How Pope Francis Reframes the Politics of Being ‘Prolife’ | Commonweal Magazine

If it means anything at all, “pro-life” must mean also protection for those already living – not just for those not yet born. That includes protection for the poor, the marginalised, refugees, and criminals. It does not support the death penalty. Pope Francis understands this.

Not that long ago conservative politicians in the United States could get away with touting their “prolife” bona fides solely because of their opposition to abortion. Political leaders on the right who slashed safety nets for the poor, denied climate change, and made life harder for pregnant women rarely felt any real heat from bishops, never mind a pope, as long as they were viewed as sufficiently anti-abortion.

Pope Francis is making those once comfortable politicians look over their shoulders.

Since his election almost five years ago, the pope has rejected a narrow, single-issue framing of what it means to be “prolife” in ways that offer a refreshing, long overdue challenge to a binary U.S. political narrative. Earlier this week, in one of his now-classic freewheeling in-flight press conferences, Francis was back at it. When asked about President Trump’s decision to roll back an Obama-era program that protected some 800,000 young immigrants brought to the United States when they were children—the president gave Congress only six months to find a solution—Francis didn’t equivocate.

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