What pro-lifers really believe, part 3

Published 9:21 pm Wednesday, January 22, 2020

True pro-lifers are courageous.

In 1992, Bob Casey, the Democratic governor of Pennsylvania, wanted to give a pro-life speech at the Democratic National Convention. Despite needing Pennsylvania’s 23 electoral college votes, the Democratic National Committee refused to allow him to speak, and effectively kept any pro-life voice silent at the convention.

On the other side of the aisle, John McCain, who had one of the most consistent pro-life records in the Senate, faced taunts and a smear campaign when his pro-life convictions led him to vote against his party and keep intact the Affordable Care Act — a law that has saved $2.3 trillion dollars at the same time it has reduced mortality up to 40 percent in people aged 55 to 64 in states where Medicaid was expanded.

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As pro-lifers, we believe every human being has worth and every human being carries the image of God in them. But it is harder to be truly pro-life without crossing party politics and standing alone. On one hand, some Democrats want to expand abortion even into the third trimester. On the other hand, multiple Republicans have spoken out in favor of laws which have been proven to curb gun violence — only to back down from their own words when issues come to a decision.

If we are truly pro-life, we will support candidates who are willing to do what is right, no matter their party affiliation. But unfortunately, many pro-lifers fail to support pro-life candidates that cross party lines. John Bel Edwards, the Democratic governor of Louisiana, signed a law to protect the lives of almost all unborn children who are capable of feeling pain. But he was almost kicked out of office — not by his own party, but by the very people who call themselves pro-life. Likewise, pro-life stalwarts like Bob Corker and Jeff Flake chose to leave the Senate rather than support elements of the Republican party who are working to take away the rights of citizenship from American-born citizens.

I admire people like governors Casey and Edwards, as well as Senators McCain, Flake, and Corker. While I disagree with each of them on certain issues, not one of them personally benefited from the stands that they took. Every single one made a choice, knowing it would hurt them personally, because they cared about other people and their rights for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

If anyone has ever stood alone publicly for what they believe, they can understand the scrutiny our City Council has faced over the past month. In truth, 86 percent of Virginians support at least some form of gun legislation. But the remaining 14 percent of Virginians, who want no changes to gun laws, have been very vocal. While hunting rifles can be pro-life, for they can help people, especially the poor, feed their families, there is no pro-life or pro-Jesus reason to own an automatic weapon.

I am thankful to live in a community where our City Council members put their party affiliation aside when they run for office. As a resident of Suffolk, I am thankful that I live in a community with leaders committed enough to initially stand for pro-life values. As a Christian, I will pray that, when all is said and done, they will once again stand together against the pressure to protect guns over people.

Ross Reitz has been a Suffolk resident since 2009. Prior to that, he taught the Bible in Africa for two years and spent six years as a teacher at a Christian school in Philadelphia, Pa.