Thomas Friedman, the Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist, erupted in that newspaper’s Sunday Review section this week. He wrote, “In my world, you don’t get to call yourself ‘pro-life’ and be against common-sense gun control. … You don’t get to call yourself ‘pro-life’ and want to shut down the Environmental Protection Agency … and oppose programs like Head Start.”
Friedman went on in that vein and suggested an alternative to the “pro-life” designation: “You can call yourself a ‘pro-conception-to-birth, indifferent-to-life conservative.’” My first reaction to that defamation is to look at the facts: Pro-life couples more frequently adopt children, provide foster care, start schools, etc., than do those who favor abortion on demand.
My second reaction, though, is to push Friedman on the type of grand bargain that could be made, if he and his allies want to be pro-life as he defines it. I’ve long told animal rights activists that, if they joined pro-lifers in protecting baby humans, I’d happily join them in efforts to protect baby seals. Now, I’d like to extend that offer. I’d join Friedman in supporting an AK-47 ban, keeping alive the EPA, and revising Head Start (so it truly helps) if he were to support protection for unborn children.
Wouldn’t you? To be precise, should we say to Friedman and others on the liberal side, “If the reason you oppose pro-life positions is because you don’t think they go far enough in protecting life, what would convince you otherwise?”
I’m opposed to general gun bans, EPA edicts that elevate animals over people, and federal programs that sound sweet but don’t work, but I’m most opposed to the rampant killing of innocent unborn children. I’m skeptical about opportunities to find “common ground,” because abortion often seems to be the key non-negotiable of contemporary liberalism—but we should always be willing to hope, pray, and ask.