OK GOP Leadership Demonstrates Once Again….

that they regard pro-lifers as useful idiots. These guys don’t. care. They. don’t. care. They have no intention of doing anything serious about abortion. All they are serious about is dangling the carrot of prolife rhetoric in front and whacking prolifers with the stick of Dem zeal for abortion from behind.

  • Kirt Higdon

    So the Personhood Act had already been passed in the OK state senate by an overwhelming margin of more than 4 to 1, only to be killed by the OK house Republican caucus. That’s pretty blatant. It sort of follows in the footsteps of that great pro-lifer Ronald Reagan who signed into law California’s pioneering pre-Roe liberalized abortion statute and followed up as president by appointing two pro-aborts to the Supreme Court. And yes, I voted for him at the national level, mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. I believed the rhetoric in those days, but have long since learned my lesson. It seems like most pro-lifers have never learned and never will.

    • Melissa

      The pro-abortion statute Ronald Reagan signed into law was prior to, and somewhat responsible for his conversion on the life issue. Just wanted to clarify that point.

  • Dan C

    What it indicates is that in the reddest of red states, these acts won’t pass.

    In fairness to the GOP, its the people, not the party that is the problem. These bills don’t pass. The majority don’t vote for them. Albert Mohler has commentary on this in his essay, “We Are All Harry Blackmum Now.”

    And the tactics of the pro-life movement for decades have been focused on political power and not on convincing our neighbors of the rightness of the position. It is a top-down approach with pro-life politics wedded to certain authoritarian structures, with little permission to even discuss alternative practices. The approach of the pro-life movement, that the justices need to change the rulings and the government needs to change the laws, never considered that maybe our neighbors and co-workers needed to be “changed” first.

    The pro-life movement’s approach to change, its practices, not just its position, became dogmatically held, with little room for discussion of this success. Individuals became disenchanted with this as they felt betrayed by the GOP, the party embracing pro-lifers, for all the concerns of 8 years ago (unjust wars, torture, loss of freedoms). But the practice of “top-down” change just became disentangled from GOP politics.

    I suggest a change in political approach. Less Washington lobbying and more local witness to one’s community and neighbors. And if one thinks all one’s neighbors are pro-life, then doing “mission” work outside one’s community.

    • Ted Seeber

      “I suggest a change in political approach. Less Washington lobbying and more local witness to one’s community and neighbors. And if one thinks all one’s neighbors are pro-life, then doing “mission” work outside one’s community.”

      I’ve started that- I even mentioned it to a random young lady on the max train last night, who ended up by moaning that all the good men in her generation seemed to be gay, and thus, unavailable. But it started with a 7 year old interview I found on PBS’s frontline site where a bunch of Boston area college students, female between the ages of 19-24, admitted that their peer pressure was “to have as much sex as possible without ever being pregnant”. The young lady I was talking to agreed with that assessment, agreed it was dehumanizing to women, and agreed that it was not a good plan towards continuation of the human species.

      • http://www.theleenmachine.blogspot.com KML

        Good for you, Ted! And I know it’s an uphill battle in the Great Northwest where we both live. I admire your conviction and courage.

      • ds

        If it makes you feel any better Ted, my experience with 19-24 years old females is (or I should say was considering how much we interact these days) is that they are definitely not succumbing to peer pressure to have as much sex as possible.

        • Ted Seeber

          Yep- the interview mentioned that as well, with one young lady making pro-choice as a litmus test for who she’d have sex with.

          This young lady I met on the train merely said that every guy she’s ever wanted to hook up with or get married to, turned out to be gay. Might have something to do with her own litmus tests though, at that age.

    • str

      “And the tactics of the pro-life movement for decades have been focused on political power and not on convincing our neighbors of the rightness of the position. It is a top-down approach with pro-life politics wedded to certain authoritarian structureswith little permission to even discuss alternative practices. The approach of the pro-life movement, that the justices need to change the rulings and the government needs to change the laws, never considered that maybe our neighbors and co-workers needed to be “changed” first…
      I suggest a change in political approach. Less Washington lobbying and more local witness to one’s community and neighbors. And if one thinks all one’s neighbors are pro-life, then doing “mission” work outside one’s community.”

      Well, do the one thing (and more of the one thing) but keep on doing the other, because all your groundwork, as valuable as it is, will not change matters as long as Roe v. Wade stands. The legal situation is by far the worst human rights violation the US has ever seen.

