Democratic Party Has No Space For Pro-Lifer (Florida Today letter)

(photo: http://www.spuc.org.uk)

In Florida Today Newspaper today 10-31-10, my short version explanation for why I left the Democratic Party for No Party Affiliation (NPA), is currently on view online.  Please feel free to read the letter entitled “Democratic Party Has No Space For Pro-Lifer”, and add commentary if you wish. Follow this link (click on page 2):  http://www.floridatoday.com/article/20101031/OPINION/101029024/1004/Your+views++Heading+into+the+homestretch+(Oct.+31)

In the letter I indicate that I don’t believe that either major party is prioritizing the Abortion issue, since it is either the genocide of unwanted, unborn children in their mother’s wombs, or it is just another medical procedure to help women. The witness of most “pro-Life” politicians in the Republican Party is typically very lukewarm. Where are the pro-life ads pointing out how the Democratic opponents are completely on board with the choice to kill unborn children? Even if this is not the most effective campaign strategy, why is it that after being elected to office, I hardly hear any Republican leader go out of their way to prioritize the Right to Life, and use the bully pulpit to educate Americans to the true nature of abortion procedures- to audiences that are not already pro-life convinced?

I understand voting for nominally pro-life candidates over rabidly pro-choice candidates- but what I don’t get is why so many Republican pro-lifers seem to barely push their successful political leaders in the Republican Party to put the Pro-Life agenda at the top of the agenda- both legislatively and through the means of the many media and educative opportunities available to political representatives? It leads me to believe that many pro-lifers are perhaps more Republican Party advocates than they are advocates for the unborn children being killed in numbers comparable to 9-11, every single day of the year. If Al-Qaeda was killing 3000 American children everyday- would this be a wedge issue of mild importance- mostly just during election cycles?

So- when, or if, the Republicans come back into power, is it going to be more of the same- with taxes, war, and immigration getting more passionate attention than the right to life for all unborn children? I don’t see a party platform assertion as being worth more than the paper it is written on, until I see a great wave of action coming out of the Republican side of things. If the Republican politicians were half as pro-life, as the Democratic politicians are pro-choice, I would immediately start respecting a Party I have never had any fondness for. If Republicans are looking for converts, this is one issue where they could possibly turn at least one person- me [maybe my wife, too]. I am very cognizant of Jesus’ statement in Revelation about the need for our ‘being hot or cold, the lukewarm- He spits out.

27 Responses to Democratic Party Has No Space For Pro-Lifer (Florida Today letter)

  1. Joe Hargrave says:

    Tim,

    I think you may find this article interesting:

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/there-no-catholic-vote_511746.html

    “Listen, for example, to New Jersey governor Chris Christie’s almost off-hand responses to abortion questions he receives: He answers that of course he’s pro-life, then promptly returns the discussion to economic issues. It’s no accident that the single most widely reported battle over the health care bill concerned governmental funding of abortion. Pro-life views have become so standard for the new generation of Republican candidates that they’re almost the background noise: the default position that can be assumed.”

    I don’t know if that’s accurate or not, but the article is worth a read.

  2. T. Shaw says:

    I Agree.

    I was sorely disapppointed that President Bush (I MISS HIM!!!) didn’t “go to war” over hateful, abortion party senators’ fillibusters of all his pro-life judicial appointees. They are worse than Al Qaeda. It’ll take those goat lovers about 10,000 years to kill 50,000,000!

    You may righteously keep voting for dems. It’s right there in the Gospel.

    “For I was hungry, and you voted for Obama; I was thirsty, and you voted for Pelosi; I was a CHOICE and you voted for Reid.”

    “The poor will always be with you.”

    See the parable of the widow’s mite.

  3. From my vantage point up north, I have been more or less following US politics and it seems to me that abortion for the Republicans is just an argument to “force the hand” of Catholic voters, which is easily put back in the background once the elections are passed… Unless, of course, they do not get reelected. Then it is open war, and abortion is a useful tool to discredit opponents or block real social progress. Here in Canada, with health coverage available to almost everyone, and even if health care is not totally perfect, it happens that the rate of abortions, in relation to the population, and in spite of there being even fewer legal obstacles than in the US, is actually lower than in the US. Could it be that our social and health policies are just a little better than south of our border?

