Friday, October 26, 2007

Practical Pro-Life Politics

Yesterday, in USA Today, Michael Medved made the case ("Abortion's Shades of Gray") that today's abortion beliefs "are much more nuanced ... [and that] it's no longer a black-and-white debate." While I may agree with him about today's beliefs and arguments, that does nothing to change the black and white facts about abortion. As Jay pointed out yesterday, there are clear distinctions between all the nuanced arguments, justifications and beliefs that people put forth and the simple issue of the moral status of an unborn, innocent human being. But that is not what I want to address.

Before I make my point, I want to make it crystal clear that, as a pro-life advocate and voter, I will do everything in my power to defeat Rudy Giuliani in the Republican primary process. I will do this for many reasons, not the least of which is his stance on abortion. But, when it comes to electing someone like Giuliani to the presidency (if it does come to that), all the talk of abandoning the Republican party to demonstrate our disgust for his views, or of launching a third-party in protest, are not only inane, but genuinely destructive to the pro-life cause. Let me explain.

Medved points out the key differences between Giuliani's platform and those of the leading Democratic candidates. Here's the list:
  • Giuliani has committed to preserve the Hyde Ammendment, banning taxpayer money for abortions ... the top Democrats urge repeal and favor federal funding.
  • Giuliani applauded the recent SCOTUS decision upholding the ban on partial-birth abortion ... all leading Democrats condemned it in harsh terms.
  • Giuliani supports tougher rules on parental notification for underage girls seeking abortion ... Clinton and Obama oppose such legislation.
  • Giuliani has specifically cited strict-constructionists like Scalia, Alito and Roberts as his models for future appointees to SCOTUS ... top Democrats regularly express conempt for the conservative jurists Giuliani admires and worked against all three of these.

In other words, when it comes to the abortion issue, a Giuliani presidency would look no different from that of George W. Bush. In fact, given the likelihood that the next president will appoint one or more justices to SCOTUS, positive (though incremental) steps toward the possibility of overturning Roe would move noticeably in the right direction. The alternative would be an utter disaster.

Along those lines, some have expressed dismay toward the seemingly opportunistic late change in Romney's abortion views. Point granted. But my sources tell me that Romney convened a meeting of several pro-life advocates and asked them to make their case. After that meeting(s), his view was changed. Given that organizations like the Life Training Institute exist to "persuasively communicate the pro-life message," does it make sense to chastise those for whom our message may actually have been persuasive? Can we not consider the fact that our arguments may be working? I have no way of knowing Mitt Romney's motivation for seeing the pro-life light. But motivations are irrelevant if his policy stance agrees with ours. Romney has never given any indication (that I know of) to doubt that point.

So, at risk of re-igniting the wrath of the purists out there, I simply propose that we keep our collective eyes on the mission at hand and take every practical and effective step we can to achieve it. As a former Marine, I hate the idea of losing tactical skirmishes. But, more importantly, I refuse to submit to strategies that have no hope of winning the war.

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