Posted on November 17, 2007
Who cares if the prez is pro-life?
Memo to conservative pundits and talk show hosts everywhere: All right, so Hillary's scary, but get a grip, already.
For decades now, abortion has been the touchstone issue that has defined Republican presidential primaries. Not only has it been a highly prioritized issue in its own right, but it has served as a reliable indicator of the candidates' overall conservative credentials. It's been understood that any politician who supported legal abortion was disrespectful of the Constitution, and therefore was not a legitimate contender for the nomination -- until now.
Suddenly, under the threat of a Hillary Clinton presidency, terrified pro-life conservatives have been trampling all over each other in a race to declare that right-to-life issues really aren't relevant to the presidency at all. Sounds like somebody owes Arlen Specter a profuse apology.
It would be one thing if the primaries were already decided, and a pro-abortion candidate had won the GOP nomination. Then, it would be understandable for pragmatic pro-life conservatives to support a pro-abortion Republican who would be vigilant in the War on Terror, over a pro-abortion Democrat who would leave us virtually defenseless. It's quite another thing for them to nullify the issue before a single primary vote is cast, lest the nomination be decided by any criterion other than perceived winnability.
The current wisdom has it that the president lacks the power to affect right-to-life issues anyway. And if you believe that one, I've got some Morrie Taylor campaign pins to sell you. In order to disprove this argument, all we have to do is take a look at George W. Bush's scorecard.
One of the first things that President Bush did upon taking office was to reinstate President Reagan's "Mexico City Policy," which denies American tax dollars to international organizations that promote or perform abortions in other countries. President Clinton had rescinded the policy eight years earlier. This is a State Department policy, which has been introduced, repealed, and then reenacted, by unilateral executive decision, and not by the courts or the legislature. That alone is enough to discredit this new theory of presidential irrelevance.
Bush has also signed the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, and the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act. The first of these bills bans a particularly gruesome abortion procedure that has been connected to the illegal trafficking of fetal body parts. The second recognizes violent crimes against pregnant women as offenses against both themselves and their unborn children. The third makes it a federal crime to kill babies who have been born in spite of attempted abortions.
President Bush has supported other bills, passed by the House of Representatives, which have never passed through the Senate. These include a proposed ban on human cloning, and the Child Custody Protection Act, which would make it illegal to circumvent parental consent laws by transporting a minor across state lines for an abortion.
If the Democrats expand their majority in Congress, we can be pretty sure that they'll try again to pass the "Freedom Of Choice Act," which would codify Roe v. Wade into law. We know we'd be able to count on President Bush's veto. There are other Republicans we can't be so sure about.
Most importantly, Bush has brought us within one vote of a pro-constitutional majority on the Supreme Court. At some point during the next presidency, Justice John Paul Stevens, the last remaining Roe-conspirator on the Court, will probably give his bow tie a spin and fly off into retirement. Who are we going to trust to pick his successor, someone who promises to appoint judges who would obstruct his own policies?
We have no way of knowing just how many human lives have been spared because George W. Bush has been president for the last seven years. What we do know is that normally reliable pro-life conservatives now tell us that whatever that number is, it's negligible.
This willingness on the part of conservatives to sell out the unborn is obviously driven by fear, because they cannot have possibly arrived at this point by thinking things through rationally. It's not as if the reason the Republicans lost control of Congress in 2006 was that they stood by their principles too stubbornly.
Many Republicans seem to think that, by throwing unborn children overboard, they will make it easier to elude the great white Hillary. Tragically, it will be too late for them to reverse course, once they've already put the blood in the water.-- Daniel Clark is a Staff Writer for the New Media Alliance. The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets.
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