Religious Right: It’s Not ‘Pro-Life’ To Protect The Unborn From Mercury Poisoning

The Evangelical Environmental Network (EEN) recently began a major advertising and outreach campaign to advocate for various environmental regulations and has targeted Republican attempts to delay regulations on mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants. EEN specifically appealed to one of the GOP’s most fervent ideological positions, saying, “We believe protecting the unborn from mercury poisoning is a consistent pro-life position.”

Despite those attempts, “pro-life” lawmakers like Reps. Bill Johnson (R-OH) and Ed Whitfield have blasted the proposed regulation as “far-left liberal ideology.” And this week, more than 30 advocates from the religious right, led by notables like the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins, slammed EEN for its attempts to protect the environment, the unborn, and any human who could be affected by poisonous mercury emissions:

The 30-plus religious-right advocates, in a joint statement Wednesday, said that “most environmental causes promoted as pro-life involve little threat to human life itself, and no intent to kill anyone.”

Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) criticized the Rev. Mitch Hescox, EEN’s president, at Wednesday’s House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on the EPA rule, which Republicans and some business groups call burdensome.

The ‘life’ in ‘pro-life’ denotes not the quality of life, but life itself. The term denotes opposition to a procedure that intentionally results in dead babies,” said Shimkus, echoing the statement from the conservative leaders.

The religious right’s “pro-life” stance may cover invasive procedures on women, preventing access to contraception, and a host of other injustices. What it doesn’t cover, apparently, is a regulation opposed by the GOP’s big-business interests that would keep infants and children from getting poisoned by the air they breathe.

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