  4. Blackadder says:

    I think Joe’s quote touches on a key issue. Christie has defunded Planned Parenthood. That is a huge pro-life accomplishment. But he doesn’t talk about the issue much, which can lead people to think that it’s not a priority.

    Likewise, the Republicans did a lot to advance the pro-life cause between 2000-2006: a partial birth abortion ban, prenatal protection, ESCR, court attacks on euthanasia in Oregon, Terri Schiavo, lots of good judges, not to mention standard things like the Mexico City policy. But they didn’t play up these actions, which makes it easy to forget what happened.

    The irony is that Republicans are often accused of only being nominally pro-life, when if anything the opposite is true. They don’t talk the talk, but they do walk the walk.

  5. Donald R. McClarey says:

    “Could it be that our social and health policies are just a little better than south of our border?”

    Actually it could be because Canada is a much less ethnically diverse country and Planned Parenthood has a history of locating abortion mills in or close to areas where blacks and hispanics live.

    The Canadian abortion rate is 14.2% and the US abortion rate is 19.4%. The US rate has been declining since 2000:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN1722176020080117

  6. Donna V says:

    Instead of criticizing Republicans like Christie who seem eager to change the subject when abortion comes up, perhaps we should ask why a pro-life politician feels the need to do that in a state which is famous for having a significant number of Catholics of Italian descent. The same is true of other blue states with large Catholic populations – Mass., Maryland, Rhode Island, for starters.

    The truth of the matter is that if Catholics spoke and voted as one on this issue, politicians would be a much bolder when defending life. My home town of Milwaukee is very “Catholic” – so much so that when I was a child I was shocked to discover the US is predominately Protestant. It sure didn’t look that way from my vantage point. And yet Milwaukeeans have had no qualms about voting for Russ Feingold in past elections, despite the fact that there is no pro-abort position which is too extreme for him. That’s not something that makes me terribly proud of either my native city or my fellow Catholics.

    50% of nominal Catholics are willing to overlook a pol’s pro-abort stance. I still know people of my parent’s generation who wouldn’t vote for the 12 Apostles if they had Rs after their names. Being pro-life won’t necessarily win you the Catholic vote, while being outspokenly pro-choice will bring the wrath of the screaming harpies of NARAL, Emily’s List, NOW, etc, etc. Politicians being politicians, is it any wonder they voice pro-life convictions in whispers rather than shouts?

  7. Donna V says:

    Being pro-life won’t necessarily win you the Catholic vote, while being outspokenly pro-choice will bring the wrath of the screaming harpies of NARAL, Emily’s List, NOW, etc, etc.

    Oops, I meant to write that being pro-abort won’t necessarily LOSE you the Catholic vote, while being pro-life will bring the screaming harpies of NARAL, Emily’s List, NOW etc. down on your head. (Must remember to proofread before posting….)

  8. Elaine Krewer says:

    Donna, you are onto something there. It might also simply have to do with the fact that for most people other than committed, hard core pro-life or pro-abortion activists, abortion is NOT a subject they like to talk about. It’s a conversational land mine with all sorts of potential to blow up in one’s face, not to mention the fact that millions of people have been personally impacted by it; and I personally dread discussing the subject in person with anyone other than people whom I already know to be pro-life. A politician with strong enough convictions on the pro-life side will do what he or she needs to do, but may not want to dwell on the subject because the more he or she does the greater the risk is that they will start to lose votes instead of gaining them.

  9. Donna V says:

    Elaine, yes, I think you are right. A sister-in-law of mine (raised Lutheran; converted to Catholicism when she married my brother) was once passionately pro-life. Then a good friend of hers had an abortion and now she doesn’t want to be “judgmental.” I don’t think she is exactly pro-abort, but like you said, she doesn’t want to think or talk about the issue.

    While attitudes toward abortion are comparable to once au courant American attitudes toward slavery, in one respect they are very, very different. Most Northerners in 1850 did not know or have any slaveholders in the family or in their immediate vicinity. Heck, few outside the cities had seen black people. Slavery was an entirely abstract issue to small farmers in Wisconsin or Vermont.

    In today’s world, many of us pro-lifers, I’ll wager, have known women who had abortions. And many confuse hating the sin with being intolerant toward the sinner.

    For the record, I have friends who have had abortions. Their experiences made me more pro-life. Listening to friends cry tears of remorse at 2 a.m. – well, NARAL and Emily’s List will never talk about those anguished cries of regret, will they?

  10. Elaine Krewer says:

    It’s also quite possible that the reluctance of most people to think about or talk about abortion works against the pro-abortion side as well.

    Attack ads attempting to paint pro-life candidates as “extremists” backfire because most people — even those who call themselves pro-choice — believe abortion is morally wrong, and if they have had abortions, tend far more to be ashamed of that fact than proud of it. They may not be all that eager to see abortion outlawed, but they are even less eager to see it promoted as if it were the greatest thing since sliced bread.

  11. restrainedradical says:

    I only have to talk to my parents to see that even many church-going Catholics are not very passionate about the issue. There are millions of Catholics who just go to Mass on Sundays, say their rosaries, and worry about nothing else but paying the mortgage. Like it or not, abortion is an issue for the educated affluent.

  12. Joe Hargrave says:

    RR,

    That is patently absurd. The grassroots pro-life movement is made up of people who do exactly the same things – but they make the time to contribute to a cause.

  13. Donald R. McClarey says:

    “Like it or not, abortion is an issue for the educated affluent.”

    Next time I am at the crisis pregnancy center in my county, of which I have the honor of being the chairman, I will have to repeat that. The evangelical women who staff it as unpaid volunteers will get a flattered chuckle out of your remark.

  14. DarwinCatholic says:

    I’d certainly agree that there’s a type (indeed several types)of Catholic who don’t care about abortion, but I guess I’m unclear why you’d tie it to educated affluence. What demographic group would you see as being interested?

  15. Art Deco says:

    More recent studies have been done, but there was one published a generation ago by a sociologist named Kristin Luker on the social and cultural contrasts between people active for and against abortion. It was the former who were drawn from the professional-managerial bourgeoisie, while the latter tended to be from the common-and-garden middle class. My observation, too, among people I know putting sweat equity into things.

  16. restrainedradical says:

    I think that unlike issues like taxes, issues like abortion are academic for most people. It requires a level of interest and time to ponder in the abstract that most just don’t have.

  17. Tim Shipe says:

    It is the banality of evil- a “neat” trick of satan- to lure otherwise decent people into accepting or embracing something actually quite horrific- if actually investigated and viewed in the harsh light of day.

    I think that particularly with the mainstream Republican strategy of trying to slowly move the abortion issue back to a state’s rights issue- it is extremely vital to focus more and more of the educative mission in teaching about the nature of human life- from a biological and spiritual perspective. I mean all of the facts and all of the art is on the side of the unborn- People are people no matter how small! We have the “In the Womb” documentaries, we have all the best philosophical arguments and self-evident assertions, we have the photos of aborted children, we have the instinctive love of mothers and fathers, we have the information about the targeting of racial minorities, we have the studies linking abortion to bad physical and psycological outcomes for abortive mothers- we it all- it should be a slam dunk- just like watching the fight over slavery repeating itself. I even show the film “Amazing Grace” to my students to help them see how obvious it is that Christians should be leading lights in the fight for justice- particularly on issues where some part of the human society is being treated as non-human or half-human- like with slavery and abortion.

