As a life long pro-life Democrat, my interest has always been a genuinely whole-life platform. It has been clear to me, this year more than ever, that the Democratic platform is more whole-life than the Republican platform. However, I repeatedly hear in Evangelical circles that abortion is the main reason that people are voting against Hillary Clinton. I, on the other hand, am voting for Hillary because I am pro-life.
During President Obama’s administration, abortion rates have continued to fall; they are currently at their lowest rate since becoming legal. The cause for this drop may at first glance seem complex, but much of that complexity can be summed up in one word: Economics. How do economics influence abortion? In the United States, one out of every four children are at risk of going to bed hungry at night. A quarter of all American families incomes are less than the poverty level and half of all incomes are less that $35,000 a year. These economics directly contribute to 75% of abortions.
When poverty is cut in half it reduces abortion by 30%. These studies show that when you further invest in whole-life policies like funding programs to provide adoption assistance, reducing health care costs, funding domestic violence programs, funding programs to reduce unwanted pregnancies, and reducing childcare costs, you can cut abortion by a further 50%.
As I mentioned before, the Republican party has sold white evangelicals on the idea that it is the “pro-life party.” At the same time, many of its members have worked to deny poor families and single mothers the ability to feed their children–constantly cutting food stamps, refusing to sponsor legislation that would make well-child checks affordable, and constantly striving to cut programs like Head Start—the single most successful program at helping single and/or impoverished moms afford childcare, feed and educate their children, and get back to work. The myth that these programs help those who do not work is wrong. For families with children, sixty percent of those receiving SNAP (food stamps) are employed and ninety percent have been employed in the previous or subsequent year.
The criticism of these policies is based on “trickle down economics” that became popular in the 1980s. Through strategic, and secular planning, the Christian Left gave way to the Christian Right, and in the process Reganomics replaced the Bible as the guiding principle for evangelical understandings of poverty. This shift is not just a social problem for evangelicals but also a spiritual one–economics (wealth/poverty) is arguably the most frequently mentioned topic in scripture, because it has so much to do with how love of neighbor plays out.
The reality is that trickle-down is a failure. It does make a lot of people (1%) very wealthy, but it has done very little actual trickling down. Everyone has a right to their opinion, but this is a matter of facts, not opinions. And here are the facts: From the time of the Korean War (1950) until the Reagan era (1980) we followed a Truman-era Democratic economic plan, and we became an economic super power. During this time the national debt was halved, foreign aid was triple what it is now, and the economy soared. Since 1980, the national debt has doubled and then some, and the Gross National Product has decreased by half. This is the economic theory that Donald Trump supports, and it is clear that as it further disempowers those who are already struggling, it will lead to higher abortion rates and, perhaps even beyond that, higher rates of suffering in our country as a whole.
I am voting for Hillary Clinton this election, then, because I see her economic platform as being pro-person with a focus on whole-life policies that both lower abortion and increase all of our ability to thrive, through:
- Supporting a living wage.
- Policies that make families stronger, such as paid family leave.
- A fair and carefully-vetted approach to welcoming immigrants.
- Reforming America’s broken, unjust and racially biased criminal justice system.
- Taking the threat posed by climate change seriously—something that threatens every life on earth.
- A plan to fight poverty in the U.S.
- Wise Supreme Court choices.
Yes, I said her Supreme Court choices. This seems to be another main reason white Evangelicals believe that supporting Trump is justifiable–they believe he will make Supreme Court choices that will make abortion illegal. History would lead us to believe that this is also a fallacy. The last four Republican Presidents have nominated Justices, and overall there has been no change in abortion’s federal legal status. Even if we assume that Trump will nominate judges with a Republican seal of approval, it is highly unlikely that this will change. (In fact, I think it is highly unlikely with any Republican nominee that abortion will become illegal at the federal level.) And, even all those Evangelical dreams come true and Roe v. Wade magically got overturned, we may just become like other countries where abortion is currently illegal, which have higher abortion rates than the U.S.
Though I will vote for Hillary, I do disagree with her on some key points. And I would not say that her integrity is spotless. In regards to the issues brought up with emails and Benghazi, however, I would point out that she was declared innocent by Republican-led committees! How is this still an issue, other than being thoroughly political?
When it comes to character, it is often made to sound like Hillary and Trump are on a basically equal footing. Hillary has had six lawsuits brought against her, and has lost none. What she has done is: expand health care for millions of children, helped create legislation to assist families in adoption and foster care for children, helped create the office on violence against women, and proposed a revival to Truman-era Home Owners Loan corporation, in addition to many, many other accomplishments. In comparison, Trump doesn’t have an iota of integrity or real family values. Trump has had thousands of law suits brought against him, including three rape cases and one rape involving a twelve-year old. How can the “Christian” candidate be one who is a particular threat to democracy, has had three marriages with publicly flaunted affairs, five bankruptcies, owns casinos, and boasts about sexual assault! Notwithstanding his marginalization and ridicule of the disabled, refugees, women and minorities!
If individual liberty and the ability for the individual to freely make choices to help them to thrive are of utmost importance to Republicans, as they have expressed, then they have their policies all wrong. The majority of America is working poor, unhealthy with unaffordable healthcare, and often in the position to make desperate choices. This reality is being fueled by the white evangelical vote for Republican policies. As a white evangelical myself, my hope is that if we start sticking to the facts instead of rhetoric, and our public choices emphasize our biblical values, then there is no question we would see abortion rates drastically decline—as well as an overall improvement in the quality of life for all U.S. citizens. We should and can return to economic theories that create a developed society and help children survive and thrive. Hillary’s track record for supporting families and what that says about her character is why she has my vote next Tuesday.
UPDATE ON NOVEMBER 7th:
Trump removed his pro-life stance from his website yesterday= biggest con in American history.
 Here is an story to illustrate how the Christian Left became the Christian Right. My father, Tony Hall, was a pro-life democrat in the U.S. Congress for 25 years. I remember when the trickle-down theory started in 1980 and the secularly-funded Christian Coalition (in partnership with Pat Robertson) began to put leaflets on cars outside of churches in his district of Dayton, OH, on Sunday mornings. The fliers said, “Tony Hall is not a Christian because he does not support the Capital Gains tax cut.”
 I would never consider voting libertarian because their economic policies are even more conservative than Republicans’ and would create an undeveloped nation. I would also not vote for a third party candidate because they cannot win, and too much is at stake this election.