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The United States Lacks a Genuine Pro-Life Political Party

To grasp the significant ethical, political, and intellectual decline of the anti-abortion movement, one should turn their attention to the Alabama Supreme Court rather than solely focusing on recent events like Donald Trump’s commitment not to endorse a nationwide abortion prohibition or Kari Lake’s shift on Arizona’s reinstated 1864 anti-abortion legislation.

The pivotal moment arose when the Alabama Supreme Court decreed that embryos conceived through in vitro fertilization (I.V.F.) fell under the state’s wrongful death law. This decision compelled the anti-abortion movement to confront the broader cultural and political ramifications of its stance on unborn children, leading pro-life Republicans to falter. They swiftly capitulated on a fundamental philosophical tenet of the movement—the immeasurable value of every human life regardless of its size. Consequently, the movement now either remains passive or even applauds as Trump steers the Republican Party towards a pro-choice stance, albeit one slightly more centrist than the Democrats.

The conventional anti-abortion argument draws from diverse religious and secular foundations, all converging on a shared conviction: the moment of conception marks the beginning of a distinct human life. While acknowledging the baby’s complete reliance on the mother, proponents assert its separate human existence. The baby’s life is not prioritized over the mother’s, which explains why well-crafted anti-abortion laws safeguard both the unborn child’s life and the mother’s physical well-being. Except in extreme circumstances, deliberate termination of the unborn child is deemed impermissible.

Despite varying strategies among anti-abortion advocates on how best to safeguard unborn children—whether through legal constraints, initiatives to reduce abortion demand, or a combination of both—consensus has long prevailed on the fundamental assertion that an unborn child, from conception onwards, merits protection as a person.

Hence, the Alabama Supreme Court’s ruling in February, extending the state’s wrongful death statute to frozen embryos preserved during the I.V.F. process, should not have been unexpected. If state legislation recognizes an unborn child as a separate human life, this principle logically extends to all unborn children, including those conceived through fertility treatments. Even when embryos are cryogenically preserved outside the womb, their humanity remains intact—equally valuable as those conceived naturally.

Conversely, many pro-choice advocates would dismiss the aforementioned arguments. They hold genuine disagreements regarding the point at which an embryo or fetus qualifies as a “person” deserving legal safeguards, and they question the motives of the anti-abortion movement. They contend that the movement is rooted in power dynamics and control, aiming to restrict women’s choices, confine them to domestic roles, and perpetuate male dominance. They view the rhetoric espousing the sanctity of all life and self-sacrifice as a facade, asserting that, ultimately, the anti-abortion narrative serves as a tool to suppress individuals deemed unfavorable by Republicans.