2020 1st Place Essay
The Democratic Party is characterized by a keen sense of justice, a willingness to evaluate and reevaluate our sociopolitical structures, and most of all, a deep belief in the sanctity of life. We have seen this commitment in every Democratic platform in recent history- gun reform, healthcare accessibility, women’s empowerment, minority rights- all for the conviction that no life should be lost needlessly. This drive to protect and uplift the most vulnerable in society aligns with the intention of the pro-life movement, yet many Democrats do not understand the reasoning behind the progressive pro-life platform. Thus, in this time of great social and political change, I would ask pro-life Democrats to be active and vocal in the Democratic Party to encourage open political discourse by raising pressing questions about the ethics of our laws and our leaders.
In mainstream Democratic media, pro-life views are described as unethical and backward. On social media, where many young people develop their political views, pro-life beliefs are vilified as misogynistic and torn apart in passionate twitter rants and Instagram graphics. Growing up in a liberal suburb in Southern California, pro-life was synonymous with anti-feminist. Pro-lifers were corrupt male judges who stripped women of rights. Pro-lifers were cruel and violent demonstrators who harassed young girls. Pro-lifers overlooked rape and incest.
For most of my life, I believed this. I was the daughter of immigrants who worked hard to make a living; I could not imagine giving up the education that my parents worked so hard to secure for me, and I was sure that having a child would ruin my chance at a career. I was convinced that motherhood was incompatible with social mobility.
When I first stumbled upon the Democrat’s For Life of America (DFLA) website, I, unfortunately, thought it was satire– but I had never seen such dense text on any satire site– so I began to read. Even with a narrow mind, I found myself agreeing with many of DFLA’s platforms wholeheartedly. I saw the term “whole-life feminism” for the very first time and realized that my own support for the pro-choice movement was a reflection of my own fears in a society that failed to support women and mothers. Just like the rest of Generation Z, I developed my beliefs in a social media echo chamber. I was convinced by pro-choice arguments because it was the only view on abortion that I had ever come across. I read rebuttals about the “evil” of pro-life values before I even knew what pro-life values were.
Pro-life Democrats should stay in the Democratic Party without having to hide their views because their whole-life feminist ideas make a valuable contribution to current theories about human rights and civic reform. Pro-life Democrats offer humane alternatives to abortion and have the same ultimate goal as the rest of the Democratic Party: to create a society where women are in control of their reproductive health and can not only prevent unwanted pregnancies but also be able to have children without financial or social worries. In other words, collaboration between pro-life Democrats and the Democratic Party is a step towards a society where abortions will no longer be necessary.
Democrats and pro-life Democrats can definitely agree that pregnant women should be given medical and psychological support. They can agree that youth must be taught about the risks of sex, and how to minimize them. Most of all, they can agree that women’s careers have been hindered by society’s failure to respect and support mothers.
In a time where politics is being increasingly polarized, and youth often use social media as a news source, the pro-life Democrats have an important role to play. Educating the public on pro-life values will inspire greater understanding and empathy, and open doors to civil discourse about issues of deep conscience. Thus, I would say to all pro-life Democrats: please be a part of the Democratic Party and share your thoughts, because our society, our leaders, and our youth have so much more to learn about how to support women’s equality and fight for life.
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