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It’s no easy life, being a pro-life progressive in modern America. Just ask Elizabeth Bruenig, an immensely talented writer in the unenviable position of being a self-declared pro-lifer working at a mainstream media outlet (in this case the Atlantic). You have to be careful if you’re in that sort of bind—careful you don’t anger the wrong editor or tick off a significant number of subscribers.

Writing on the looming rescission of Roe v. Wade, for instance, she refrained from directly criticizing the killing of preborn children, instead boldly declaring her support for “Nordically generous welfare programs” and writing:

[I] won’t endorse any politics other than a program of radical relief for American children.

Bruenig was not so vaguely equivocal when writing on the topic of children killed by mass shootings, lately describing those shootings as “the process of our civilization coming undone—of us becoming people less sensitive, less noble, and more barbaric than we once were” and declaring, without any sense of irony, that

a culture that kills its children has no future.

Well, yes, obviously. And it is something of a marvel that even a nominally pro-life liberal could miss the blindingly obvious dichotomy at play here: In America, children are killed by abortion at near-infinitely greater rates than they are by mass shootings.

By some data metrics, since the 1999 Columbine shootings, a little over 100 kids have died in school shootings. During that time, according to various estimates, around 24,700,000 children have died from abortion. In other words, a child is 0.0004129% likely to die from a mass shooting in this country as he is from abortion. School shootings are a horror beyond comprehension, yet the number of deaths associated with them look like a rounding error next to abortion. More children die from abortion in two hours in the United States than have been killed in school shootings in two decades.

A coherent pro-life philosophy is of course greatly concerned with stopping every killing of every innocent soul, be they in the womb or in a classroom. You can do both. But it is silly to act as if mass shootings are “undoing” the United States when of course we have been busily undoing ourselves for nearly five decades at this point. You will not solve anything by approaching the sanctity of life in so choosy and cavalier a fashion.

A culture and a civilization which has so comprehensively devalued human life that killing unborn humans has become a positive plot point in major motion pictures has already been barbaric beyond reckoning for years.

Everyone of good conscience of course wants to put a stop to the unthinkable brutality of school shootings. We also want the same for abortion, which is mass death on a scale that is hard to comprehend. We will not save many lives by averting our eyes to that awful and indelible truth.


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