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Peace & Life Connections #222
August 8, 2014

Why the consistent life ethic?
        For those who ask this most basic question, we offer these thoughts:
1) The peace movement thinks in terms of connected issues all the time – military spending’s impact on poverty, for example. So it is natural for peace advocates like us, who look at abortion as violence, to draw the connections between this form of violence and other issues, such as poverty and the lack of respect for life that rampant war-making encourages.     
2) Addressing holes in the arguments is good for every issue. Peace movement people find their advocacy against killing in war less effective if killing unborn babies is acceptable; pro-lifers find their arguments for those babies is less effective if they favor the death penalty, and so on. Opposing all lethal violence puts a big hole in the counter-argument that “you are inconsistent.” (Even Princeton professor Pete Singer, who favors not only abortion but infanticide, once remarked to Rachel MacNair that the consistent life ethic was the most effective argument he had heard against abortion).

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3) It breaks stereotypes, so people can think more about issues on their own terms. Many conservative pro-lifers don’t want to hear a peace and justice case from progressives because they think all progressives believe it’s acceptable to kill babies, but they will listen to fellow pro-lifers. Likewise, many peace advocates refuse to hear the pro-life case from those that fit their stereotype of right-wingers.
4) Some people place abortion in with other family issues, but then people might ask why they impose their idea of family on others. Some place it as a religious issue, so others might ask why they impose their religion. Some make it an issue of sexual ethics, combining it with public issues involving homosexual practice, which is just asking for people to wonder why they impose their ideas about sex. The consistent life ethic places abortion in with other issues of violence, where it belongs. Then the argument moves from whether it’s some kind of imposition to whether or not it’s violence. The issue is then framed as it should be.
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Quotation of the Week
Mary Meehan,
Abortion. The Left Has Betrayed the Sanctity of Life:
Consistency Demands Concern for the Unborn
The Progressive, September, 1980people - Meehan       

        It is out of character for the Left to neglect the weak and helpless. The traditional mark of the Left has been its protection of the underdog, the weak, and the poor. The unborn child is the most helpless form of humanity, even more in need of protection than the poor tenant farmer or the mental patient or the boat people on the high seas. The basic instinct of the Left is to aid those who cannot aid themselves – and that instinct is absolutely sound. It is what keeps the human proposition going.
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