By Ken Trainor
Whenever I hear people describe themselves as "pro-life," I think, "Great! You must be an active, committed environmentalist, fighting to save the only inhabitable planet in the known universe. And your top concern is battling the forces that are rapidly destroying Earth. Since an uninhabitable planet would eliminate all of life, there can be no higher priority for someone who claims to be 'pro-life.'
"No doubt you're sounding the alarm about global warming and climate change and would never, ever vote for anyone who claims that climate change is a hoax. And surely you support a fundamental change in our energy policy so we can find clean alternatives and break our dependence on fossil fuels.
"And if you're pro-life, you must also be a staunch opponent of capital punishment because a pro-lifer could never tolerate the execution of a single innocent person, sentenced to death wrongfully, as so many have been, by our all-too-flawed justice system.
"And you would never oppose the use of condoms if it could save the lives of thousands in AIDS-ravaged Africa — or condone cutting aid to the poor in this country and around the world because that would increase mortality among the young.
"So welcome to our ranks. We need all the help we can get. It's always nice to find allies who promote respect for life and resist the culture of death."
But I am disheartened to discover that in most cases, the only life they are interested in protecting is life in the womb. And they vote against most or all of the positions mentioned above. Furthermore, their lifestyle choices frequently contribute to the extinction of entire species of plants and animals — and often don't even realize it because they're so busy focusing on abortion.
In fact, one could make the case that they are really "pro-death" and their opposition to abortion is simply the exception that proves the rule.
I'm sure there are abortion opponents who are also dedicated environmentalists, and I admire the consistency of their convictions. You can't convincingly claim to be "pro-life," after all, unless you support life across the spectrum.
But if you put abortion above the destruction of the planet on your list of moral abominations, or if the latter is missing from your priority list altogether, don't tell me you're pro-life because you're not even close. All you are is anti-abortion.
Abortion "pro-lifers" are good at judging others. They aren't shy about suggesting that those of us on the pro-choice side are accessories to murder. But what are you an accessory to if you contribute to accelerating the demise of the planet? All we're asking is that you take off your moral blinders and widen your scope a little — actually a lot.
Let's start the moral discussion with saving the planet, then saving as many species as possible from extinction, then saving myriad children around the world who are dying of preventable diseases, then feeding the hungry and pre-empting genocide. Then let's talk about saving the unborn.
None of us is doing enough, of course, in any of these areas. But it would help if we stopped voting for those doing the most harm. Politicians who are the most vocal about opposing abortion invariably oppose efforts to improve the planet's health. If you vote for them just because of their stance on abortion and ignore all the other harm they're doing, you've just made a deal with the devil.
Earth Day is coming. The best gifts you can give the planet are to stop denying that climate change is caused by human beings and stop voting for those who continue to deny it.
Then join those of us in the "pro-Earth" movement — the real pro-lifers — and you'll probably find we're a lot more receptive to listening to what you have to say about the rights of the unborn.
We're in a race to save the Earth, and we're losing. Keep in mind that if the planet perishes, the unborn will perish with it.
And that would be the ultimate murder.