    I get upset over the politicians who rely on pro-life endorsements and pro-life votes, but then do little in the way of educating the general public to the above mentioned facts- the bully pulpit is not effectively used- and it leaves the impression that no one really believes that these unborn human lives are actually fully human and should be counted the same as deaths on the battlefield. I use the example of 9-11 to illustrate this point- if the pro-life politicians spent even 10% of the energy and passion to convey their horror over legal abortion that has been spent in dealing with the terror of 9-11- we would certainly see a huge swing of America’s attentions given to the genocide of abortion- where every day exacts a 9-11 body count of our youngest, most innocent children. the fact that we ourselves are and have been our own worst enemy, should not dissuade us from engagement- I was a young pro-choice guy at one point in my life, I changed, I got schooled in the realities of abortion, I have repented and I am energized to help others- I have to imagine that there are a lot of decent people out there ripe for a conversion for Life- the politicians have a duty to help determine the public dialogue and be part of the great debates of our times.

    One last example- back in 2006 as a Democratic candidate for Florida State House, I attended a big Christian Coalition dinner where I was a solitary Democratic party candidate- Charlie Crist was in attendance and everyone was getting assurances that good old Charlie was truly a pro-lifer and he got all the right endorsements. Last night I watched a tv ad with Charlie and he was warning against the radicals who want to “overturn Roe v. Wade”- Charlie is the perfect example of what I suspect is the case for many Republican party leaders- Charlie only bolted the party when he figured correctly he couldn’t win as a Republican- he then turned his pro-life “beliefs” on a dime. The pro-choice lobbies do not suffer fools on their side gladly- they demand words and deeds- and this should be the model for the pro-life side- all of this tolerance for lukewarm or fake pro-life leadership is not working- people are not voting for or against pro-life because they rarely hear pro-life noise coming from the politicians- they hear taxes, health care, immigration- so they vote on negotiable issues and the impression left is that the pro-lifers are tossed a few bones like dogs, but aren’t taken all that seriously- unlike the pro-choice community which demands and gets what they want from doting, fearful Democratic politicians. That is my impression of it anyway.

  18. RL says:

    I think that unlike issues like taxes, issues like abortion are academic for most people. It requires a level of interest and time to ponder in the abstract that most just don’t have.

    I disagree…well…somewhat disagree. It’s the “time to ponder in the abstract” that is troubling me and is probably the source of much contention. I would argue that Art and others are correct and the pro-abortion side more often comes from the more affluent and educated, and that fits into your narrative. I don’t think that applies to a great number of pro-lifers though and it’s precisely because they don’t treat something so fundamental and/or immoral in the abstract. They’re seeing a thing for what it is and are not deluding themselves or rationalizing themselves into accepting a more “enlightened” understanding.

    I babble sometimes. I hope that made sense. 🙂

  19. c matt says:

    It does seem pro-lifers cannot keep the discipline as well as pro-aborts when it comes to holding elected officials’ feet to the fire. Cross a pro-abort, and you will never be elected again. Cross a pro-lifer, and next election, you can play the “to whom shall you turn?” game and get re-elected anyway. They really do not pay as significant a price as the pro-abort would.

    Part of the problem is that when pro-lifers sit out an election or vote 3P because the alleged pro-life candidate with an R after his name is really not all that pro-life (John “ESCR” McCain), they get excoriated by fellow pro-lifers for not voting for the electable pro-life candidate.

  20. Tim Shipe says:

    It’s a chicken or the egg deal- many pro-lifers go 3P because they are wary of the message it sends to the world when lukewarm pro-life politicians win and do exceedingly modest actions on behalf of the unborn- you don’t convert people with lukewarmness- and the abortion issue requires a pretty major turn in public acceptance and awareness.

    Of course, the pragmatic argument goes ‘lesser of two evils’ ‘something is better than nothing’. The pro-choice side doesn’t really have this dilemma it seems because the pro-life Democrats are much weaker than the pro-choice Republicans- A Rudy Guliani can make waves in a presidential bid in Republican circles, whereas a pretty clear pro-life, pro-trad marriage guy would not get too high in the food chain in national Dem circles.

