Courtney Hood recently published a heartfelt article that I greatly sympathize with, at least with respect to her care for others. As someone who is prolife, there is more to human life than just its birth, but I think the article gets several things wrong:
I do value all stages of life so there’s an appeal to this, but I will say that if we cannot value life at its most innocent and vulnerable stage, how can we claim to value life at any of its other stages? At what stage does life start mattering and why that stage? If we cannot properly value the most fundamental aspect of life (which is our right to live) then our quality of life is not a right either. So the question can be turned around.
Now, to address this articles’ objection, we care about the quality of life but in a different way. The article condemns our moral values as expressing “outdated views” without realizing that these values are the pillars of a thriving society. To borrow from Plato, “An unexamined life is not worth living.” The quality of life is directly affected by our moral values. So if we think it is permissible to have premarital sex, children out of wedlock, no-fault divorces, and the like then what inevitably occurs is that the quality of life suffers with it. The family is one of the most effective weapons against poverty, but once the family breaks down, so does our life.
The liberal position is like encouraging a child to play with fire and afterwards providing free governmental care. Conservatives promote moral values that preemptively discourages harm from occurring in the first place. The liberal solutions to these problems (minimum wage, food stamps, welfare, etc) at best just patches the holes of an already sinking ship. You have to get to the root of a problem if you’re going to solve a problem, otherwise you’re just delaying and covering up the harmful effects until it sinks. I should note that only God can change hearts, however, so conservatives can only offer trade off solutions in the political realm.
Also, it’s not that conservatives are in principle against healthcare or against providing some kind of safety net for struggling mothers. We just have different methods of doing so that emphasize individual empowerment rather than dependency. The problem with liberals is that they equate their policies with caring about the quality of life and anyone who disagrees with their way of doing things must not care about life. This is completely unfair. Some disagree with minimum wage laws, for example, because it increases unemployment. They may be wrong, but it’s not because they do not care about life.