A Single Issue—Life!


Respect Life

When my husband meets people who insist on the right to abortion, he always “agrees.”  “Certainly. I believe in it; but only to age 3. After that you have to keep the kid don’t you think?” His way of communicating with an edgy humor, sometimes gets people to think.

I’ve been trying to do my small part too in speaking out about abortion. But in an election year, talking about this means being told you are a “single issue voter” without any clue about the big picture. I’ve been told that a President can do nothing about abortion, so we can overlook that issue and vote on other areas of concern such as social justice.

So I’ve been praying about this. Am I rallying around an issue that is not relevant? Is abortion a single, isolated issue that becomes emotionally charged and easily manipulated by politicians but is really not something they can change?

Well, it came to me that there is a response to this charge. Here is what I wrote to my friends and family.

Dear friends,

The sad issue of abortion seems hard to change, doesn’t it? For forty years it’s been legal and socially acceptable in this country.  It was ruled into law by the Supreme Court and no president or Congress, from either party, has reversed that decision. But does that really mean a president has no impact on this issue? Does that mean abortion is irrelevant during an election? 

After praying and researching more about this topic it has become clear to me that there are dozens of issues related to abortion that presidents really do influence in profound ways. I’m not going to write about what individual presidents have done or not done. But I want you to know that abortion shouldn’t be dismissed as a single issue that is out of the control of politicians. A president can impact these all of these areas:

abortion funding, the rights of babies born alive during abortions (and there are many more of these infants than you want to know about), the extent of legal abortions (partial birth abortions and newborn abortions), the forcing of Catholic employers to provide contraception and abortion-inducing drugs to employees, the appointment of Supreme Court Justices who could vote on abortion again since we have new information about the pain babies experience during abortion, the appointment of key people in positions of power who make decisions in many areas such as health care and women’s issues, participation in UN conferences on “population control”, participation in “health care” support for third world countries where abortion is currently being promoted by the US, scientific research and the gender make-up of our country (since sex selection abortions are being considered now).

The president is responsible for moral leadership. That is a lot of influence, don’t you think? And these areas are just a few of the many ways a president makes decisions that impact the issue of abortion.

So is it being a “single issue voter” to be concerned? Many say that I am not seeing the big picture. But I must humbly beg to differ. It seems to me that abortion is connected to economics (where we put our money). It is connected to religious freedom. It is related to big government. It is a justice issue and it is related to the morality of our leaders. It is a life issue. It is a part of world affairs. It is a part of science, research and plans for the future.

Abortion impacts areas of freedom, morality and life itself. It is really connected to every other issue, isn’t it? Respect for LIFE is the single greatest social justice issue. Pope John Paul II said that we can’t practice the killing of the most innocent, without destroying the entire moral fabric of our country.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has declared that Oct. is Respect Life Month and 40 Days for Life Programs are underway in many communities.

Jesus said, “I came so all might have life and have it to the full.” (John 10:10.)

So, let’s promote and vote–on LIFE.

Copyright 2012 Judith Costello


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  1. cheryl dickow on

    Great and well thought out article. You’ve clearly laid out excellent points about the complexity and long-reaching affects any particular candidate can have on this issue.

    And I agree with Sheri’s comment as well.

    In the end, I would actually still hazard this question: Even if abortion is seen as a “one issue” line, aren’t people allowed to vote on one issue?

    Why is it acceptable for people to vote “their wallets” but not vote for “life.” And for all those concerned about social justice, shouldn’t the bottom line of social justice be fighting for the right to life? It is sad, odd, and ironic that those of us who choose to vote pro-life cannot do so without explaining ourselves away. Can’t it be enough that my Catholic Church teaches that abortion is intrinsically evil and so I will cast my vote against evil?

    For me that makes this one issue the most important issue of all.

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