The Abortion/Illegal Immigration Link: Not What You May Think

Does Abortion Cause Illegal Immigration?

In Republican and pro-life circles, there’s an unfortunate talking point you might hear frequently. It goes like this: “The reason we have so many illegal immigrants in the United States, is that we have aborted so many babies. Now there’s a deficit of workers, especially for industries that depend on ‘cheap labor’ (ie. ‘the factories and fields of America’).” Former Congressional candidate, Nathan Tabor wrote an August 2005 column, Believe it or not, Abortion Causes Illegal Immigration that presented a seemingly plausible case for this theory, pointing out the similiar number in estimated number of illegal aliens vs. estimated number of babies who’ve been aborted who would be working age by now. I commend him for his effort to defend life, but the law of supply and demand has been left out of this argument. So, while it’s true that our nation has aborted 12 million babies that would be of working age right now, it has also aborted over 40 million consumers for the goods and services those workers would provide.

And what of the notion that those 12 million workers would be “doing the jobs that Americans won’t do?” What does that say about our respect for the dignity of the human person? What kind of incentive is that to women considering aborting their babies? “Please give birth to your child so we can put him to work in 18 years or so for a low wage.” This violates the basic pro-life principle: That every human person is a unique individual created in the image and likeness of God, “and endowed by his Creator with the unalienable Right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” “Governments are instituted among men to secure these Rights.” No person should ever be considered an object, whether as property, as in slavery; or as a commodity, as in destroying human life for the use of research or in exploiting individuals by paying unfair wages to increase the bottom line of the employer.

Politicians of both major political parties are guilty of viewing illegal aliens as commodities. Presidential candidate and Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo -R, who is both solidly pro-life and the leader in Congress against illegal immigration, has been critical of members of both political parties. “The Democratic Party looks at massive immigration, legal and illegal, as a source of voters. The Republican Party looks at massive immigration, legal and illegal, as a source of cheap labor, satisfying a very important constituency.” He is right, but this is so unfortunate, especially considering that in particular, the Republican Party was “founded on the idea that no man should ever be considered the property of another.”

Familiar Questions, Familiar Logic

“But what do we do about the 12 million that are already here?” The debate over providing a “guest worker” program for the illegal aliens who are already here echoes the kind of reasoning behind the proponents of embryonic stem cell research. Their argument is, “If some human embryos will remain in frozen storage and ultimately be discarded anyway, why is it wrong to try to get some good out of them?” The reasoning in both of these debates is that you can right a grave immoral act with another grave immoral act.

This of course, assumes that it indeed was an immoral act for these illegal aliens to cross the border, and for American employers to exploit their situation. But there are those who would make the argument to justify illegal aliens, “How can you blame someone who just wants to make a better life for themselves and their family?” To which I answer with a question, “Is it right to rob a bank to make a better life for yourself and for your family?” And the economic arguments to justify employers exploiting these workers abound. “They fuel the economy.” “Competition for America’s ‘unskilled’ jobs provides incentives for Americans to obtain higher skills to move up in the work place.” “The majority of these ‘undocumented workers’ are from Mexico where they have a good work ethic and strong family values.”

Hispanic Family Values

Americans admire the family values rooted mostly in the Catholic faith of many of American (legal) immigrants from Mexico. They are largely pro-life, pro-marriage and pro-family, evident not only in their beliefs, but in the way they live their lives. This, their strong work ethic, their close ties of extended family members that are evident in large family get-togethers are some of their best virtues. But this positive image of the American immigrant families from Mexico get confused in the language in the debate over illegal immigration, conferring this image upon those who commit criminal acts, by making no distinction between legal and illegal immigration.

The families with these strong family values are not typically those whose first act upon entering the U.S. is a criminal one. There is plenty of evidence to say that the populations entering the U.S. illegally are also drug smugglers, thieves and gang members guilty of all kinds of other illegal activity including ties to terrorist organizations. But of those whose only criminal act is entering the U.S. illegally in search of “a better life”, there is something deeply symbolic about their first act upon entering the U.S. being a criminal one. An attitude of “the ends justifies the means” leads to more immoral behavior.

In fact, there is growing concern about the unmarried Hispanic birthrate in the U.S. Heather Mac Donald wrote a column in the City Journal (Hat tip: Michelle Malkin’s Immigration Blog) that illustrates how runaway Hispanic illegitimacy is creating a new U.S. underclass. The conflicts of the values of strong extended family ties combined with the rising sexual immorality are fascinatingly fostering a tolerance for illegitimacy and irresponsible fatherhood. Though these young women say they wouldn’t dream of having an abortion or giving their babies up for adoption, they have completely dropped the necessity of marriage for having sexual relations. How long do we believe it will be before they drop their pro-life views?

In fact, statistics in Washington State show that the abortion rate among Hispanic women is steadily on the rise. In just 5 years, (from 2001 to 2005) the percentage of induced abortions among Hispanic women doubled in number and rose from 3% of the total number of Washington induced abortions to 6%. While I hesitate to say that illegal immigration causes abortion there is certainly a correlation in that direction, not the other way around.


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