Skip to main content

Why progressives should oppose abortion

By Christopher Hale
updated 6:36 PM EST, Wed January 22, 2014
Anti-abortion activists participate in a "Memorial Die-in" outside the White House on Tuesday, January 21. People from all around the country are planning to gather in Washington for the annual March for Life on Wednesday to protest the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision in 1973 that helped to legalize abortion in the United States. Take a look back at the annual rally through the years: Anti-abortion activists participate in a "Memorial Die-in" outside the White House on Tuesday, January 21. People from all around the country are planning to gather in Washington for the annual March for Life on Wednesday to protest the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision in 1973 that helped to legalize abortion in the United States. Take a look back at the annual rally through the years:
HIDE CAPTION
March for Life
March for Life
March for Life
March for Life
March for Life
March for Life
March for Life
March for Life
March for Life
March for Life
March for Life
March for Life
March for Life
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Christopher Hale: Protecting unborn children should be at the heart of the progressive agenda
  • It requires an advanced citizenship, he says
  • Hale: Radical inclusivity is at the heart of the progressive tradition

Editor's note: Christopher Hale is a senior fellow at Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, a progressive Catholic political advocacy group, and the co-founder of Millennial. He helped lead national Catholic outreach for President Barack Obama's 2012 re-election campaign. You can follow him on Twitter @chrisjollyhale.

(CNN) -- As the 41st Annual March for Life commences in Washington on Wednesday, the headlines will be predictable: "Conservatives come together to protest legalized abortion."

That's unfortunate, because to me it's clear: protecting the lives of unborn children should be at the heart of the progressive agenda.

Progressives believe that society must continually extend its embrace to all persons, no matter who they are.

And make no mistake, the child in the womb is indeed a human. This isn't a religious or metaphysical claim, but a scientific assertion that is verifiable at the moment of conception.

Christopher Hale
Christopher Hale

The child at conception has a completely human DNA composition. The child's sex, eye color and major physical traits are already determined at that very moment. From the beginning, the child isn't an it, but rather a she, a he.

A human being.

And deeply rooted in the history of human society is the belief that every human being has dignity and the right to live in that dignity.

As progressives, we further believe that the government plays a crucial role in protecting that dignity, especially among those who face adverse societal conditions: the poor, the unemployed, the elderly, the uninsured, single parents, gay and lesbians — and yes — the unborn.

This radical inclusivity is at the heart of the progressive tradition. And while it sounds romantic, in practice it isn't easy.

It requires an advanced citizenship where our people and our elected leaders are constantly looking to increase the mantle of justice beyond current norms.

Both parties have failed in this effort. Our leaders in government continually create and promote policies that instead perpetuate a throwaway culture in which people who aren't seen as valuable to economic advancement are left behind.

Pro-choice progressives should reject this. But by advocating policies that create a false dichotomy between supporting pregnant women and protecting the lives of unborn children, they are willful participants.

These policies are rooted in a social Darwinism that pits people against each other in the pursuit of living. In short, it is the belief that if the child lives, the woman loses. But in reality, we all lose in a country where the death of an innocent child is considered a measure of progress and freedom.

GOP tackles the abortion war
Free Speech vs. Abortion Rights
Court rejects Arizona's abortion appeal

In fact, this is the antithesis of a forward-thinking society. And pro-life progressives must start making their voices heard on this, one of the most crucial social justice issues of our time.

But it's also important to draw some lines in the sand. The Republican leaders in Congress might imagine themselves to be pro-life, but their policies and their actions reveal most of them to simply be pro-birth.

To be authentically pro-life, you cannot simply support a child's right to be born, but also the rights of the woman bearing the child to significant support from her community and her government.

Every mother deserves access to quality prenatal care, adoption services, baby supplies, government-guaranteed paid parental leave, childcare and quality and affordable health care.

In their three years in leadership Republicans in the House have passed bill after bill that significantly cuts the social framework that protects both mother and child throughout the early formative years of a child's life.

You can't be pro-life and anti-government, and you can't be pro-life and anti-woman. It doesn't work.

We also must find the societal courage to stand up for fatherhood. Too many men have struggled to fulfill their role as fathers, and our children suffer for it.

But the fault does not lie with the men alone. Poor education, unequal drug law enforcement and sentencing disparities create unfair disadvantages for some in our society. While we are addressing these issues, we also must put the full educational resources of our government and our communities at work to teach men how to be fathers even amid the social injustices that exist.

In the final analysis, it takes both a family and a village to raise a child. We're all in this struggle together, and we must use everything at our disposal to give our children what they deserve: a life, a family and a future.

Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.

Join us on Facebook.com/CNNOpinion.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Christopher Hale.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 1:50 PM EDT, Sun September 21, 2014
John Sutter boarded a leaky oyster boat in Connecticut with a captain who can't swim as he set off to get world leaders to act on climate change
updated 7:22 PM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Is ballet dying? CNN spoke with Isabella Boylston, a principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre, about the future of the art form.
updated 5:47 PM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Sally Kohn says it's time we take climate change as seriously as we do warfare in the Middle East
updated 9:02 AM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Dean Obeidallah says an Oklahoma state representative's hateful remarks were rightfully condemned by religious leaders..
updated 3:22 PM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
No matter how much planning has gone into U.S. military plans to counter the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the Arab public isn't convinced that anything will change, says Geneive Abdo
updated 11:44 AM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
President Obama's strategy for destroying ISIS seems to depend on a volley of air strikes. That won't be enough, says Haider Mullick.
updated 9:03 AM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Paul Begala says Hillary Clinton has plenty of good reasons not to jump into the 2016 race now
updated 11:01 AM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Scotland decided to trust its 16-year-olds to vote in the biggest question in its history. Americans, in contrast, don't even trust theirs to help pick the county sheriff. Who's right?
updated 9:57 PM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
Ruben Navarrette says spanking is an acceptable form of disciplining a child, as long as you follow the rules.
updated 11:47 AM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Frida Ghitis says the foiled Australian plot shows ISIS is working diligently to taunt the U.S. and its allies.
updated 3:58 PM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Young U.S. voters by and large just do not see the midterm elections offering legitimate choices because, in their eyes, Congress has proven to be largely ineffectual, and worse uncaring, argues John Della Volpe
updated 9:58 PM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
Steven Holmes says spanking, a practice that is ingrained in our culture, accomplishes nothing positive and causes harm.
updated 2:31 PM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
Sally Kohn says America tried "Cowboy Adventurism" as a foreign policy strategy; it failed. So why try it again?
updated 10:27 AM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
Van Jones says the video of John Crawford III, who was shot by a police officer in Walmart, should be released.
updated 10:48 AM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
NASA will need to embrace new entrants and promote a lot more competition in future, argues Newt Gingrich.
updated 7:15 PM EDT, Tue September 16, 2014
If U.S. wants to see real change in Iraq and Syria, it will have to empower moderate forces, says Fouad Siniora.
updated 8:34 PM EDT, Wed September 17, 2014
Mark O'Mara says there are basic rules to follow when interacting with law enforcement: respect their authority.
updated 9:05 AM EDT, Tue September 16, 2014
LZ Granderson says Congress has rebuked the NFL on domestic violence issue, but why not a federal judge?
updated 7:49 AM EDT, Tue September 16, 2014
Mel Robbins says the only person you can legally hit in the United States is a child. That's wrong.
updated 1:23 PM EDT, Mon September 15, 2014
Eric Liu says seeing many friends fight so hard for same-sex marriage rights made him appreciate marriage.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT