Senators Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin (both D-MI) had 100% pro-abortion voting records in the 110th Congress (2007–2008), but if the Evangelical Environmental Network (EEN) has its way, pro-life voters all over Michigan will think they’re pro-life. Senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe (both R-ME) and David Pryor (D-AR), whose 78% pro-abortion voting records put them among the most pro-abortion members of Congress, and Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) with a 65% pro-abortion record, also get the pro-life seal of approval from EEN.
Why call staunchly pro-abortion members of Congress pro-life?
Because EEN considers support for the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed new limits on mercury emissions from power plants reason enough. That’s despite the fact that even the EPA admits that its new regulations would yield no measurable benefits to health—let alone save any lives.
EEN is running radio and television ads and placing billboards in nine states claiming that 12 members of Congress are “pro-life or sensitive to pro-life concerns.” This is despite the fact that 6 of the 9 members with voting records in the 110th Congress, and at least 2 of the 3 without, support abortion “rights.”
“Pro-life”? That would be true of just 1 out of the 12 members of Congress supported by the ads—Sen. John Boozman (R-AR), who had a 100% pro-life voting record as a Representative in the 110th Congress—but not of the 11 others. “Sensitive to pro-life concerns?” We’ll grant Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), with an 88% pro-life voting record—but not Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA), with a mere 55% pro-life record, or the 6 remaining with records (2 at 0%, 3 at 22%, and 1 at 35%).
Indeed, the average 110th Congress pro-life voting record for the 9 members EEN’s ads support as “pro-life or sensitive to pro-life concerns” is 38.2%. Exclude Boozman and Alexander, and the average for the remaining 7 is a miserable 22.3%.
How does EEN justify calling these pro-abortion politicians pro-life? It says 1 in 6 American babies is born with a harmful blood mercury level and therefore that support for EPA’s proposed new restriction of mercury emissions qualifies one as pro-life.
In EEN’s one-minute radio spots, Tracey Bianchi, a Chicago-area pastor, says, “As an evangelical mom and pastor I believe that every life is a precious gift from God and I expect members of Congress who say they are pro-life to use their power to protect that life, especially the unborn. … The EPA’s mercury regulations were created specifically to protect the unborn from the devastating impacts of mercury which causes permanent brain damage in the unborn and infants.”
“Protect that life”? “Devastating impacts”? “Permanent brain damage”?
The truth, documented in The Cost of Good Intentions: The Ethics and Economics of the War Against Conventional Energy, is that not 1 in 6 but about 1 in 1,000 American babies is exposed to mercury at a level above the EPA’s “reference dose” of 5.8 parts per billion. Further, no harm has been detected at any level below 85 parts per billion (over 14 times higher than the “reference dose”)—a level not found in any American babies. Even at that level, the observable harm is a temporary, almost undetectable delay in neurological development—one so small it’s overshadowed by normal variation, one that disappears in nearly all by age 7.
Abortion doesn’t cause a minor reduction in brain development, it stops it—dead. It doesn’t cause temporary, almost undetectable reduction in neurological development among 1 in 6 babies. It kills 1.2 million every year in America. Over 1 in 5 pregnancies in America end in abortion (22%). Since 1973, because of abortion, over 54 million babies in this country have been dead on arrival.
Yet EEN insists that politicians who support the continued intentional massacre of over a million babies a year can proudly wear the pro-life label—and pro-life voters can conscientiously vote for them—so long as they support EPA’s plan to impose new restrictions on mercury emissions, restrictions that will cost the American economy enough ($10 billion to $100 billion per year) that economists can predict an extra 667 to 6,670 American deaths per year as a result.
The audacity of EEN’s campaign is breathtaking. Even accepting its bogus numbers and exaggerated harms, this is one of the most Machiavellian campaigns in American political history. Whether EEN’s leaders intend it or not, the campaign’s result, if successful, will be to water down the meaning of “pro-life,” split the pro-life vote, and cripple the effort to protect the lives of the unborn in America.
EEN President and CEO Mitch Hescox told one of us by email that he has been strongly pro-life for many years, taking part in right-to-life marches. We take his word for it. Presumably, then, he doesn’t intend this Machiavellian result.
Who might? Perhaps EEN’s funding source. We’ve not been able to unearth, yet, where the funding for this month’s campaigns came from. (E&E News’s Greenwire reported December 1 that the radio campaign alone was costing EEN $150,000.) But EEN received a $50,000 grant last July from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund “to elevate the voice of the evangelical community in its efforts to protect the Environmental Protection Agency.” And Rockefeller Brothers (whichgave EEN $200,000 in 2009 to support its global warming campaign) is a long-time supporter of abortion on demand as a means of population control.
Divide and conquer, anyone?
E. Calvin Beisner, Ph.D., is a theologian and ethicist and founder and national spokesman of The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation.