‘Pro-choice is really a conservative position, because it’s about individual freedom and choice.’ Have you ever heard that argument? Usually it’s said by pro-choice Republicans who are trying to placate conservative voters who find their pro-choice stance to be a turn-off. But is pro-choice really the conservative position?

I believe that being pro-life is the conservative position. As social conservatives, we believe in the preservation of culture, tradition, and the promotion of Christian values. We believe in gun rights because of their long history in the freedom of this country. We tend to be religious (although you can be socially conservative and not believe in God) because we believe religion has a positive effect on the lives of people, and that we owe our freedoms to God. We also believe in keeping marriage as one man and one woman because we believe children function best in a home with a mom and a dad. This is also why it’s not hypocritical for us to oppose welfare programs but be Christians. We want to help the poor, but not in a way that incentivizes absentee parents and encourages single motherhood. Being pro-life and bringing and end to abortion will have the same positive effect on society. Pro-life is the conservative position because respecting life promotes the stability of society.

About a year ago on his June 14, 2013 show, Rush Limbaugh argued that most of our societal problems could be traced back to abortion. “I think abortion is at the root of so much that has and is going wrong in this country… culturally, in terms of the sanctity of life, how that’s crumbled, I think it’s almost at the root of everything.” He is right. Abortion is not just a personal choice; it affects society. Women who have abortions are more likely to develop mental health problems, including depression and anxiety. This leads to problems across society; mental health problems do not just affect the person, they affect society, and we’re letting people willingly choose to have these ailments.

Abortion also is one more step away from personal responsibility. There is nothing personally responsible about a man letting his girlfriend or wife procure an abortion. It’s a man’s personal responsibility to ensure his children are in a safe environment, either raised by him and the mother of his child, or with an adoptive couple. But once we introduce abortion, it removes the personal responsibility element from sex; it encourages hook-ups and one night stands, because the products of sexual intercourse, we are told, can just be killed and the problem taken care of.

Abortion also cheapens the value of life. As one of my colleagues¬†pointed out in a recent article, the devaluing of human life is what leads to actions like burning aborted fetuses for energy. That isn’t to say the school shooting, stabbings, robbery, etc.. is all directly a result of abortion. But once we start saying that only some lives are worthy of protection, it can only go downhill from there. We desensitize kids to the value of life and then act surprised when they grow-up to commit crimes.

Finally, being pro-life is consistent with our belief in equal opportunity. We can not make a credible choice for school choice if we do not believe in the most basic equal opportunity, the right to life. As conservatives, we do not believe in the government guaranteeing an equality of outcomes, however we believe society should be structured to provide equal opportunity, which reducing abortions will promote. It is impossible to be for equal opportunity without supporting the opportunity to have life.

If conservatives are going to stand for the promotion of Christian values, the protection of culture, and the preservation of tradition, abortion is one issue on which we can not sway. However, a pro-life position should be consistent with our self-sufficiency and private charity arguments; we have a duty to reach out to those affected by abortion or those considering abortion and help them get their life back on track. We should support women who choose adoption or choose to keep their children, as being pro-life must be more than just a policy position. We cannot trust the government to promote life, however we can step in and be the pro-life, pro-mother leaders.