      And the “certain authoritarian structures” happen to be the state, the republic, not some even cabal.

      If you’re waiting for the party that meets all your requirements, you might be waiting a very long time. But of course, it is proper not to be wedded to the Republicans, especially to pro-choice Republicans (which includes a certain presidential candidate), and to support pro-lifers outside that party, whenever the opportunity arises.
      The pro-life movement’s approach to change, its practices, not just its position, became dogmatically held, with little room for discussion of this success. Individuals became disenchanted with this as they felt betrayed by the GOP, the party embracing pro-lifers, for all the concerns of 8 years ago (unjust wars, torture, loss of freedoms).

  • Dan C

    Let’s be clear: not one state representative will be “punished” by OK voters for this bill’s defeat. Not one.

    That’s not even a depiction of the success of the pro-abortion lobby (keep in mind, this is Oklahoma). This is a failure of the pro-life movement’s practices.

  • Mike the Analyst

    Mark,
    I share your frustration at the failure of an opportunity for a promotion of Life in OK, but I disagree with your generalizations which you tar the whole GOP with. Is the “GOP Leadership” in the OK Senate – which DID bring the vote up on the Personhood bill – “using” pro lifers? Is House member Rep. Mike Reynolds, R, Oklahoma City “using” pro-lifers? Is the GOP Governor?

    The “villain” here is Republican Speaker of the House Kris Steele, who – did not want to bring it up to a vote. She said (in another article) : The fact is this bill sends a statement Oklahoma has already made. We’re already perhaps the most pro-life state in this country, having passed at least 30 various pro-life measures in the past eight years alone. You will not find a bigger friend of the unborn than this Legislature, but this bill would not have any substantive policy effect.

    Now we can disagree with her – but there was a lot of opposition because of the other implications of the bill – “People got nervous about the things that generally make a lot of people nervous about giving legal rights to fertilized eggs. What about in vitro fertilization? What about ectopic pregnancies? What about the liability of medical providers?” A lot of pro-lifers have issues with these questions too – so the Personhood question is not a slam dunk for everyone.

    That said, Dan C, is right – this should be something not just done by Government Fiat, but by also education and changing hearts. And – one last thought – if the OK legislature looked more like Massachusetts, or California (i.e. more Democrats) would this bill have even been given a chance?

    • Beccolina

      I think many in the pro-life movement are very focused on ending abortion, but don’t stop to think about the other things that will be affected. Now that personhood amendments have actually been on the table, people realize that “life begins at conception” had ramifications beyond abortion. Yes, it makes abortion illegal, but people put the brakes on when it affects their contraception, IVF, fetal stem cell research (which has not been productive anyway, but that is beside the point to it’s supporters). Neighbors and voters and leaders don’t need to just be educated about the horror and evil of abortion, but about the connected evils that led to it or came from it. Pro-life has to be more than anti-abortion.

      • Ted Seeber

        Maybe the main pro-life movement is, but the Catholic pro-life movement should be focused on protection of ALL human life, from conception until natural death, as John Paul The Great put it. (ok, the decidedly left wing Cardinal Bernadin came up with it, but John Paul The Great fleshed it out in Evangelium Vitae and the Theology of the Body).

    • str

      There’s no such thing as fertilised eggs – or else: we all are “fertilised eggs”!

      • ds

        And str demonstrates the main reason we have such legislation to begin with: pro-lifers would rather feel good than really consider the consequences of what they are doing/who they are voting for.

        • Andy, Bad Person

          Do you have anything substantive to add to any conversation, or have you just been trolling the comboxes looking to add empty criticism with no backup?

  • http://www.2catholicmen.blogspot.com Ben of Two Men

    For a presidential election, think of the judges. No guarantee, but a GOP pres. is more likely to appoint pro-life judges.

    • Mark S (not for Shea)

      I’ve been hearing that line sine I started voting in the ’80s. I don’t believe it anymore. That is Lucy holding the football.

      Romney’s sole concern in appointing a SCOTUS judge will be the person who will be friendliest to his corporate masters.

      • Patrick

        “Romney’s sole concern in appointing a SCOTUS judge will be the person who will be friendliest to his corporate masters.”

        YES! Thanks for this.

      • Ted Seeber

        The sad part is that Obama’s sole concern in appointing a SCOTUS judge is also the person who will be friendliest to his corporate masters.

