There are many in the “All Lives Matter” (ALM) camp who are “pro-life,” or more specifically, anti-abortion.

But if they truly believed that All Lives Mattered, then why favor the life of the unborn over the life of a person on death row, the child held in a detention camp on the Southern US border, or even the lives of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor?

The Catholic Church never intended for a single-issue mentality when it comes to being pro-life.

The 1974 document from the Vatican on the Declaration of Procured Abortion called on Catholics to oppose not just the practice of abortion but the conditions that make abortion an attractive option.

Inherent in the document is a moral imperative to give every child every opportunity to be welcome. The Church therefore has expressed concern for the child after birth as well as before birth.

In a 1999 homily in Saint Louis, Missouri, Pope John Paul II defined unconditionally pro-life as standing against euthanasia, the death penalty and racism, working to eradicate “every form of racism, a plague which…(is) of the most persistent and destructive evils of the nation.”

In the 2018 Apostolic Exhortation Gaudate et exsultate, Pope Francis proclaimed that the unborn and the already born are equally sacred. 

Additionally, Pope Francis, responding to the death of George Floyd, stated that “we cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life.” 

As I observed in my article on Fr. Bryan Massingale and the US Bishops’ complicity with white privilege, Massingale highlights that for the Catholic Church, on a global scale and coming directly from the Supreme Pontiff, the pro-life movement is not limited to the unborn.

Rather, it is an “American aberration” in the US Church that adheres to a single-issue stance, which is “a cover for anti-Blackness and racism.”

The Church in the US, as a corporate body, “hides behind the rhetoric of being pro-life and using that language to mute concern over white nationalism.”

The ALM camp is neither comprehensively pro-life nor is comprehensively pro-all lives.

The ALM camp does not adhere to Catholic Social Teaching. The ALM camp cannot and does not follow Christ completely.

What, then, is the ALM camp?

Citing “All Lives Matter” is a means to silence proponents of Black Lives Matter.

Being anti-abortion to the exclusion of caring for other lives is no longer about the unborn but about a right-wing political platform in disguise.

What would an honest ALM agenda look like?

Firstly, the phrase “All Lives Matter” would be removed since this is not the central claim of the movement. Minority lives, LGBTQ lives, and impoverished lives do not matter. 

To this camp, conservative views and white perspectives matter.

The ALM camp and certain segments of the pro-life camp wear these masks; however, their agendas speak to white preservation.

Therefore, the ALM and its anti-abortion agenda, when held alone, are nothing more than nuanced hoods of white supremacy.

‘All Lives Matter’ or ‘Black Lives Matter’? More insight from Novena US contributor Matt Kappadakunnel:

The priest who proclaimed that Catholics can’t be Democrats failed the test of charity and dishonoured God

St. Peter Claver, a ‘Black Lives Matter’ activist of the 17th century

Black Catholic priest accuses US Bishops of complicity in white privilege

While US Bishops are complicit in white privilege, New York City parish leads way forward in fight against racism


Matt Kappadakunnel has a background in investment management and investment banking. Additionally, Matt spent multiple years studying to be a Catholic priest. He is a graduate of Creighton University and is a CFA Charterholder. Matt lives in Los Angeles with his wife and toddler, and they are expecting a newborn in November.