Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Is The Pro-Life Movement Politically Weak? [SK]

Hadley Arkes argues "the nomination and election of Rudy Giuliani would mark the end of the Republican party as the pro-life party in our politics. And that would be the case regardless of whether pro-lifers respond to his nomination by refusing to vote for Giuliani, forming a third party, or folding themselves into a coalition that succeeds in electing Giuliani."

Arkes then suggests it might be better to lose to Hillary Clinton than to win with Rudy Giuliani. "The Republicans might be diminished, but they would be essentially intact as a pro-life party; and, when the electoral winds shift again, they have a chance of coming back with their character intact."

Yes and no. True, we'd still be a pro-life party, but the one thing Arkes does not mention in his otherwise stellar piece is what Hillary's federally-mandated health care system might do to pro-lifers. As I commented over at Justin Taylor's blog, once a national health care system is put in place that includes abortion services (as a Hillary plan most certainly would), a susequent pro-life president is not going to waltz into the White House in 2012 and simply undo all that. Even if we score big and elect a GOP congress to support the new prez (a big stretch by any political calculation), it's unlikely lawmakers would have the backbone to reverse what Hillary did. I can just hear the press coverage now: "Senator Jones wants to take away your health care and let your children die from disease, all because he wants to impose his religion on you."

In short, there are some things worse than losing the GOP as a pro-life party. "Hillary Care" might be one of them. Federal Courts jammed with pro-abortion justices is another. In the end, Arkes himself concedes the latter point, though not without a chilling observation about just how weak the pro-life movement truly is:

"Faced then with the possibility of a Democratic presidency determined to weave the ethic of abortion rights more firmly into our law and to have its judges install same-sex marriage, a Giuliani candidacy could offer some slender grounds of hope. Under those conditions, I might bite my lip, vote for him, and indulge those hopes. But they would be the hopes of the supplicants. And they will be affected at every point by the awareness of just who has the upper hand, and just who, in this party newly reshaped, does not matter all that much."

HT: Justin Taylor


  1. I can just hear the press coverage now: "Senator Jones wants to take away your health care and let your children die from disease, all because he wants to impose his religion on you."

    I don't really understand this argument. Why wouldn't "Senator Jones" take the easier and more popular route of simply trying to remove elective abortion from the list of what's covered?

    If "Senator Jones" uses the abortion issue as a smokescreen for wanting to dismantle national health care, then frankly I think he'd deserve the negative press coverage.

    (I personally doubt Clinton could get national health care through -- she's already failed at it once. But that's another story.)

  2. SK,

    Oh sure. Hadley Arkes says it and you give him a spot light. I ahve been saying this for months!! ;-)

    RG victory in the primary means reconstruction time for the pro-life movement. What can we do better? What are we not doing at all? How do we maximize our message and delivery? How do we limit the negative impact our schisms have on our movement?

    I for one am not convinced there is any WE at all at this point, but you caught me on a bad day. I see us more as a collective of like minded people. There is no genuine unity of message and there seems to be a real lack of rallying point.

    Or I may just be cranky today. But I don't think that is it.


  3. Jen,
    I don't think a line-item removal of abortion coverage would be so easy, even for a pro-life president. GOP legislators in California tried to repeal state abortion funding in 1995-1996 (when they briefly obtained majority status) but they got nowhere. Big goverment programs, once enacted, tend to increase not decrease. Besides, hostile federal courts would be quick to rule that stripping the abortion funding is unfair to certain groups. If that excuse doesn't fly, a liberal justice will simply say the attempt to remove funding is unconstitutional.

    Once it's there, we're stuck with it.

  4. I don't think it would be as hard to get rid of socialized medicine as people are making it out to be. I think it if medicine were socialized it would be a political disaster.

    I recently read a story about a man whose wife is not allowed to move into the country that he lives in because there socialized medical program won't treat fat people.

    Most people who support socialized medicine don't realize that they cut costs by doing things like not treating people they say are too fat, or that they will euthanize the elderly rather than treat them. They don't know that they typically won't pay for expensive medical treatments, and that there is usually a shortage of doctors.

    I don't think we would tolerate having to wait a long time to receive medical treatment, or not getting treated because we are too fat or too old. This is especially true when you consider how many fat people there are here as well as how many groups like the AARP that are politically powerful here. If people ever got a dose of Hilary care they would do anything to get rid of it.

    (I don't know if y'all allowing links in your comments, but if you want the link to the story I was talking about you can find it in my last blog)


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