        Damned if you do, Damned if you don’t. It’s enough to make the Charlie Brown in me take my football and go elsewhere.

      • str

        “For a presidential election, think of the judges. No guarantee, but a GOP pres. is more likely to appoint pro-life judges.”

        “I’ve been hearing that line sine I started voting in the ’80s. I don’t believe it anymore. That is Lucy holding the football.”

        Well, if you look at the record of SCOTUS appointments, your skepticism doesn’t seem warranted:
        Yes, the Republican record is mixed: Reagan appointed two pro-choicers (O’Connor, Kennedy) but also one pro-lifer (Scalia) and tried to appoint another one (Bork). Bush Sr. appointed one pro-choicer (but claimed he didn’t know about that) (Souter) and one pro-lifer (Thomas, against much resistance). Bush Jr. appointed two pro-lifers (Roberts, Alito).

        The Democrat Presidents’ appointments however is far from being mixed – you have one liberal radical after the other.

        As for “corporate masters” – why is this only an issue with Romney and not with all the others? And if it must be corporate presidents or judges, then better pro-life corporate ones than pro-death.

        • Ted Seeber

          There are no pro-life corporate judges; the entire free market system puts profit as a higher value than life, which from a Catholic standpoint is as disordered as homosexuality.

        • http://davidgriffey.blogspot.com/ Dave G.

          Well said. Though it’s even more complex than that. Of cousre everyone should bear in mind that there are pro-life Democrats, and there was a time when such conservative social values would have been as likely to belong to Democrats as anything. Reagan was a big part in changing that, but the GOP has never fully come around to being pro-life, just as Democrats have not all come around to being pro-choice.

          As for those cases you point out, it’s worth noting something. Kennedy, as we all know, was pushed through by Reagan after the hacking and slashing of Bork. With Reagan’s nomination of Bork being destroyed so near the end of his presidency, and seeing the Democrats empowered, Kennedy was chosen because he was at least more conservative than we would get under a Democrat. O’Connor is famously known to have dodged the abortion question during her hearings, and assured Reagan that despite her record in Arizona, she found abortion to be horrible in every way. It was a shock to many that she became as pro-choice as she was.

          What I notice is that in both cases, the desire was for either a justice who insisted they found abortion to be appalling, or a justice who was pro-life. One was derailed; the other simply followed a different trajectory than her testimony suggested she would. That’s different than the justices nominated by the Democrats over the last several decades, where clearly and openly professing allegiance to abortion rights is nothing less than demanded.

        • http://confederatepapist.blogspot.com/ Confederate Papist

          You’re right….GE’s not suffering under Tyrant Obama’s so called “green policies” are they?

  • http://davidgriffey.blogspot.com/ Dave G.

    So far I agree with everyone. Is it a disappointment? Sure. Should we focus on those who at least tried? Yep. Is it about more than just anti-abortion or going through political avenues? Definitely. Does it require an urgency that demands action? Yes. The problem in all of this seems to be getting everyone on board with all of these things, and maybe being less quick to criticize everyone else when they fall short while working to win the hearts and minds of those who oppose these measures (in either party). I mean, what other viable options are available? If there are any – any realistic options – then I’m all ears.

  • Mark S (not for Shea)

    Dan C nailed it.

    For 30 years, pro-lifers had focused 90+% of their attention on the politicians (who don’t care), while steadily losing the battle in the culture.

    Win the hearts and minds of the culture, and the politicians we follow. The pro-life movement needs to kick the GOP to the curb, once and for all. That unholy relationship is an embarassment to all sincere pro-lifers.

    • http://www.2catholicmen.blogspot.com Ben of Two Men

      I agree that the law is the symptom, not the cause, but should we not vote? Should we not support those who are more pro-life. There are not a lot of other choices other than D or R.

      • http://confederatepapist.blogspot.com/ Confederate Papist

        I agree with you, Mark S (not for Shea) and Dan C on this….this is one of the reasons I burned (yes, burned) my GOP card.

        The sooner this transforms into a ground up effort the better. We are making headway, we just cannot count on the political class to help because the one thing they are all good at is stabbing their constituents in the back.

  • B.E. Ward

    Yet another reason why we need a Distributist Party or something similiar. Not to keep up the same upper government-level tactics, but to restore control at a local level.. where government can help citizens rally around their neighbors with ‘untimely’ pregnancies and persuade them of the fact that their child is needed in the community.

