Being pro-life and pro-environment

Can you be against abortion and climate change?

Pro-life marchers on Jan. 22, 2016, walk toward the U.S. Supreme Court in the annual March For Life in Washington. Photo: DJMcCoy/iStock

The annual March for Life in Washington that marks the U.S. Supreme Court legalizing abortion in January 1973 is an intriguing affair. It is a surreal sight, seeing so many different people from across the nation rallying around a single cause. So many of them being Catholic is particularly incredible, for you will likely never in your life see more habits and cassocks concentrated in one place save the Vatican itself.

In tow to the variously color-coded religious are often groups from either schools or local parishes which can encompass multiple generations. In a time where our Church is fraught with scandal propagated by its hierarchy, a rally of the faithful in protest of such a crime as legalized abortion is an inspiring moment, the very air effuses what I can only describe as “Catholic pride,” but even this is an unfitting descriptor. The conviction of so many hundreds of thousands is an intoxicating atmosphere. In the faceless throng driven by unwavering faith, you feel as though true change might be enacted were only our politicians as similarly enthused.

Yet should one find themselves in Washington, D.C on some cold day in January, they might find that most of one’s pro-life compatriots all generally belong to the right of the political spectrum. People who align themselves as either Republicans or conservative independents form the major corpus of participants. This is rather unsurprising, while likewise if one were to go to a rally demanding better legislation to handle the looming crisis of climate change, it is all but a guarantee that most participants there would fall squarely into the center-left or left of our political dichotomy.

One rally believes in the obvious realities of human conception, the other in the obvious realities of man’s impact upon his environment, diametrically opposed by wearing the colors of red and blue respectively. Both groups have science on their side, yet when considering both camps together there is not as much overlap as one might expect.

This is the great peculiarity of modern America, where the empirical and observational sciences, disciplines dedicated to measuring, observing, cataloguing and understanding the physical world around us have become enslaved by politics. It is where the preservation of the earth and the protection of the most vulnerable are each held to be of the utmost importance yet are jealously guarded by separate political parties. There is no justifiable reason for this aside from purely political considerations, pitting two noble causes against one another for the sake of victory in the great game.

Photo: SAKDAWUT14/iStock

It is regrettable, indeed a shame that as Catholics, we are without a political party which truly represents our interests. The Church has always opposed abortion as the assault on human dignity which it is, and as Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical Laudato Si’ (Praise Be to You: On Care for Our Common Home) demonstrates, we must now address the serious environmental problems wrought by our own careless hands. Both our unborn and our environment are delicate and vulnerable to the cold, careless scythe of arrogant industry, and both warrant our full protection and validation (see Laudato Si’, 119–120).

Why is it then that matters of both morality and science with quite obvious cases made to their validity are still treated as wedge issues? It is not unreasonable to suggest that keeping these debates in stasis only continues to empower our entrenched parties, effective tools for rallying support which, were they no longer to be divisive issues, would divest each party of a means to continued political relevance.

And so we languish in our present state of affairs. More of the unborn innocent shall be murdered, more destruction of our precious earth shall be wrought, for such crises are too valuable to fix. Science, the truths of which inform our morality and should give credence to good judgement, can now no longer provide the entirety of worldly truth to us, for the very conclusions it draws must now serve political ends. Much like how Herod could not accept that a true King of the Jews had been born (see Matthew 2), we lash out at the unborn in protest of reality.

May the Lord have mercy on our ignorance, and grant the blind the wisdom to see the truth before it is too late.

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