Pro-life discussion tackles arguments beyond abortion debate


Four pro-life panelists presented secular perspectives on the issue of abortion, the death penalty and other topics March 22.

Secular and pro-life are not typically descriptors you would encounter in tandem in an advertisement for a St. Edward’s University panel, but Campus Ministry defied the norm last week when they hosted a panel that united them.

On March 22, four pro-life panelists presented secular perspectives on the issue of abortion at the Pierle Scholar Panel on Respect for Life in Jones Auditorium, drawing on personal experiences from their respective fields.

The panelists relayed anecdotal answers to questions posed by Jack Musselman, associate professor of philosophy and director of the Center for Ethics and Leadership, which co-sponsored the event.

“The mission of the Pierle scholar seeks to promote a consistent ethic of life based upon human dignity of each person and the Catholic church’s teachings,” the Pierle Scholar recipient who organized the event, Allison Frando said.

Musselman said that he wanted the discussion to focus on “not necessarily just religious arguments, even though that’s fine too.”

The quartet consisted of a lobbyist, an editor at Pro-Life Pagans, the National Director of the Consistent Life Network, and the founder of the Austin Pregnancy Resource Center.

“There are ways that people kill each other that we think is just normal, and legal and insufferable and sometimes even wonderful and patriotic and that just hurts my heart,” the National Director of the Consistent Life Network, Thad Crouch said.

He said that he had always been pro-life but hadn’t began advocating for it until about four years ago when “God really put it on [his] heart.”

“When people think about pro-life, I hope they think about abortion — but just as readily think about the death penalty, war, poverty and ethnic cleansing and other ways people kill each other,” Couch said.

For Crouch, and his organization, promoting a consistent life ethic includes condemning all forms of violence; not just abortion.

He argued that the death penalty, extreme poverty, euthanasia, and racial inequality, among other things, were examples of violence that we should think about when we are thinking about what it means to be pro-life.

“It’s all violence,” Crouch said. “We put abortion in the context of violence.”

Though Crouch identifies with the Catholic faith and acknowledges the impact it has had on his conception of a consistent life ethic, he emphasized a need to use secular arguments to defend the rights of those unable to defend themselves.

“While I am a Catholic, and we have folks from various religions, we like to use secular arguments with the Consistent Life Network because we’re non-partisan,” Crouch said. “It’s necessary to do. That’s what we have to do if we want equal protection for the unborn. ”