Op-Ed: Religious Freedom Is Essential to Defense of the Unborn – And It’s on the Ballot This Year

Most Christians in America are well aware that there will be a fight for life during the midterms this year. But what they may not realize is that abortion isn’t the only morally fundamental issue on the ballot this election cycle. Our right to religious liberty is, too. In a variety of ways, abortion policy has quickly become wrapped up with religious liberty issues. Sometimes it’s legislation seeking to abolish conscience rights or suppress religious practice where it might infringe upon abortion access. Sometimes it’s political leadership encouraging a culture of hostility towards religious dissenters from the pro-abortion regime, or anti-Christian hate speech online. Regardless of the specifics, one thing is clear: Pro-abortion advocates are heavily invested in suppressing religious expression and liberty for the sake of their cause. Let’s start with the legal strategies they’ve deployed so far. Even before Roe was overturned, the Biden administration’s Department of Health and Human Services scrapped a Trump-era conscience rule that protected health care workers from being forced to perform abortions or other medical proccedures to which they morally objected. Now that Roe has been overturned, Biden’s Justice Department is aggressively prosecuting pro-life protesters, even arresting them in their own homes. The plain goal of the Women’s Health Protection Act is to enshrine abortion in the U.S. as a “human right,” meaning that declining to provide an abortion would become a human rights violation. The government has been discriminating against Roman Catholic organizations in particular for a long time now, specifically because of their opposition to abortion, contraceptives and “gender-affirming” medical services. There’s also the culture of antagonism and even violence towards openly religious pro-life advocates and organizations. Just recently, I received a hateful screed via email just for pointing out that anti-Catholic hatred is bad and on the rise. What’s more, some of the Democratic Party’s leading lights are directly or indirectly encouraging hostility towards pro-lifers. The critical network of pregnancy resource centers has taken a lot of fire lately: Democratic Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren called for them to be “shut down” and has repeatedly characterized them as “misleading” and “deceptive.” Vice President Kamala Harris congratulated Democratic state attorneys general for “taking on” these centers. In the meantime, churches and pro-life businesses and organizations suffer ongoing violence and discrimination at the hands of the pro-abortion movement. But we can fix that. The midterms are approaching, and the men and women we elect to represent us will shape the future both of abortion and of free religious practice in America. We need men and women like Republican Michigan Rep. Lisa McClain and the GOP House members who recently stood up to Attorney General Merrick Garland, demanding action in the wake of violent anti-Catholic attacks. Christian conservatives need to vote for candidates committed to protecting the right to life and the free practice of religion, two of our most cherished and fundamental rights. Children deserve to be born. They deserve to be defended in the womb. The men and women leading the pro-abortion campaign know that for untrammeled abortion access to become the law of the land, they must first overcome the opposition of America’s faithful. And so it is essential that we defend with equal ferocity our God-given right to free practice of religion, no matter how much pro-abortion advocates may fight to suppress our convictions or expression of them in the public space. Christians are the most important and most durable ally of the unborn in America. So this November, vote to protect the unborn and to defend the existence of vigorous religious dissent from the pro-abortion regime. Vote for candidates who will press for the protection of life in the womb. Vote for candidates who will fight to make sure Christians are still able to freely believe, worship and follow God’s call without government interference. This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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