declaration of Independence which states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” If these rights are endowed by the creator, they are not rights governments can give or take away. As the right to life is first among those rights, it is not something the government can ever deprive a group of people of.
The third element is law and order. If we want a lawful and orderly society, we must make things that harm others and things that damage the common good illegal. Abortion laws are needed to protect babies form being killed and to maintain order.
If you notice above, I have assumed that the unborn child is a human being. There is no good argument against this. Once conception has happened you have a person with unique DNA that operates for its own good rather than serving the mom’s body as a clump of her cells would do.
Some might argue we wait for a heartbeat or brain activity, but these are uncertain levels and human life is so valuable we should avoid destroying it if we aren’t sure. I remember a documentary on a team that would demolish buildings with explosives: they put in all these things to ensure nobody was accidentally in the building and if any of their tests said there might be someone in the building, they did a complete systematic search. That is the attitude if we aren’t sure if an act will kill a person.
Since a fetus is an innocent human person, killing one is always wrong and should be illegal. However, both parties have reasons beyond this that they should defend this life. Let’s pray that in the coming years, both parties take on a pro-life stance.