    Some may ask why (even local) government needs to be involved at all. It’s because these issues have already trickled down to state and local elections. Here in the Great Northwest, candidates get to use euphemism (“I support women’s rights and reproductive rights!”) to tell prospective voters “don’t worry, I’m one of the good guys”. We need candidates who say “I care about everyone in this community, born and unborn. I’m going to use my vote as representative to support measures that bring life and oppose those that don’t.”

    Chances of that working in Seattle? .0000000000000000000028%. But it’s a different story in more conservative areas of the country, even on the other side of the mountains.

    • Ted Seeber

      I’ve met huge numbers of people in the Great Northwest wo sincerely believe another child isn’t needed in the community (ok, I’m Great Northwest Southern Branch, but I’m still in Cascadia).

      Still, it may not work in Seatle- but drive 50 miles East, and it’s a fact that the child is needed in the community.

  • Anita

    I don’t know. The idea of a legislative body deciding who is a person and who is not could be a dangerous precedent. What’s to stop the next legislature from declaring that you cease to be a person when you cease to be able to work and produce? Maybe not a bad thing that these don’t pass.

    • http://thecrawfordfamily.net/blog Ken Crawford

      Anita, I think you’ve got it entirely backwards. Is there anything about NOT passing legislation that in any way prevents different legislation from being passed in the future? Do you think they won’t limit the definition of who is human in the future because this didn’t pass? Perhaps if we were talking about the court indicating that if the legislature has the ability to expand the definition of humanity it also has the right to limit it, then you’d have a point. But it’s not, this is about legislation that’s not passing. Unpassed legislation, by the very definition of “unpassed”, has exactly ZERO affect on the abilities of the legislature in the future.

      Looking at it from the opposite view, will a society that refuses to protect the innocent and acknowledge their humanity be the ones more likely in the future to further limit it? I think so. As such, I’d much rather see this passed.

      • str

        Exactly, Ken.
        The pro-choice way of going about this is “you decide for yourself whether it is a person” which essentially means, it is not a person but less than a slave. And pro-choicers are doing everything they can to enshrine that in law simply by stifling the opposition.

    • Ted Seeber

      “What’s to stop the next legislature from declaring that you cease to be a person when you cease to be able to work and produce? ”

      In Oregon and Washington we already passed that point on the Slippery Slope- it’s called the Death With Dignity Act.

    • Andy, Bad Person

      The idea of a legislative body deciding who is a person and who is not could be a dangerous precedent.

      Not at all. The law as it stands right now denies personhood to actual persons. Since the law should reflect truth and reality, it is clear to me that the personhood initiative is necessary.

  • Richard M

    And yet, in just the last week, GOP-controlled legislatures in Arizona and New Hampshire passed historic limits on abortion. Over the previous year, dozens of Republican controlled state legislatures have been pushing through an unprecedented wave of abortion restrictions. In Alabama, they have the last abortion mill in the state on the verge of closing because of crippling regulations they have put in place.

    But instead, Mark, you target one egregious failure by some Republican leaders in Oklahoma, and write off the entire party. And once again, you ensure that you have left no political hostages to fortune. Your hands are clean, because you stay out of the arena.

    I don’t deny that the GOP often gives little more than lip service to life issues. But they do give lip service, usually, and that is far more than what you get from the other party, sad to say. At the end of the day, political gains on ending abortion will only follow cultural gains. That’s the only real reason why GOP legislators in various sates are suddenly interested in doing something about abortion. When more and more of society is desirous of restricting abortion, more and more legislators are, too.

    One day, that may even include Democrats.

  • Ben

    Speaking as a pro-life Democrat, this characterization of Oklahoma Republicans strikes me as grossly unfair. But of course, positing that political disagreements between Mark and the current objects of his wrath are due to deliberate malevolence rather than a difference of opinion is something of a house style here.

  • Dan C

    I need to clarify my opinion a bit. I do not necessarily hold the GOP accountable. I hold the electorate responsible.

    Laws like this one can’t pass a direct election by the voters in the reddest of states. Truth is, it’s not the GOP politicians alone who are doing the “I am really pro-life-wink, wink” bit. It is their voters too.

    Pro-life leaders should really have known this. The line fed from pro-life propaganda instead has been “how pro-life” the nation, our youth, etc. were really was. Actually, no.

    Activists have lived instead in a propaganda bubble.