    We have to turn the power equation around at some point- pro-life will have to stop playing nice with Repubs and demand much more in return for support- that strategy works well for the pro-abortion lobbies- when I ran as a Dem and went to a Dems Women’s Club candidate forum- the fear on the faces of some of the male candidates was real- when I stood up and made a strong case for pro-life, some of the candidates really opened up to me privately expressing admiration- but they didn’t dare express themselves openly because of the clout these pro-abortion women’s orgs have – they don’t look at the balance of your positions- they want it all when it comes to “Right to Choose”

  21. If my memory is correct, I have read somewhere that, although the Republicans held power in both houses for 6 years under Bush, nothing was actually done about abortion. But they did have the power to pass any law they wanted. Why did they not want to open that issue? They pull out the pro-life thing as a useful tool to win the Catholic vote, but that’s all. And using the unborn in such a way is not a practice that would recommend the party to me (luckily I live in Canada!)

  22. Donald R. McClarey says:

    Your memory is incorrect. From 2007-2009 the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress. From 2002-2004 the Democrats controlled the Senate. When the Republicans controlled the Congress, they had slender majorities in both chambers. The Democrats of course were, and are, vociferously pro-abortion. In the teeth of that, the Republicans were able to pass several pro-life initiatives under Bush, including the ban on partial birth abortions. Here is a link to some of the Bush administration’s pro-life initiatives up to 2004.

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1140835/posts

    A question for you Ms. Lepine: do you believe that abortion should be banned under law, and the right to life of the unborn protected?

  23. And how about 2004 to 2007? Even with a slender majority, it is possible to pass laws: since when is a 2/3 majority needed? And, yes I believe that there should be a law against abortion, but it is also needed to have measures that will make it possible for women to support the children once they are born, since a very large proportion of women who get abortions do it for reasons of poverty. Otherwise, maybe the rate of abortions would decrease slightly, but there would still be abortions.

  24. Donald R. McClarey says:

    “since when is a 2/3 majority needed?”

    The filibuster rules in the US Senate require 60 votes before much of anything gets done:

    “In the United States Senate, rules permit a senator, or a series of senators, to speak for as long as they wish and on any topic they choose, unless “three-fifths of the Senators duly chosen and sworn” (usually 60 out of 100 senators) brings debate to a close by invoking cloture under Senate Rule XXII. This means that as few as 41 senators, which could represent as little as 12.3% of the U.S. population, can make a filibuster happen. According to the Supreme Court ruling in United States v. Ballin (1892), changes to Senate rules could be achieved by a simple majority. Nevertheless, under current Senate rules, a rule change itself could be filibustered, and in this case votes from three fifths of Senators would be required to break the filibuster.Despite this written requirement, the possibility exists that the filibuster could be changed by majority vote, using the so-called nuclear option. (Proponents also refer to it as the constitutional option.) In the modern filibuster, the senators trying to block a vote do not have to hold the floor and continue to speak as long as there is a quorum, although the Senate Majority Leader may require an actual traditional filibuster if he or she so chooses.”

    “but it is also needed to have measures that will make it possible for women to support the children once they are born, since a very large proportion of women who get abortions do it for reasons of poverty.”

    I do not think that laws against the murder of children require allegiance to the welfare state. Prior to Roe, abortion was fairly uncommon in this nation. After Roe the body count has been more than a million.

    The odd thing is that the explosive growth of abortion following Roe in 1973 went hand in hand with the expansion of the welfare state in the US to provide monetary assistance for women raising children on their own. I don’t think lack of money is the main reason for abortion but rather lack of love. Lack of love by the mother for the child she is carrying, and lack of love by the father for the mother or their child she is carrying.

  25. Paul Zummo says:

    But they did have the power to pass any law they wanted.

    Well, no they didn’t. Aside from the fact, as already pointed out by Don, that their majorities were slim, you don’t just get to pass any laws you want in the United States. The Supreme Court has ruled that abortion is constitutionally protected, and though the decision was wrong, the legislative and executive branches must abide by that decision. The Court, as currently constituted, would strike down any law prohibiting abortion. That’s just reality.

    Long story short, the Executive and Legislative branches just can’t wave magic wands to accomplish everything they want.

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