"When I speak to my pro-choice friends, I’m often able to find some common ground. They do not necessarily admit that human life has a God-given dignity, but they certainly assign it value—and even assign some value to life in the womb, though they leave this contingent on a mother’s choice. Some of my friends are sympathetic to the pro-life movement’s ideal of a world where mother and child are both offered love and support, a world less subject to the cultural and economic forces that can make motherhood unthinkable for women in unplanned pregnancies. The problem is, they don’t trust the broader pro-life movement’s motives. One friend told me he liked the picture I drew of a holistic ethic of life, but would deride it if he heard a pro-life spokesman share it.
Why are we so distrusted by those who disagree with us on this issue? And how can we earn enough trust to persuade the persuadable and find common cause where possible? One important step would be to make the pro-life movement synonymous with scrupulous, incorruptible honesty.
To be pro-life must mean being pro-truth as well. For we believe America’s current theory and practice of abortion rests on two lies: The lie that the unborn human person has no inherent dignity, and the lie that a right to killing an unborn human can be found in the Constitution’s penumbras and emanations. These two great lies gnaw at the foundations of the legal-medical-cultural edifice. But we cannot salve the wounds of truth by uttering petty lies of our own. We must treat truth, like an unborn child, as an innocent under threat. If we persist in the metaphor of “culture war” to describe the fights over abortion and related issues, then we must wage it as a just culture war, in which virtue is as indispensable as valor, and compassion for our opponents more important than rallying our allies with rhetorical overkill."
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