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The GOP Has the Wrong Approach to Abortion

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Given multiple national polls showing that people do not support abortion, it remains an issue, and it remains an issue that the GOP does not handle well.

I remember watching the VP debate between Biden and Ryan, and being hugely disappointed in how Ryan handled the abortion question. If I may paraphrase Ryan’s answer in general terms, he stressed how important his faith was in coming to his pro-life position. Biden then rambled on about how much he supports a woman’s right to choose. The net result is that Biden generally came across as a rational, compassionate, caring sort; which is not what he is at all, while the impression of Ryan that the underinformed voters ultimately got was that he would be the sort of person who might just be capable of supporting any position informed by his religious views.

Of course, senate candidates Akin and Mourdock also had cringe-worthy comments on the abortion issue as well. Arguably, poor handling of women’s issues cost the GOP two senate seats and possibly the presidency. So what’s the problem? Why does the GOP insist upon conveying the most important message of civilized society, the message that every life is valuable, in such consistently inarticulate fashion? What kind of an approach would serve to neutralize the issue at the voting booth, and bring election results in line with national polls on the matter?

Well, as to why the GOP is so incompetent at communicating the value of life, I’m not really sure. They certainly know it’s an issue that will be raised by Democratic candidates and the progressive, state-run media. They certainly have the time and resources to prepare for it. Honestly, I have no idea why the GOP can’t positively deliver the pro-life message, but I do know what their message should be.

The GOP message should be, “The abortion issue has nothing to do with religion. Mine or anyone else’s. The senseless and societally counterproductive promotion of abortion as an acceptable solution to the problem of unwanted pregnancy has led to a culture where the value of a life can be quantified, and that’s wrong. Abortion is a human rights issue, and a civilized society has several undeniable obligations. Primary among them is the right to life. This is not an opinion informed by my religious beliefs. This is an opinion informed by common sense. Every life has value, and a civilized society protects life. It’s that simple.”

The GOP needs to stop hinging their abortion discussions on religion, and their public policy positions on faith. Frankly, it makes the pro-life position look fanatical, when it is anything but. The GOP needs to have confidence that their position is informed by reality, and by the conviction that a society is judged, ultimately, by how they treat the least among them. And most Americans support candidates who promote the future of our nation and stand up for using our government programs in the manner they were intended: to protect and provide for those who cannot protect or provide for themselves.

If they were smart, the GOP would position themselves to call out the pro-abortion Democrats for the hypocritical simultaneous support of their contradicting positions on human rights. Real concern for human rights and promotion of abortion can’t exist together. That’s not fanatical. That’s Realville, USA.

About Ombud

  • Baronius

    Irene – Thanks for saying that.

  • Clavos

    OK, zing. You’re right; I’m wrong.

    So, tell me what I should do about homophobia, islamophobia and the patriot act? How can I help rid the world of these scourges?

  • Cindy

    I am not sure how that changes whether women should make their own decisions about their own bodies.

    Is anyone suggesting that because a relative or sexual partner could pressure a woman ti have an abortion, that that says anything about males determining what women do with their bodies if they do want an abortion?

    I am waiting for Baronius to tell me how he will love and care for unwanted infants, not that he proposed an exception to his pronouncement about women and what they may do or not do with regard ti their bodies.

    As far as I am concerned, if you do nothing to care for unwanted infants, your words and your claims about their lives being valuable to you are meaningless. They have no credibility.

    Irene, I may have regretted my own decision, but it was the best one in the society we have. Perhaps if those who value fetal life would propose some other viable arrangement (such as make care and support for the mothers and children available) no one would be able to be talked into abortions.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena Irene Athena

    It could be that Baronius feels that asking for people to consider their humanity is one aspect of that love and care. I can understand your hostility towards the Republican Party (because I feel it, too) for its cynical “championing” of the unborn in order to get the votes of people like Baronius, who genuinely believe that these are people who are at the margins, who need someone to speak for them. I don’t understand why Baronius needs to be a lightening rod for rage that is more properly directed at the cynics in the Party.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena Irene Athena

    Abortion leaves a lot of raw spots, Cindy.

    Over the years, when I’ve tried to publicly look at the issue from a number of different perspectives, men have cut into me with vulgarity and crude sexual remarks.

    But I’ve thought about it more, and realize that abortion has left its mark on the psyches of men and women. It’s almost impossible to discuss the issue without dredging up some pretty heavy emotional stuff, and getting a pretty emotionally raw reaction.

    So my nuancer is finished for the night.

  • Zingzing

    Clavos: “So, tell me what I should do about homophobia, islamophobia and the patriot act? How can I help rid the world of these scourges?”

    Vote democrat. They’re obviously in the right about the first two, and I think their voters are more likely to wean them off the third than the paranoid republican islamaphobes who created the thing.

    (and why leave off citizens united? Do you believe that corporate interests should be able to overwhelm the individual’s? Would you really bitch about a meaningless soda ban than that?)

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    Either way, Glenn, you, as a “good” liberal, have no compunction in setting yourself (or other liberals) up as the guardian(s) of those of us stupid enough to drink too much sugary pop. I’m not here to argue the lethalness of sugar or tobacco (nor am I arguing its cost in medical terms); my point is that you liberals, in keeping with your misplaced faith in the US government and your inner conviction that you are smarter than conservatives and all other non-liberals, are and will continue to impose your wills on us “for our own good.” (Or at least that’s how you rationalize your anti-democratic attitudes and maneuverings).

