A common criticism I have heard of those who hold a pro-life position is that they “don’t care about kids once they are born.” In other words, those who are pro-life are typically conservative. Those who are conservative typically favor less government action and involvement when it comes to things like welfare and health care. In a Texas Monthly a couple years back, an interviewer asked Norma McCorvey (aka Jane Roe), why conservatives are pro-life, yet voted against funding in the state of Texas for health care for poor kids.
This is a reasonable question, and I will do my best to answer it in a few different ways.
1) Conservatives/libertarians believe government should be involved in the protection of life and less so in the preservation of life. In other words, the government must act to protect people from being harmed against others. However, libertarians believe government should not be involved in preserving life, because doing so will agress against the freedoms of other people (i.e. forcing people to pay for health care against other people). Conservatives may hold this belief, although, to a lesser extent. This is not to argue for one point of view over the other, I am just saying that philosophically, there is a difference between protection laws vs. preservation laws. Libertarians, especially, tend to view life as a negative right, not a positive one. As far as conservatives…
2) Many conservatives till believe in government actions to preserve life, just maybe not to the extent that liberals do. Most conservatives that I am aware of do not want to end welfare or government programs addressing health care, it is just that they do not support them to the extent that liberals do. Life-preserving measures are extremely open-ended, and it is a question of money and resources. It is, in my opinion, impossible to create a risk-free society in which people’s lives are never in danger. That is not a good argument against trying, but the point is, at what point does someone “care about the kids.” Is it when the government spends $1 billion, $10 billion?
3) Many conservatives/libertarians believe that the best way to preserve life is through less government involvement. The argument that if there are not more health care programs, kids will die seems to trump all other arguments. After all, who doesn’t want kids to live. However, someone such as myself believes that less government involvement in health care makes health care better for everyone. It is not so much an issue of me paying higher taxes – if I thought universal health care was truly the way, I would support it. However, I genuinely believe a less constrained health care system is the answer.
The point is, I am not trying to argue for a pro-life position or justify anything, I am just addressing the reasonable question that many liberals have concerning the pro-life position. For one, one can be philosophically consistent by supporting life-protection measures and not life-preserving measures. Secondly, many pro-lifers do support the preservation of life to some extent, just not to the extent that liberals do. Finally, many conservative/libertarians believe that less government, not more, is the answer to helping people, especially in the health care arena.