Paul Ryan Urges an Expanded Coalition to Protect the Unborn

by Kathryn Jean Lopez

Tonight, in a speech at the Susan B. Anthony List’s annual dinner, Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan will urge the Republican party and conservative movemnet to refuse to abandon the protection of innocent human life and pro-lifers to expand the coalition defending life.

“Our critics say we should abandon our pro-life beliefs. But that would only demoralize our voters,” he will say, according to excerpts provided to National Review Online. “It’s an odd strategy, I think: the cynical ploy followed by the thumping defeat. Besides, you’re proving the critics wrong. You’re helping pro-life leaders win races across the country. You’re showing that “what convinces is conviction,” he will say.

“To advance the pro-life cause, we need to work with people who consider themselves pro-choice — because our task isn’t to purge our ranks. It’s to grow them,” according to excerpts.

He’ll also say:

We understand the best way to advance a cause isn’t to push our political adversaries away. It’s to convince them. . . .

Labels can be misleading. A pro-choice Republican senator from Massachusetts nearly derailed Obamacare just by being elected. But a pro-life Democratic congressman from Michigan delivered the votes that passed it into law.

(That brings back bad memories, of course.)

He will also issue a beyond-birth challenge: 

“Our mission isn’t just to protect life, but to improve it. We have to remind people that concern for the poor doesn’t demand faith in big government. It demands something more — from all of us.

The poor and powerless, they need a helping hand. We’re ready to offer it. But they need more than a check in the mail. They need a loving family and a supportive neighborhood. They need a vibrant community. Those experiences — of providing for their families, of being a part of something — they’re what we all need. And we can speak to those needs — because just as we see the worth of every human life, we see the potential in every human being.

Government can’t create that potential. It can’t confer dignity. But it can protect it. We want government to treat us equally — to protect our natural rights. We want government to make room for our communities to grow — so the families in them have room to thrive. That’s the vision we need to articulate. We see a country where families are strong, where the economy is growing, and where women have real choices — between good schools and good jobs and great opportunities.

Paul Ryan has long been consistent in trying to apply principles of Catholic Social Teaching in his policymaking, often articulating just that, trying to appeal to those self-consciously concerned with “social justice” issues. Life is the ultimate social-justice issue. He’s urged the party, and the conservative movement, of the crucial nature of this fight before.

It’s a timely speech, at a time when we’re looking away from horrors in Philadelphia that is the shame of the conscience of a nation 40 years into legal abortion. It is misleading language about choice and freedom that leads to this, keeping abortion out of site, pretending it’s something other than it is: the ending of innocent life. 

More tonight … 

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