|"The moral test of government is how that government treats those in the dawn of life, the children; those in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy, and the handicapped." -Hubert H. Humphrey|
The Big Lie
Many people who consider themselves Pro-Life automatically assume that their natural political alignment is with the Republicans. Many Republicans candidates apply the Pro-Life tag to themselves, and hope voters don't look too close. Conservative Pro-Lifers also automatically assume that Democrats are the pro-abortion party. But as recent history tells us, it's all part of The Republican Big Lie.
Christian Democrats are not pro-abortion
First of all, it would be rare indeed to find anyone who is actually pro-abortion. Virtually everyone in American society has been sensitized to the moral trauma that is abortion. As a birth control solution, it cannot be morally supported.
But Americans, by and large, also oppose allowing the government the power to decide such personal issues as how many children they should have. It was in this context of coming up with a solution to a difficult issue that the US Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade in 1973. It is safe to say that Roe v. Wade decided nothing, and instead provoked a violent outcry among many Christians that continues to this day. This is the quandary that many Christian Democrats find themselves in. Christian Democrats want to see a solution to the abortion issue.
Republican Party wants to see abortions continue
The Republican Party, on the other hand, has profited greatly from abortions, and has no interest in seeing them end. Consider that the Republican Party won the 1968 presidential election by cobbling together an unlikely alliance between the Republican Party's traditional business interests and white southerners opposed to civil rights.
In the eight presidential elections since 1968, the Republican Party has struggled to put together a winning combination by appealing to Pro-Life voters. Despite this potent combination, Republican presidential candidates have come up with a plurality in just half those races. Without abortion as an issue, prospects for the Republican Party would be gloomy. One might even say, non-existent.
The Republican Party encourages Pro-Life voters to blame the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision on Democrats. The Republican Party never points out that five of the seven justices in the majority in Roe v. Wade were Republicans; of the two justices who dissented, one was a Republican, one a Democrat.
Was Bush lying then, or is he lying now?
When George Bush Jr. was campaigning for president in 2000, one of his promises was that, if elected, he would not seek to overturn Roe v. Wade. Does that sound Pro-Life?
One should not lose sight of the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court that was willing to ignore the results at the ballot box and select George Bush Jr. to be president has a solid Republican majority. That majority was appointed by very conservative Republican presidents. This Republican court that was willing to steal the election for Bush has not taken one step toward overturning Roe v. Wade. Why? because future Republican electoral interests would likely be adversely affected. Without the promise to overturn Roe v. Wade as bait, why would Christians vote for a Republican?
Why do Pro-Life voters continue to fall for the Republican Big Lie? Because Democrats have been put on the defensive. A person who supports a Democrat with a sign, a bumper sticker, or a letter to the editor will be vilified by Republican attack dogs. Anyone who points out a poor decision by a Republican lawmaker can count on a Republican attempting to justify it by using the abortion card. Suggest that a Republican candidate is unqualified by reason of inexperience or lack of leadership and the response will be immediate: "But he's 100% Pro-Life."
What is Pro-Life?
Even those in the Pro-Life camp are unable to agree on what that label means. Does it mean no exceptions for the life and health of the mother? Does it include an exception for rape or incest? How about use of birth control that may work by preventing the implantation of a fertilized egga zygote, not a fetus? How about non-surgical abortions? How about abortions performed to save some embryos when a woman has a multiple pregnancy because of fertility treatments?
The truly pro-life position
Rarely do Republican policy makers support things that would make abortions unnecessary, like birth control. "If [women] refused to choose, if we insisted on keeping both our lives and bodies intact, what changes would our communities have to make? What would make abortion unnecessary? Flexible school situations, more flex-time, part-time, and home-commute jobs, attractive adoption opportunities, safe family planning choices, support in handling sex responsibly: this is a partial list." Frederica Mathewes-Green, former vice-president of Feminists for Life of America. A list like that is a rarity in Republican circles.
One could add a welfare system that doesn't force a woman to choose between having a baby and keeping a job. Republican politicians are fond of talking about the "tough love" represented by their cuts to the welfare system. They forget that "tough love" often results in an abortion.
Christian Democrats support all the things that will result in reducing the number of abortions by reducing the demand for abortions: family planning, teen pregnancy prevention and adoption law reform.
|Join Our Letter Writing Campaign|
|Be a Progressive Leader in Your Church|
|Post a Letter/Article|
|Links to other Progressive Organizations|