By Peter Sonski
January 22 was already a significant date for members of the pro-life movement, and President Joe Biden this week added to its infamy. The newly-inaugurated Biden, in an unprecedented joint statement with Vice-President Kamala Harris, committed to codifying the United States Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision. This bold proclamation, which came on the ruling’s forty-eighth anniversary, is likely to inspire abortion-rights advocates and further demoralize pro-lifers who are frustrated by Biden’s election.
The duo’s statement went on to promise the appointment of judges that will uphold the Roe decision, yet never used the term “abortion.” Instead, it euphemistically pledged that “everyone [will have] access to care – including reproductive health care.” Though merely a reaffirmation of his campaign promises, it also confirmed once again that Biden is beholden more to Democratic Party policies than to the tenets of the Catholic faith he professes.
The date of January 22 also marks the annual March for Life, which began in 1974 and has become a demonstration that regularly attracts tens of thousands to the nation’s capital in the cold of winter. This year, in the midst of the pandemic, the March’s organizers will replace the midday rally on the National Mall and the two-mile trek up Constitution Avenue to the Supreme Court building with a virtual event. In many ways, the March for Life has galvanized pro-life groups and individuals around the United States, giving rise to a unified and energized movement. The virtual event has the potential to involve still more participants this year in defense of life in the womb.
The American Solidarity Party (ASP) and its rank-and-file members are among the opponents of Biden’s announced abortion policies, and are concerned that more may be on their way. Among its early priorities, the Administration has signaled its intent to reverse the Mexico City Policy through executive order and to push for legislation from the Democratic-controlled Congress to overturn the Hyde Amendment.
Republicans also oppose these proposed actions, along with other measures to advance abortion funding or weaken abortion limitations. In reality, there is a chasm between the abortion policy positions of the two major political parties and, in a historical and unfortunate sense, the abortion issue is commonly reduced to political terms. In the present state of division in America, abortion is easily among the most contentious issues. It is argued in a black-and-white manner, without compromise or middle ground, and without much deference to the human element of child and mother. Party loyalists must defend (or at least acquiesce to) official positions, lest they are marginalized or overrun. There is little place for differing opinions.
Abortion can be defined in scientific terms, too, with an appeal to reason through empirical knowledge. Medical professionals have strong evidence of developing human life in utero, from the instant of fertilization. Ultrasound technology offers a window into the womb and many pregnancy resource centers provide mothers with that view in hopes they will see, along with their hardships, their child within. The scientific argument is valid, but abortion is a topic fraught with emotion. It is not the head but the heart that guides decisions about abortions, which is where the American Solidarity Party has a large role to play.
The ASP addresses abortion not in political or scientific terms, but in social terms. The party looks at the human circumstances that impact abortion decisions and advocates for change in multiple, proactive ways. The ASP platform proclaims an “unwavering commitment to defend life and to promote policies that safeguard the intrinsic dignity of the human person from conception until natural death.” It goes further to call for measures that “specifically include a constitutional amendment clarifying that there is no right to abortion, as well as laws that prohibit or restrict abortion.” The ASP approach is not limited to the legal end of abortion-on-demand; rather, it holds the realistic expectation that legal prohibitions are not enough. Abortion will end when it is undesirable and unnecessary.
Though it uncompromisingly seeks to end all legal sanction for abortion, the ASP also acknowledges the need for a social safety net to mitigate decisions which lead to abortion: strong families, living wages and workplace accomodations, access to quality health care and child care, safe neighborhoods, and good education options. The ASP brand of outreach includes public and private programs working in tandem to offer a variety of supports for all struggling families, not least pregnant single women and mothers who are heads of households. Providing basic needs and eliminating fears for personal safety or loss of employment income are the core of an ASP plan for reducing the felt need for recourse to abortion. This approach elevates human dignity and promotes greater appreciation for life in the womb.
During the past four years, Republicans delivered harsh rhetoric and three Supreme Court appointees, but didn’t overturn Roe v. Wade. The pronouncement by the new Administration serves only to strengthen the Democratic Party’s relationship with the lucrative abortion industry. The ASP isn’t anchored in polemic extremes, though. Neither is it a Pollyanna, assuming that there will be a simple, quick, or complete end to women’s recourse to abortion. Ours is a solid position in defiance of the failed policy of five decades, a holistic response with arms outstretched to those in need who wrestle with the decision to secure an abortion, and unwavering belief that all human life is filled with dignity and unlimited potential.