May 25, 2019

Storm Warning

There is a storm brewing within the pro-life community, and it is imperative that this community re-think its position when it comes to what constitutes a “pro-life” political candidate.

The first storm warning has occurred in Ohio. U.S. Senator Rob Portman has been endorsed by Ohio Right to Life for re-election, and the National Right to Life gives him a 100-percent ranking when it comes to his pro-life voting record. Ohio Right to Life Executive Director Stephanie Ranade declared that “the March 2016 primary is critical for Ohio’s pro-life movement, as we must retain, advance and promote those candidates for office who best exemplify our life-saving mission.”

One would think that having such an endorsement would guarantee support from the pro-life rank and file. But there is a problem. Last year, Senator Portman, inspired by his son’s homosexuality, announced that he was going to support the redefinition of marriage. This sent a shock wave throughout the Ohio Republican party and many Right to Life supporters.

The Greene County Republican Central Committee has chosen to endorse Portman’s primary opponent, Don Eckhart. Phil Burgess of Citizens for Community Values excoriated Portman: “There are three non-negotiables for social conservatives–life, marriage and religious liberty. On my scorecard Portman scores a ‘D’ on life, ‘F’ on marriage and ‘F’ on religious liberty. Portman no longer deserves our support.”

Cleveland Right to Life followed suit. President Molly Smith issued its own scathing statement:

My advice to any true conservative office holder is to say NO on principle, right up front, due to Portman’s choice to go against the national GOP pro-marriage platform. Remember, marriage is one of the “big two” for social conservatives. You don’t need to pick up Portman’s baggage.

In response, National Right to Life announced that is was going to disassociate itself from the Cleveland affiliate.

Such overt dissension in the ranks is something new, but its potential has existed for years, and the issue has been contraception.

Historically, most pro-life organizations who are not Catholic-based have ignored contraception because most Christians see nothing wrong with the practice. But many involved in the pro-life movement will admit that contraception is the prelude to abortion. Contraception encourages irresponsible sexual activity, and when it fails, as it eventually does, a pregnant woman will most often turn to abortion as the “fail-safe” alternative. But pro-life organizations fear that if they would openly oppose contraception, the public will see them as radical extremists and unworthy of support. This strategy, although morally questionable, has worked quite well–until now.

With the Supreme Court’s inane decision legalizing so-called same-sex marriage, the non-Catholic pro-life groups find themselves in a dilemma of their own making. Endorsing a candidate who is 100% pro-life but also supports same-sex marriage is sending a message that many pro-life people will consider a bridge too far to cross, as the Portman situation clearly shows.

National Right to Life and other like-minded pro-life groups apparently cannot see that redefining marriage is a game-changer with repercussions that can negatively affect children. If same-sex marriage is a Constitutional right, than such couples cannot be prevented from adopting children, assuming there are not other disqualifying factors. And there’s the rub.

Regardless of homosexual propaganda, everyone with even a modicum of intelligence knows that a child has a right to a father and a mother. Even the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child admits this fact: “The child shall have . . . the right to know and be cared for by his or her own parents.”

When compared to children in any other “family” structure, children in an intact family, with both biological parents present, have higher graduation rates, greater emotional health, a strong sense of identity, smaller rates of teen out-of-wedlock pregnancies, and less aggression, delinquency, and incarceration. Child Trends, a research institution, concludes that “family structure matters for children, and the family structure that helps most is a family headed by two biological parents in a low-conflict marriage . . . [I]t is not simply the presence of two parents . . . but the presence of biological parents that seems to support children’s development.”

Dr. Kyle Pruett, M.D., author of Fatherhood: Why Father Care is as Essential as Mother Care for Your Child, writes the following:

Research from the child’s side of the aisle shows that kids yearn deeply for dads. Infants in the first months of life can tell the difference between a mother’s and a father’s style of care. Furthermore, children thrive when they experience those different styles throughout all the developmental stages of life.

I could list a plethora of similar studies, but the point has been made, at least to those with an objective mind.

So, when pro-life groups endorse a candidate who favors same-sex marriage, the message is, “We want to make sure the baby is born. If he is adopted by two lesbian mothers or two homosexual dads, well, that’s just the roll of the dice.” Ironically, this plays into the tired accusation by the pro-death crowd that pro-lifers don’t care what happens to the child once it is born.

And we should not forget that many Catholic adoption agencies across the country have been forced to close their doors because denying adoption to homosexual couples violates anti-discrimination laws. So much for religious liberty.

If a person is truly pro-life, then he must also be pro-family, and supporting a lifestyle that makes a mockery of the God-ordained family is a disservice to all children who may be thrust into that lifestyle through adoption.

If pro-life groups see no problem endorsing candidates who support homosexual marriage, then they had better be prepared for outrage and a significant loss of membership. Is that thunder I hear?

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Written by
Thomas Addis

THOMAS ADDIS is a retired high school teacher and published author, most recently authoring a children's book, A Gift of Light, which is available at Amazon. An M.A. graduate of Oakland University, he is Associate Editor of Catholic Journal. In his spare time, he enjoys reading and cycling.

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Written by Thomas Addis