Prominent pro-life leaders Wednesday condemned a campaign portraying controversial environmental regulations dealing with mercury as pro-life.
(February 8, Washington, DC)—More than 30 of the nation’s most prominent pro-life leaders have come together as one voice and issued an official statement against an environmental campaign spearheaded by the Evangelical Environmental Network calling mercury regulations “pro-life.”
In the statement “Protecting the Unborn and the Pro-Life Movement from a Misleading Environmentalist Tactic,” the pro-life leaders said,
“Recently some environmentalists have portrayed certain of their causes as intrinsic to the pro-life movement … As leaders of the pro-life movement, we reject that portrayal as disingenuous and dangerous to our efforts to protect the lives of unborn children.”
Signers of the statement include Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council; Penny Young Nance, President of Concerned Women for America; Tim Wildmon, President of the American Family Association; Richard Land, President of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission; Tom Minnery, Senior Vice President of Focus on the Family; Gary Bauer, President of American Values; Marjorie Dannenfelser, President of the Susan B Anthony Trust; Mark Tooley, President of the Institute on Religion and Democracy; Kelly Shackleford, President and CEO of the Liberty Institute; and Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of the Liberty Counsel. Their organizations represent over 16 million Americans.
“Two fundamental principles distinguish truly pro-life issues … from environmental issues,” the statement says. “First …, truly pro-life issues are issues of actual life and death, while environmental issues tend to be matters of health. Second, truly pro-life issues address actual intent to kill innocent people … while environmental issues do not.”
“We sympathize with parents whose children are adversely affected in any way by human impact on the environment, and we support responsible efforts to try to alleviate this impact,” said Barrett Duke, Vice President of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission and one of the statement’s signers, “but we oppose the appropriation of the pro-life cause in the effort to alleviate the impact of human mercury emissions on children as though it is in the same class as the outright destruction of more than 1.2 million unborn babies every year in our country.”
The statement was in response to a year-long campaign by the Evangelical Environmental Network (EEN) that culminated in a quarter-million-dollar ad campaign in December claiming, “being pro-life means protecting the unborn from mercury pollution,” though mercury pollution does not threaten the lives of the unborn. EEN’s campaign supported new regulations on power-plant mercury emissions announced in December by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and was supported financially by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, a long-time promoter of abortion on demand as a method of population control.
The statement, which refers readers to a Cornwall Alliance report released in October that refutes many myths about mercury, continues, “… calling mercury pollution and similar environmental causes pro-life obscures the meaning of pro-life. And thanking politicians with 100% pro-abortion voting records (even some who support partial-birth abortion) for their ‘pro-life’ position because they supported restrictions on mercury emissions, while rebuking some with 100% pro-life voting records because they opposed or didn’t support the new restrictions, as EEN’s campaign did, will confuse voters, divide the pro-life vote, and postpone the end of abortion on demand in America.”
Marilyn Musgrave, another signer and Vice President for Government Affairs of the Susan B Anthony List, said, “As a pro-life leader I am amazed that some in the far left environmentalist movement would try to hijack the term ‘pro-life’ and use it to further their agenda. It is my life’s call to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves and work to end abortion in this country. The term pro-life has profound meaning and should not be used deceitfully in this way.”
“The life in pro-life denotes not quality of life but life itself,” the statement says. “The term denotes opposition to a procedure that intentionally results in dead babies.
“In stark contrast, most environmental causes promoted as pro-life involve little threat to human life itself, and no intent to kill anyone.”
Dr. Wayne Grudem, Research Professor of Theology and Biblical Studies at Phoenix Seminary, who signed the statement, said, “The excessive and unreasonable pollution standards advocated by the ‘Evangelical Environmental Network’ will just serve to raise the cost of living through higher energy costs, especially for the poor, and thus they will hinder everyone’s quality of life in the United States. They want to prevent human beings from wisely using the abundant carbon-based energy resources that God has placed in the earth for our benefit. I think that genuine evangelicals should oppose, rather than support, these misguided standards.”
Dr. E. Calvin Beisner, Founder and National Spokesman of The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, also signed the statement. “Whatever mercury emissions from U.S. power plants might do, it’s plain as the noonday sun that they don’t kill babies—and 1.2 million dead babies every year are what the pro-life movement labors to prevent.”
The full statement is available online here.
The world’s leading evangelical voice on environmental stewardship and development, The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation is a network of theologians, pastors, ministry leaders, scientists, economists, and policy experts committed to bringing Biblical worldview, theology, and ethics together with excellent science and economics to promote environmental protection and restoration, economic development for the poor, and the proclamation and defense of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
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