Culture,  Politics

Thomas Friedman’s Definition of “Pro-life” Is Absurd

Thomas Friedman has a rather astonishing take on what it means to be pro-life. In a column over the weekend, he tries to redefine terms so that he can stake out the rhetorical high ground for people who support an unlimited right to abortion. He writes:

In my world, you don’t get to call yourself “pro-life” and be against common-sense gun control — like banning public access to the kind of semiautomatic assault rifle, designed for warfare, that was used recently in a Colorado theater. You don’t get to call yourself “pro-life” and want to shut down the Environmental Protection Agency, which ensures clean air and clean water, prevents childhood asthma, preserves biodiversity and combats climate change that could disrupt every life on the planet. You don’t get to call yourself “pro-life” and oppose programs like Head Start that provide basic education, health and nutrition for the most disadvantaged children. You can call yourself a “pro-conception-to-birth, indifferent-to-life conservative.” I will never refer to someone who pickets Planned Parenthood but lobbies against common-sense gun laws as “pro-life.”

The rest of this column is really badly done. It does not engage pro-life arguments in any serious way. Instead it just rehearses pro-choice propaganda that gives no consideration to the humanity of the unborn. Nevertheless, I want to respond to Friedman’s argument about who gets to call themselves pro-life. Thomas Friedman supports the right of a woman to have an abortion at any time for any reason, no matter if the woman is 1 month pregnant or 8 months pregnant. In other words, he supports the regime of Roe v. Wade, which has presided over the legal killing of 55 million unborn human beings since 1973. He thinks that this entire class of persons should be excluded from the human community simply because they live inside their mother’s womb instead of outside of it. They are innocent human persons, and yet he thinks it should be legal to kill them at any time for any reason.

Friedman’s argument is sophistry and violence. No matter how many gun control laws you support, now matter how many soft-drink bans you endorse, no matter how ardently you support the environmental protection agency; if you support a regime that has presided over the legal killing of 55 million persons, you are not pro-life.


  • James Harold Thomas

    Sounds like a lot of false dilemmas. Since you don’t fully agree with my solution (which will always be a bloated federal program), then you don’t care about the problem.

  • Frank Turk

    It’s funny how they want to talk about everything except the actual fact of abortion to criticize their opponents on this matter. What if, in fact, all people who oppose abortion thing that felons and the mentally ill should be issued free fire arms, we endorsed obesity and pollution, we demanded more global warming, and we were unmitigated racists at a scientific level in which we defined a certain family of our species as the only good and useful humans — but we still opposed the unwarranted death of babies because they were inconvenient for their mothers? If we were monsters in every way, that is not an argument against the abolition of abortion: that’s a way to avoid talking about it.

    Thanks for the clear-sighted comments, Denny.

  • amy bonebright

    A true elitist – he knows best and we should all view the world through his lenses. Thank God for alternate forms of media and opinions!

    • Paul Abella

      This is silly coming from the comments section of a far right wing blog. If someone weren’t viewing the world through Denny’s lenses, he’d tell them (probably gently) that they’re going to Hell or on the wrong path, etc. We ALL view the world through our lens and think that other sets of lenses are wrong. it’s human nature. This is a clear situation of the pot calling the kettle black. Don’t do that.

      • Joy Felix

        Astute observation. I am curious why there are so many direct attacks on individuals on this blog. Coming here for biblical inspiration less and less. Why is it necessary to attack so many so often?

    • Paul Abella

      sure, but there is some truth to his argument, which is actually fairly old and even used at one point by Mike Huckabee before he went insane. Being pro-life SHOULD be about be pro-all stages of life. I would tend to agree that people that want to call themselves pro-life, but cease to care about that life the second it exits the birth canal are not pro-life at all. Sorry. If you think head start or hot lunch programs are just “bloated government programs” then YOU volunteer to offer up the charitable 3rd party version instead. No calling for its demise with a refusal to personally offer up something better.

      • Jason Owens

        The cool thing is you can stop abortion without cutting head start, or hot lunches, or the EPA.

        It’s actually kind of ridiculous to lump those things together without actually addressing the humanity of the unborn.

        I mean if you really break down the arguments, there wouldn’t be as large of a need for head start or hot lunch programs if more babies were killed before they could burden the system right?

        Most people who support more fiscal responsibility don’t want to eliminate all government programs (contrary to what is portrayed by the media), but I do think all of them could be more wisely stewarded (this includes defense spending so no need to come back at me with how much we waste on that). One of my favorite quotes of the debate (because I can see it to be so true from looking at the world), government hasn’t been good at bringing down the cost of anything. It’s a little off topic, but speaks to the absurdity of the link between completely unrelated arguments.

  • Jason Owens

    I guess you could make the reverse argument about being pro-choice. You think the wealthiest 1% deserve less of their own money, so you take away their opportunity to keep it by taxing the wealth out of them. Pro-choice would be allowing people to do with their money and resources whatever they wanted. Pro-choice would not force all citizens to pay for abortions for other people. Pro-choice would not call Christians bigots for making a choice to stand for biblical principles. The arguments are endless, and Denny is right on this one the point here is to change the subject rather than deal with the reality.

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