The GOP & Abortion: A Call to Action

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In this interesting article journalist Terence Jeffrey asks why Republicans are so timid about dealing (legislatively) with abortion and “advancing a cause where they occupy the moral and political high ground.” There are some great references to RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman and Congressman Hunter’s Right to Life Act. Here is some of what Jeffrey has to say:

The Republican Party's pro-life platform -- which Mehlman argues is right for the party -- offers a solution to abortion commensurate with the Bush-Frist-Boehner affirmation that life begins at conception. It endorses "legislation to make it clear that the Fourteenth Amendment's protections apply to unborn children."

In this Congress, Rep. Duncan Hunter, the California Republican, introduced H.R. 552, the Right to Life Act, which follows through on the platform by defining as a "person" for 14th Amendment purposes "all stages of life, including but not limited to the moment of fertilization or cloning." It recognizes in law what Bush, Frist, Boehner and Kerry already recognize in fact.

According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, 42 million babies were aborted in the United States between 1973 and 2002. Each subsequent year adds about 1.3 million more.

Today, we are having a great national debate, driven by a president at odds with the base of his own party, over how many immigrants we should allow into our country and by what means -- so we can fill a shortage in workers. What if we had a great national debate driven by a president, in unison with the base of his own party, over how many babies we can save?

South Dakota had that debate this year, and the pro-lifers won. The state banned all abortions, only exempting normal medical actions taken by a doctor to preserve the life of a pregnant mother.

What South Dakota proved is that truth is persuasive. All you need are politicians who will fight for it.

Obviously this approach (proudly and passionately fighting for the right to life) contradicts the approach of some folks such as Congressman Tom Davis, who often avoid this fundamental human rights issue so as not to provoke the pro-abortion forces in their district and jeopardize their re-election. Sure, some will put forth all of the “pragmatist” arguments in favor of the Davis approach, i.e. it’s better to have someone “neutral” on the issue (assuming you can be neutral on genocide) instead of a radical such as Leslie Byrne. However I give that position about as much respect as I would a politician who refused to take a stand on the dehumanizing segregation issue in the 50s and 60s in order to maintain their political power, or a politician who refused to stand up for the freedom of black slaves in the political turmoil leading up to the Civil War in order to maintain their political popularity/electability (and there are plenty of examples). Congressman Mike Pence said it best in his October 8, 2003 address on the floor of the House, connecting the tragedy of abortion to the other great moral trials in our nation’s history:

As we look at those Lincoln and Douglas debates, the arguments that candidate Abraham Lincoln made are extraordinary. He makes the case about the fundamental immorality of slavery; and for all the world, and I intend to do it during the course of these conversations about life, Mr. Speaker, we can take entire tracks of Abraham Lincoln's remarks in the Lincoln and Douglas debates and we can pull out the word "slavery" and put in the word "abortion," and the sentence makes perfect sense as he speaks about the denial of the fundamental right to life and liberty to a class of human beings in America. He spoke about it not in the context of established law, but as we know from history, as did the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in his letter from the Birmingham jail, he spoke about it in the context of the moral law of God.

There should be no respect for neutrality or “moderation” on this issue.

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stay puft marshmallow man said:

the moment of conception!? that's ridiculous! It is my personal belief that life begins well before that, and I only hope that one day the rest of the world will come to realize the horrible holocausts of masturbation and menstruation.

when the constitution of the US recognizes that every time an egg goes unfertilized, it is one more American who will never have the chance to taste a chicken mcnugget, get drunk and knocked up on prom night, or give their life for their country, then and only then will we truly have a culture of life.

and yet, every winter, children in Detroit freeze to death when their heat is turned off because their parents couldn't make the payments. They are Americans. Why doesn't the "culture of life" crowd blog about them?

Where does the "culture of life" crowd stand on collateral damage in unnecessary wars?

what does the
culture of life crowd think about the death penalty?

what about hungry children in Mexico whose parents are willing to do whatever it takes to provide for them?

what about cars? lots of people die in cars every year. I say outlaw 'em. No, we don't just need a law against them, we need a constitutional ban on automobiles! Who's with me?!

