Many MAGA adherents may think pro-lifers are whiny or too focused only on abortion. But without the right to life, the reinvigoration of a recognition of the people’s sovereignty that the MAGA-types yearn for is but a wistful dream and useless to boot; for the right to life precedes all other rights. And while pro-lifers might find MAGA-ites distasteful, yoked to a man they find morally subpar, the surest path to attain their ultimate victory over the culture of death is to recognize that MAGA articulates ideas and embodies a political posture essential to that victory.
America will rise or fall on the strength of the bond between MAGA and the pro-life movement, their ability to work together and learn from one another to “secure the Blessings of Liberty for ourselves and our Posterity.”
On Friday, I was privileged to join hundreds of thousands of pro-lifers who descended upon Washington, D.C. for the 46th annual March for Life. These marchers added themselves to the ranks of the millions of marchers from years past who bore witness to the truth that the legalized slaughter of tens of millions of our tiniest brothers and sisters is a horrendous moral atrocity. Our country’s abortion regime threatens us all because it attacks the inalienable right to life at its root. For decades, we have gathered to protest the mass destruction of an unfathomable number of the most defenseless and innocent among us—and we will continue to do so until abortion is recognized as the horrific crime it is.
And yet abortion remains as legal as it was when Roe v. Wade was handed down by the Supreme Court on January 22, 1973. But the pro-life movement can do more to hasten the long-awaited termination of the most immoral system of dehumanization since chattel slavery; it can learn from the original expositor of “MAGA”: Abraham Lincoln. How?
By drawing more explicitly and fervently upon the fruits of his statesmanship and moral-intellectual worldview.
Christians believe that Christ’s Passion, death, and resurrection secured the ultimate and definitive victory over sin and death; in other words, the eschatological battle has already been won, but each of us must draw upon its salvific power in our daily lives to defeat the evil that has not already been made His footstool in the here and now.
In much the same way, Lincoln’s political defeat of slavery is the paradigmatic victory over those who would deny the Declaration’s principle of moral equality. From this foundational, “self-evident” truth—“that all men are created equal”—we discern our sovereign right to self-government. We can draw upon the lessons of Lincoln’s careful, mid-nineteenth century victory to defeat a remaining, tyrannical force—the pro-choice faction—who dehumanize and destroy those who stand in their way to power, prestige, and pleasure.
Lincoln knew that slavery was a grievous affront to our rights as articulated in the Declaration of Independence. Because of fatal compromises at the founding, however, the truths of the Declaration at the level of principle could be ignored in practice by a slave power—one that eventually would become the Confederacy—built on the backs of subjugated and brutalized African Americans and legitimized by our compromised Constitution.
To rectify this grave injustice and preserve the Union, Lincoln successfully prosecuted the Civil War and reified a correct reading of the Constitution in light of Declaration principles, which later were solidified in the ratification of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments.
His prudent statesmanship and moral courage brought an end to the slave power, and because of his actions, rhetoric, and the legal change precipitated and effected by both, we now possess the intellectual, legal, cultural, and moral resources to effect a similar—but, we hope, bloodless—devastation upon the abortion power.
Lincoln forged an anti-slavery, pro-equality constitutional consensus in the bloody crucible of civil war; it is a consensus that we are now in danger of squandering. While that consensus has its own momentum and inner logic, it, and the principles of the Declaration that animate it, are not self-executing. “Self-evident” does not mean “obvious,” so there must be a political movement in support of these principles at all times. No political movement is viable that does not include adherents who are, when challenged, willing to fight, as Lincoln was willing to fight against slavery.
Fighting on behalf of such fundamental principles needn’t always be violent, even as its adherents must be willing to be. Thus, while we don’t now march upon Gettysburg, we can instead march peacefully upon the Supreme Court, a body ultimately responsible to “We the People,” and demand respect for the principles that Lincoln already showed us undergird our liberty. But peace, though precious, is hard to maintain when a consensus for the principles of liberty is not also maintained.
The pro-life movement needs to become more steeped in the political ramifications of its heritage; otherwise, we will never stamp out abortion. Abortion is perhaps the most radical denial possible of the principle that all human beings are created equal and cannot be ruled without their consent.
Those who would deny us our right to life certainly would deny us our sovereign right to govern ourselves, and those who would deny our sovereignty eventually will deny us our right to life.
It is therefore not surprising that we see the progressive Left—which increasingly militates against the principles of the Declaration as well as the Constitution itself—is opposed to both rights: our right to self-government and our right to life.
Pro-lifers need an iron will like Lincoln’s to fight pro-choice, anti-equality zealots, and they need also to study and emulate his political savvy; and MAGA needs something important enough to fight for. Unless they work together, our divided house—which admirably weathered the struggle over slavery—will collapse under the weight of 60 million tiny corpses.
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