By Steven Howard, M.A. student
On Friday, January 24, I had the opportunity to join with the Democrats for Life of America for the March for Life. Although I have supported the organization for several years, this was my first official engagement with them. I have been pro-life for my entire life and a Democrat ever since I was able to register to vote before the 2012 presidential election. When I reflect on Catholic Social Teaching, my convictions are that it calls us to be strongly pro-life when it comes to bioethical issues such as abortion, the death penalty, and euthanasia, but also when it comes to issues such as the economy, the enviornment, healthcare, gun control, immigration, and racial reconciliation. In fact, when observing statements and policy recommendations from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, I often find that they agree with Republicans on bioethical issues, but also agree with Democrats when it comes to many of the aforementioned other issues. Consequently, I find a Catholic can be a Democrat or a Republican. However, a Catholic cannot toe the line with either party’s platform one-hundred percent. Catholic Democrats must press the party on the life issue and Catholic Republicans need to press the GOP to understand that being pro-life does not stop with the abortion issue (that is only where it begins!). In today’s political climate, I find there are very few whole-life elected officials. However, there are many pro-life Democrats in state legislatures such as State Senator Katrina Jackson of Louisiana, in state houses such as Governor John Bell Edwards of Louisiana, in the House of Representatives such as Congressman Dan Lipinski, and in the Senate such as Senator Bob Casey. It is vitally necessary for pro-life Catholics to support such leaders. Furthermore, there are Catholic Republicans and conservatives who also embrace the whole-life approach such as Congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey. I also greatly respect Senator Mitt Romney and columnist David French (the former a Mormon and the latter an Evangelical) as conservatives who approach politics with a full life approach. As Catholics and Christians, I believe our duty is to be a light to our nation and challenge our political parties rather than conform to them.