Moderate 5-19 said:

Let me start by saying this: I am pro-life, I am pro-life (and one more time for the people in the balcony) I am pro life. Now, having said that I think we always miss the boat on this issue. For years I have wondered why he same effort, time and money is not spent in preventing unwanted pregnancies rather than screaming the words life and choice at one another. Can you imagine the impact on abortion numbers is everyone who fervently believes their side is right spent time educating women, and talking to our youth about pregnancy prevention? What if every time we hand a child a condom and give our children the mixed message, “I don’t want you to have sex, but if you do you should protect yourself” we instead had the discussion about abstinence and why they should wait. What if as much attention was put into supporting a teenager’s choice to be abstinent as telling them to “be safe”. And how about some real education. I’m not talking about (what the vulgar Ann Culter) said, “Putting a condom on a cucumber”. I’m talking about real education to women of all ages. Things like, if a woman uses antibiotics while taking a birth control pill, the pill is less effective, thus the woman is at greater risk for an unwanted pregnancy.

I guess what I’m saying in short is that abortions are reduced when unwanted pregnancies are reduced and that is where I would rather put my efforts. I think we have already failed when the only words left in our vocabulary is choice or life.

Sophrosyne said:

Stay Puft-

This isn’t a wholly religious or moral debate… it is a debate grounded in biological fact. Open any good medical textbook and it will tell you that a unique human life, a human person, begins at the moment of conception, nowhere else. After that all that is added is food and time. You can use the typical left-wing tactics to dehumanize and devalue this new life but ultimately you cannot deny (or change) biology. Thankfully as medical technology advances it becomes progressively more difficult to deny the humanity of a pre-born child… I’ve worked at a Crisis Pregnancy Shelter for unexpected pregnancies (mostly in unmarried teens with little or no support) and seen their reaction when they see that “blob of tissue” smile or such his/her thumb in a 4D ultrasound. The lie of Roe cannot long survive as neonatal care and science in general advances. Why do you think more and more young people are pro-life and the old-guard pro-aborts are pouring money into youth education programs trying to save their diminishing influence?

As to your comments about struggles with other children after birth, I agree wholeheartedly that we should strive to love and support them as well. However the moral battle is dramatically different because in one case the problem is that not enough is being done to address recognized hardships, in the other some are actively seeking to, as they did in days of Dredd Scott, deny the very humanity of a human child (43 million of them) because of his or her location in utero or stage in development. Regardless both merit our attention and concern.

Moderate 5-19-

I wholeheartedly agree that we should do everything we can to reduce unexpected pregnancies that often lead to abortions… and I don’t see why we cannot move forward on that front while at the same time bearing witness, as the abolitionists did in the 1800s, to the horrendous tragedy of Roe that denies the humanity of the most innocent among us. We should work to reduce abortions in every pragmatic way possible while simultaneously working to restore the legal protection of the right to life for all.

Also, I strongly disagree that (as you seem to argue) sex-education should include detailed contraceptive sex training. I understand you seem to want to promote “Abstinence-plus”… i.e. abstinence first and then contraception for those who have sex… but it doesn’t work that way I the real world. I suggest you read this Heritage Foundation study that goes right to the heart of this issue with an examination of what really happens in the classroom and how it impacts pregnancies and sexual activity. It can be found here:

Moderate 5-19 said:

I guess I was not clear. So let me try again. When I speak of "sex education" I'm not talking about what we should teach in our schools. I believe teens don't need the mixed message of "don't have sex, but if you do ......
They need one clear message. The Sex education I speak of needs to be taught in our public and private health facilities. I've talked to adult college educated women who still believe they can't get pregnant if while they are nursing. disinformation such as that leads to unwanted pregnancies and abortions.

Sophrosyne said:

Okay, sorry I misunderstood. I definitely agree with you that we should all foster a sound understanding of human biology. I would think 6th grade science class would cover that.

The basic and necessary messenger for all of this is the family, and I believe the erosion of the family (in some cases being "replaced" by public schools and government programs) is directly connected to the rise in premarital sex and pregnancies out of wedlock.

stay puft marshmallow man said:

well, is there a rise in pregnancies out of wedlock? how can that be when we're 5 years in to "no child left behind," which mandates abstinence-only sex ed?

and how do you explain the 28% drop in teen pregnancies from 1990 to 2000?

Sophrosyne said:

Stay Puft-

I think the pro-life side is doing far more than pass legislation (which did pass in the 1990s, such as parental notification in Virginia and a Partial Birth Abortion Ban passed twice and was vetoed by Clinton twice... however even unsuccessful efforts help the public see the lie of Roe and the humanity of the unborn child). There have been an increase in the number of Crisis Pregnancy Centers and overall the pro-life side has won over America's youth... that is why teen pregnancies have experienced drops. But our relativistic "No Fault Freedom- give me immediate gratification and no responsibility" culture is very very powerful and persuasive and the battle for truth is much more difficult because of it.

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