Climate Change is the Pro-Life Issue of This Generation

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Last week, California announced one of the boldest pro-life regulations in history.

If you’re part of the Pro-Life movement, that may be a sentence you never expected to hear in a state where liberals run rampant and morals are nonexistent.

But it’s true. Governor Gavin Newsom announced that he was banning the manufacturing and sale of new gas-powered cars by the year 2035. Despite this major piece of pro-life news, I was surprised to see how little attention it received from the Pro-Life movement, who instead spent the week anxiously awaiting the announcement of a Supreme Court pick who may very well work to strike down this life-protecting regulation should it ever reach the high court.

Of course, in reality I wasn’t surprised by the lack of attention the announcement received because it is White Evangelicals who make up both the majority of the Pro-Life movement in the United States, and are most likely to be climate deniers or not view climate change as a major issue, according to research by Pew.

And quite frankly, I find this hard to understand. Because the mission of the Pro-Life movement as I have always understood it is to protect the lives of the unborn. Yet the greatest new and growing threat those who are yet to be born face to their lives today is not abortion law, it’s climate change.

I am not a climate scientist and I won’t pretend to have every fact, but what is clear is that if we don’t make major changes quickly in regard to our regulation on the environment and take major action to address climate change, the effects will be greater than the end of white Christmases. We will have at our hands the greatest humanitarian crisis we have ever seen; with life lost to hurricanes and wildfires, tornadoes and earthquakes, and a migration of people that would uproot our societies and put millions in danger of losing their lives. And I’m not talking about some far-off dystopia; I am talking about the very real reality that the children born today will face in their lifetimes.

I am not seeking to discredit the efforts of the Pro-Life movement in regard to abortion, however, what is true is that the Pro-Life movement and organizations around it have a history of supporting candidates for public office who deny climate change’s existence, skirt the issue, or do not prioritize it. This is anti-life. If we truly want to protect the unborn, we would be doing more to preserve the planet that they are going to be born into and subvert the crises that they will face in their lifetimes that will dwarf the Coronavirus pandemic in perspective. The WHO predicts we will have a Coronavirus pandemic every year from 2030 to 2050 in the number of deaths attributable to climate change. We cannot in good faith be working to preserve life in the womb, only to not give our children the chance at a prosperous life when they are born.

The Catholic Church, the bedrock of Pro-Life principle around the world, recognizes Climate Change as an existential issue, one in line with the importance of preserving the life of the unborn, so why hasn’t the importance of that issue taken root in the United States Pro-Life movement?

Pro-Lifers and Evangelicals were served a major victory last weekend with the naming of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to fill the seat of the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court. One of the reasons for this victory is that she is viewed by many as someone who will be a Pro-Life justice. But I’m not so sure. While Barrett has faced few climate related decisions on her federal bench in Chicago, if she views environmental regulation in the same way her conservative counterparts do, any sweeping climate regulation or legislation over the next 20 years could face trouble if it reaches the Supremes, which could further exacerbate life endangering climate issues.

I often ask pro-life conservative friends, even those who do acknowledge the existence of climate change, why they don’t give the issue greater heart. My favorite response is “well it would hurt the economy.” They point to plenty of studies and statistics about the economic impact of climate regulation; some valid, some that could be solved with a little creativity, and some bogus. But my question is this: when have conservatives asked about the economic impact of overturning Roe v. Wade?

What happens to the women who now have their careers disrupted by an unplanned pregnancy, who no longer get to advance and create wealth for their families? What happens to the teenager who goes into debt because she can’t afford to provide for her child? We will see fewer women in the workforce, reducing output in our organizations, and reducing median household incomes. More women and children would be in poverty in the United States.

Raising these questions alone is going to get me in a lot trouble in conservative circles. “How could you say that? What kind of monster would justify the killing of innocent life by economic cost? This is a moral imperative. We have a moral obligation to protect life despite the economic cost.” Okay, fair. So my question is, what is the difference? Climate Change is also a moral imperative and we have a moral obligation to protect life on Earth despite the economic cost. Just as Pro-Lifers would never question the economics of ending abortions, so too should they not question the costs of saving the planet.

Let me be clear, I am in no way attacking the Pro-Life movement in their mission to end abortion. My views on abortion are irrelevant to this argument. What I am saying is that if you call yourself Pro-Life and deny climate change, vote for those who do, or are not taking steps in your own life to preserve the planet; then I don’t believe you.

Climate change is the pro-life issue of this generation. One of the best things we can do to preserve life for the unborn is to protect the planet that they will inhabit. And so, when we talk about being pro-life, and we look to see where candidates stand on abortion, we also have to see where they stand on climate change. Being Pro-Life means being Pro-Climate.

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Anthony Massa

Anthony Massa

Organizational psych guru interested in values based organizations, Gen Z, and the Future of Work. Working to create a happier, more productive workforce.