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(Unsplash/Register illustration)

COMMENTARY: The pro-life movement really has matured from a single-issue battle, fought in a single way, to a multi-issue movement.

By Jennifer Roback Morse, EWTNNews, 2/13/20

Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., is the founder and president of the Ruth Institute. She is the author of The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologies Are Destroying Lives and How the Church Was Right All Along. She first wrote about the failure-to-thrive syndrome in her book Love and Economics: It Takes a Family to Raise a Village, originally published in 2001.

Committed pro-life activists are often accused of being too focused on abortion: “If you really cared about babies, you would also care about Issue X!”

True, children need many things to survive and thrive, and pro-lifers should work on those issues as well as the abortion issue. But the “Seamless Garment,” as a rhetorical strategy, is often perceived by pro-lifers as a subtle or not-so-subtle attempt to undermine them. All too often, these suspicions are well-founded. So my next statement may surprise you: The pro-life movement needs a Seamless Garment of its own. Let me explain.

The Ruth Institute conducted a survey of pro-life student opinion at the Students for Life Pro-Life Summit on Jan. 25 in Washington, D.C. More than 3,000 people attended this summit the day after the 47th-annual national March for Life. Nearly 10% of the attendees stopped by the Ruth Institute booth and took our survey. Their ages ranged from 12 through 76, with an average of 28. The respondents were 71% women and 77% Catholic.

We asked them: “What other related issues concern you? Check all that apply.” Of the 305 people who answered, the following percentages flagged these issues:

  • 83% said they were concerned about euthanasia.
  • 83% said they were concerned about the decline of marriage.
  • 66% said they were concerned about contraception.
  • 59% said they were concerned about comprehensive sexuality education.
  • 50% said they were concerned about surrogacy, egg donation and sperm donation.
  • 47% said they were concerned about the worldwide decline of fertility.

True enough, these are not the issues that advocates of the Seamless Garment generally mention. Back when Cardinal Joseph Bernardin of Chicago popularized the Seamless Garment, the issues included government programs supporting the material needs of children.  ….

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