Trump & Pence: Pro-Birth, Not Pro-Life


The pro-life movement does not honor the sanctity of life; it honors the sanctity of birth, then promptly washes its hands of the born.

As a Christian woman and seminary student, I believe a commitment to the sanctity of life extends beyond the delivery room. I also believe that women should have easily available access to safe, free contraception. I’m with Planned Parenthood: every child should be a wanted child.

During Tuesday’s vice presidential debate, moderator Elaine Quijano asked a question allowing the candidates to reflect on life.

What transpired next between Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican Mike Pence serves as an important lesson in morality for Christians.

Kaine is firmly against the death penalty as a matter of faith, but as governor followed the law despite his moral objection.

Pence, who wants to repeal Roe v. Wade, said his faith honors the sanctity of life. But does he?

Catholic nun, Sister Joan Chittister summed up the trouble with the pro-life movement: “I do not believe that just because you’re opposed to abortion, that that makes you pro-life. In fact, I think in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking if all you want is a child born but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed. And why would I think that you don’t? Because you don’t want any tax money to go there. That’s not pro-life. That’s pro-birth. We need a much broader conversation on what the morality of pro-life is.”

 Jesus of Nazareth showed us how to honor the sanctity of life.

Jesus said, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat” (Matt 25:35).

Pence cut food stamps to some 18,000 people living in poverty.

Jesus healed the sick (Luke 7:2-10, Mark 5:24-34).

Pence and Trump will repeal the Affordable Care Act, which has gained health insurance  coverage for 20 million people.

Jesus said, “for I was a stranger and you invited me in” (Matt. 23:35).

Pence and Trump want to build walls, close borders, and use an ideological purity test scarily reminiscent of the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII.

As he was crucified, Jesus cried out, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).

Trump and Pence support the death penalty and the use of torture.

In Occupy the Bible, Rev. Dr. Susan Thistlethwaite, professor of theology at Chicago Theological Seminary, notes that Mary Magdalene was a “powerful woman” who “had one of the closest and most significant relationships with Jesus, that of student and teacher.” Jesus respected the agency of women.

Trump and Pence don’t even trust women to make decisions about their own bodies and will defund Planned Parenthood.

It’s a stark contrast: Jesus honored life from the beginning, Trump and Pence only honor it until it leaves the womb.

We do need to have a broader conversation about the morality of “pro-life.”

As a person of faith and seminarian, I’ll take my cues from Jesus.


4 thoughts on “Trump & Pence: Pro-Birth, Not Pro-Life

  1. You make a valid point Jessica. Pro-lifers actively protest against abortion, but fall short in rallying against the decrease of social services. In fact, those who don’t want to be parents or those who are not prepared to be parents are the ones who will likely need substantial support in varying aspects of child development. It is in this area where we need the conservative Christians to rally support, to assist those children who have been left behind.


  2. I appreciate you bringing up the point that there is more to being Pro-life than the delivery room. If the Pro-life movement is going to truly live up to that idea then they must reconcile if they are truly for life or simply against abortion practices.


  3. Good article and certainly is a good way to begin the conversation on :”what the morality of pro-life is” and is not. This is an important issue because so many claim to be pro-life but only when its convenient for them, or maybe not too costly. I chose a catholic hospital to deliver my daughter and when I refused to submit to testing to determine whether she had downs syndrome, they actually encouraged me to abort, because a downs syndrome baby is so costly in time and money”, (insurance money). I chose a catholic hospital for a reason but they sure surprised me demonstrating that in a contest of faith and money, money wins.
    Great post.


  4. You do an excellent job of pointing to the hypocrisy of the Right’s position with regards to being pro-life. If you truly wish to be pro-life you must do everything in your power to support the children that are here already. Instead, it seems that all the Right wants to do is to bring more hungry and abused children into this world.
    Thank you for your post.


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