For some reason, I had never thought about what pro-life socialist policies might look like. But today, Jim Wallis’s Sojourner’s blog covered a Los Angeles Times story about a strategy shift in the Democratic party to support a House bill “designed not only to prevent unwanted pregnancies, but also to encourage women who do conceive to carry to term.”
Passed last week in the House with strong bi-partisan support, the bill provides millions of federal dollars to:
• Counsel more young women in crisis to consider adoption, not abortion.
• Launch an ad campaign to inform needy women that they can receive healthcare and other resources if they are “preparing for birth.”
• Expand parenting education and medical services for pregnant women, in some cases by sending nurses to their homes.
• Offer day care at federal job-training centers to help new mothers become self-sufficient.
According to the L.A. Times piece, the House is also considering a separate measure that would fund maternity and day-care centers on college campuses so “pregnant students won’t feel they must have an abortion to stay in school.”
So, leaving this open for discussion — Is this bill a step in the right direction that Christians should welcome and embrace as “life-affirming”? (If we federally fund abortions now, isn’t it better to federally fund moral alternatives?) Or is it just a political tactic to win over conscientious, religious voters while steeping them in the socialist principles of universal health care on their own ground? (Abortion is certainly more emotional for such voters than the worn-out, transparent appeals for federal health control they’ve heard in the past. And if much of the newly-allocated money goes to Planned Parenthood anyway, isn’t it just a wolf in sheep’s clothing?)
Perhaps it’s not enough for Christians to be “single-issue voters” on the abortion issue. Maybe what lies beneath the pro-life rhetoric matters, too. And when considering any act of the state, our only question should not be “is it a good idea?” — we should also ask the more important question, “Is it the government’s place?”