    Read what I said, Clav – I’m not saying outlaw the sugary drinks – I’m saying tax them enough to pay for the damage they cause. For the same reason, I’d strongly advocate taxing guns and bullets enough to pay for the damage they cause…oh, excuse me, to pay for the damage that human beings cause by using them.

    Do you not see that this is a very conservative idea, in which you have to pay up front for the consequences of using (drinking/shooting/eating/etc.) whatever it is that you’re buying? If you want to buy guns and bullets, go ahead! Just be aware that by doing so, you’re going to pay a proportionate amount of taxes that would pay for the medical/funeral/law enforcement bills that result directly from the use of guns. As things stand now, all of us – and not simply those who are consumers of these items – are paying through our taxes for the end results of their choices. Wouldn’t you agree that it shouldn’t be that way, that people should have to pay for the end results of their choices?

    That’s what has been done to Big Tobacco, and America’s smoking rate is now about 20%, among the lowest on the planet…and we’re saving LOTS of taxpayer dollars as a result (not to mention having tens of thousands fewer tragic and unnecessary deaths like that of my mother earlier this year).

    So it goes with sugary drinks. And Big Macs. And alcohol. And anything else that if ingested or used as directed, directly and adversely affects the health and welfare of our nation and our economy. BUT – and here’s the devil in the details – we’d have to make sure that this is never applied to things that (when used sensibly) are not detrimental to the people…which would be the NRA’s somewhat sensible claim to an exception for guns and ammo.

    What this would result in – I believe, non-economist that I am – is higher prices for soda, for guns and bullets, for tobacco and alcohol (and now, marijuana), for about two-thirds of fast-food menus. But would we be able to use this approach in moderation? Nobody knows.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And Clav –

    So, tell me what I should do about homophobia, islamophobia and the patriot act? How can I help rid the world of these scourges?

    As zing said, vote Democratic. No, we’re certainly not perfect, but you find a lot fewer phobias against those who think/act/believe differently among liberals than among conservatives. After all, it’s quite normal (generally speaking) that those of a conservative psychological bent to distrust change, whereas those of a liberal psychological bent tend to be more likely to embrace change.

    Note that I’m not saying that one is better than the other – I’ve long argued (indeed, my most recent article stated almost specifically), that we Dems need the Republicans…and the obvious extrapolation is that liberals need conservatives…although the likelihood that we could get Republicans and conservatives to seriously admit the converse seems remote at best.

  • Clavos

    Vote democrat

    I don’t think so, I don’t like anything at all — nothing — about what I’ve seen of the party so far. You and Glenn handle it; I’m just gonna get me a deck chair and my iPod and watch.

  • Baronius

    Cindy – It’s the nature of the internet. If half a dozen people raise a couple of different points, it becomes difficult to respond to them all, and if you do the thread becomes impossible to read. If two sides form, then usually people will pair up and continue debating the aspects that interest them, as the sugary drink theme demonstrates. Still, it gets messy.

    It gets even messier on the point you raised, because the left/right split afffects one’s preference for public or private charity. Over the years, I’ve helped out in different ways at a half-dozen crisis pregnancy centers or homes for single moms. My brother-in-law teaches financial basics at one. My sister and several of my friends have adopted. One friend got heavily involved in the foster care program. (Lately, I’ve been caught up in donations to the local Little Sisters of the Poor, who work with needy elderly, so I haven’t been giving as much in the direction of kids, but that’s because a special opportunity presented itself.)

    As for the role of government, nearly all conservatives support some care for the poor. The ones that don’t have more in common with your politics than with mine. But as long as there’s an America, there’s going to be financial aid for its neediest citizens.

  • Cindy

    I commend efforts to change the world in order to create a more human and caring society. I applaud those who do so.

    My own opinion is that that is a far as one can go. One can change one’s own behavior. My limit to helping prevent abortion is not to insist someone else change her actions, but only for me to change my own and create a world where abortion is not a necessary option.

    That is do my part and in doing so start on the long road which will encourage others to choose for themselves the right thing.

    Thanks Baronius and Irene for bearing through this potentially emotionally charged discussion.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena Irene Athena

    Always a pleasure, Cindy and also, Baronius, Christopher Rose, Roger Nowosielski, and Ombuds. (and others who were peripherally involveed in the conversation though not directly with me.)

    I don’t like to get “all mushy” too often, but I really can’t tell you how much it means to me to have a place where one can hash things out, saying exactly what is on one’s mind, having time to think about what others have said before responding (one of the beauties of Internet communication)–and having a bit of comic relief midway,especially during, as Cindy calls them “potentially emotionally charged discussions.”

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena Irene Athena

    PS Around here, EVERY discussion is potentially emotionally charged, witness the exchange on the jumbo soda pop ban.

    Too which, I must add my cents of twain. Clavos, I counted NINE dang Super Size Fill’er Up cups in the cabinet. My son and husband won’t keep bringing them home, and putting them in the dishwasher instead of recycling them (“because I get a discount if I ever want to bring it back to refill”). They take up…like…the room three normal cups would take in the dishwasher…they collect water in the depression on the top that spills all over the rest of the already-dry things when you take them out of the refrigerator, they are taking over my cabinet. Plus, they’re butt ugly.

    I am for the ban. They put relatively healthful unsweetened ice tea in them, not soda, but I am for the ban, because I want the cups to stop. Just make the cups stop. Over and out.

  • boris

    I agree

  • Igor

    Temperamentally I’m a Republican, but I find the current incarnation of the party offensive and rather stupid.