    The GOP is responding to an electorate that by large majorities have not voted for any such real change. This should have been evident by now.

    Conservative criticism has long been on the “Bernadin” “single garment” approach, which has largely been abandoned since the early ’90′s.

    Let me make it clear-the culture war divide may have created more barriers to people actually changing and it’s about time that critique gets heard.

    • http://confederatepapist.blogspot.com/ Confederate Papist

      I agree that it’s the electorate. They get suckered each election and then go back to the trough, like it’s an all night buffet of salmonella steaks……

      Isn’t the definition of insanity something along the lines of doing the same thing over and over hoping that someday the results will be different?

      • Dan C

        I disagree the electorate get suckered. I don’t believe they really want Roe repealed.

        I point out aggressive ballot measures that failed in South Dakota and Alabama. The balloting wasn’t even close.

        I am getting a sense that the pro-life movement’s secret is they know if put to a vote, pro-abortion laws would be the law of the land. Hence the new concentration on discussing the “didactic power” of government insisting something is illegal.

        The “culture war” tactic has failed worse than the “seamless garment” tactic and was tried longer and harder. That won’t be the topic of a post at First Things anytime soon, though.

        Time to take to the streets.

        • Chris

          This.

          Abortion has been enshrined in the Bill of Rights, if you talk to most voters today. Even those who are self-identified as pro-life, give way in large numbers by refusing to “impose” their moral values on others. The cultural gangrene, I’m sorry to say, is ravaging our communities, and the trajectory of consequences will be further chastisement from God. Fight the good fight, yes, but don’t fall under the delusion that the American psyche isn’t in a state of full capture by the forces of Evil.

          The upshot: it’s not time to take to the streets. It’s time to take to the Ark.

          • http://www.pavelspoetry.com Pavel

            Yep. The rot runs deep, and it has spread both in the Church and outside. I believe that many of us fail to understand the social trajectory we are on. We may not believe it, but it aims not only at the anti=human but at the inhuman. It will go on over decades and beyond. Brace yourselves.

            THE RETURN

            The wrens came back, I heard them sing
            But could not see them chattering,
            Inside a room and they without
            I knew the wrens without a doubt

            And as I pass from life before,
            Will not be seen, a metaphor
            A lyric or a lyric’s trace
            Will come again and take my place

            A prisoner inside a cell
            Will hear the song, another tell
            And still another, then my verse
            Will be an angry tyrant’s curse

            He will hunt but will not find
            The body of a lyric mind,
            But those in rooms sealed up will hear
            That melody both loud and clear

            Pavel
            April 18, 2012

  • kenneth

    “Personhood amendments” fail for the simple reason that sooner or later, even politicians with huge PAC money need real live Americans to vote for them. These ballot initiatives are so radical that they alienate virtually all women outside of very strident evangelical and conservative Catholic circles, and a great many men too. These amendments would outlaw virtually all forms of contraception and force America back into the days of the Comstock Laws. It’s not going to fly here, or anywhere else where most people wear shoes and read and allow women out of the house. Not even the bishops want to put their name on these things. They’ve refused to explicitly endorse these amendments because they know it’s political suicide.

  • Elaine S.

    “I don’t deny that the GOP often gives little more than lip service to life issues. But they do give lip service, usually, and that is far more than what you get from the other party, sad to say”
    I think there is a difference between a non-aggressively pro-choice politician who will basically leave the law as it is, and an aggressively pro-abortion politician who intends to EXPAND the “right” to abortion and punish those who don’t cooperate with it. The first type of pol may not be pro-life and may be endorsing an intrinsic evil, but at least is not likely to make things worse than they already are; whereas the second type will make things worse. In an election where the only choice is between the first type and the second type, I MAY vote for first type to keep the other from winning; but under no circumstances will I vote for the second type.

    • Sean O

      Elaine S.

      Believe that if it makes you feel better. The abortion regime in America cannot get any worse. It is the most radical in the world. You can abort from conception up until the baby is out of the mother, and even then sometimes. Give me the godless European general standard that makes it very difficult to abort after 3 months. That would be a better starting point. From THERE [3 mos] go out and win hearts and minds to the pro-life vision.

      • Peter

        Oh, it could get worse. The government could force women who have “too many” children to have abortions, as is done in China. I’m not saying that American abortion laws are in any way good or desirable, but they are not as bad as they could be.


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