Apart from life, liberty is futile


I was asked recently the basis for my pro-life position. While this question was an easy one for me to answer, its importance has been lingering in my mind.

For some, the belief in the sanctity of life is rooted in faith – Imago Dei, the creation of life in the image of God. For others, it’s rooted in science – fetal development, a beating heart, and the countless additional signs of life captured in utero. Regardless of the reason, the conclusion is that life is worthy of existence.

In my recent conversation, the question was posed to me against the backdrop of policy discussions. As a long-time student of American history, I naturally thought of the Declaration of Independence and the rights acknowledged therein: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (h/t Thomas Jefferson and John Locke). Plowing forward a few years, these rights became the basis for the freedoms protected in our Constitution, including the freedom freely to exercise one’s religion, the freedoms of speech and of the press, the freedom peaceably to assemble, and the freedom to petition the government.

While these freedoms are often given equal time in our political discourse – “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” have become almost inseparable – the truth is that every freedom hinges on the first: the right to life.

It’s impossible to offer a sound argument for the right to liberty if the right to life is not secure. It’s futile to attempt to protect the freedom of religion if the right to life is not guaranteed. And hollow is the claim that speech, property, or a free press are safe if life itself is at risk.

Proponents of abortion often argue that their stance is about freedom – the freedom to chose an abortion. But freedom that necessitates the slaughter of the unborn is a mockery of true freedom.

The reality is, we cannot continue to secure freedom while standing on the corpses of the unborn. We cannot long protect the right to worship while soaked in the blood of 50 million babies. And we cannot claim to fight for the rights of anyone if we refuse to fight for the rights of the most vulnerable.

If the basic right to life is not protected for every person, then every other right stands or falls at the whim of those who determine which lives are valuable.

It’s all too easy to ignore the contradiction when it’s someone else’s voice being silenced. But naïve is the person who thinks his voice safe when life itself is called worthless.

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