Debate: Do Liberal Social Policies Lessen Abortion & Poverty?

Debate: Do Liberal Social Policies Lessen Abortion & Poverty? May 19, 2019

I started out by posting the article, “Hillary Clinton to Receive Planned Parenthood’s ‘Champion of the Century’ Award.”  My initial comment on that was as follows:

How frightening that this woman almost became our President. She would have put a secularist pro-abort radical on the Supreme Court and the entire legal system of this country would have been vastly different in the next generation.

How absurd that folks like Mark Shea thought pro-life Catholics and other Christians could vote for her in good conscience, as a supposedly more moral choice than Trump, and actually urged those in swing states to do so (while he himself voted third party).

Vigorous (but civil) discussion then ensued. Words of Amanda Andie McDermott will be in blue, and the words of Brian Chovanec will be in green.


After doing some research on what the Church has said on matters of voting, I reluctantly reached a similar conclusion- that a vote for her would be licit as the lesser of two evils; as a vote against what I perceived to be the greater cause for concern in Donald Trump. And I’ve long since stopped believing that the (R) after a politician’s name means that they are in any way against abortion. As a party, they have a vested interest in keeping abortion on the table as a contentious wedge issue.

Here are the facts regarding Republicans and abortion:

There have been a massive number of abortion restrictions on the state level. They came from Republican pro-life commitment. They sure  didn’t come from the Democrats, except for the few pro-life Democrat politicians on the state level.

The legal permissibility to pass these restrictions in the first place also came from GOP appointees to the Supreme Court. A Democrat-appointed pro-life Justice hasn’t occurred since 1962 and Byron White. It’s 100% pro-abort record after that. Our record is mixed, but it remains true that any pro-life Justice in the last 55 years (excepting Byron White) has been from a Republican President.

That in turn allowed state restrictions (after 1989) that have resulted in many thousands of saved lives and a significant reduction in overall childkillings per year.

If we say that the GOP is not 100% committed to pro-life above all else or is 100% consistent, I would readily agree. But — that granted — it remains true that any gains we have made in the pro-life movement have been as a result of Republicans, with just a handful of pro-life Democrats on the state level.

A case in point was the recent ban on abortion past 20 weeks in Iowa. It passed without a single Democrat vote. Yet we are told that there’s no difference on this issue between Democrats and Republicans.

Thanks for the anecdotes. I do believe that the GOP has more….I guess more of an evangelical base, so the state-level successes (which are good) aren’t surprising. But as far as abortion goes….outlawing abortion will not end abortion, any more than prohibition or the War on Drugs has ended addiction. I’ve come to believe that we’d do better to work to make abortion unthinkable and undesirable, rather than illegal. Expanding support systems for pregnant women and struggling families of young children would help that cause greatly, don’t you think? And that latter point does not go to the GOP.

Yes; how to do those things is the question. I don’t think the liberal solutions will work, and they have in fact not worked up till now.

And so, thinking that we should “work to make abortion unthinkable and undesirable,” you concluded that a presidency of Hillary Clinton, Planned Parenthood’s champion of the century; a woman who proudly defended partial-birth infanticide in a national televised debate, would best achieve that goal, huh?

No. I didn’t vote for her. If I’d been in a swing state, I might have. It would have been a vote against Trump, not for her, seeing as there were really only the two choices.

[This is a] vote for Hillary in swing states, in order to supposedly “lessen evil.”

I agree that the how is the biggest question. And I would disagree that “liberal” solutions haven’t helped. That’s a broad statement. Expansion of social support structures do help. Knowing that you’ll get some temporary help with food, shelter, the bare minimums, if you carry your child to term….I know for a fact that these things have helped sway minds against the abortion option, because I have known several of those mothers. Perhaps I’ve been one of those mothers.

To be fair, a lot of people share this reasoning. That’s because it’s a reasonable position. :-)

I agree with social / governmental solutions or aids to social problems (to some extent), but not in the way the Democrats have done it. I also believe in individual assistance and Church assistance. Did you go to a Crisis Pregnancy Center, if you were in that situation?

The Great Society has helped nothing. It has helped to bring the illegitimacy rate among African-Americans from about 15% in the early 60s to the 80-85% rate it is now. You want a recipe for poverty? Broken homes are one of the leading sociological indicators of that happening. And illegitimacy leads to broken homes.

If we want to understand what is happening in places like the south side of Chicago, here is the underlying basis of it: broken homes with no fathers, leading to crime, drugs, hopelessness, gangs, and murder.

The Democrats won’t allow school choice (because of teachers’ unions), so inner-city kids are condemned to attend atrocious schools. Their only avenue of hope for escape from the slums and poverty and crime is a good education.

This stuff directly flowed from Democrat policies. That’s why it has gotten much worse.

African-American income and rate of home ownership both decreased during Obama’s tenure. They both went up dramatically under Reagan. And they will under Trump [indeed, that has come to pass]. Who’s helping black folk?

It has helped people, it does help people. I just told you, I know many people that it’s helped and continues to help. And has for generations. I mean, I’m not making stuff up here. LOL.

To your question, no, didn’t go to a crisis pregnancy center. But knowing that I couldn’t afford another child, but that we’d make do in part because of social assistance was a grace straight from God and eased my mind considerably about the pregnancy. (Which turned out to be twins).

Individuals have been helped. Overall, the “solutions” of the Great Society and secular liberalism have made things worse.

Congrats on the twins! Crisis Pregnancy Centers offer all kinds of free assistance and are more in number now than abortion clinics. They also receive state assistance in many cases.

There seems to be (not from you) a minimizing of their contributions. We supposed “old” pro-lifers get bashed as supposedly not caring about helping women with crisis pregnancies, or poor with children, and the CPCs are a huge “answer” to those false charges.

My own four children were born and paid for through the Medicaid program (and my wife had difficult pregnancies, and postpartum depression, and six miscarriages). Obviously, I am not opposed to any and all social / governmental assistance. Never have been . . . And I am not unaware of pregnancies, difficult pregnancies, related medical issues and children in scenarios where not a lot of money is present.

But I would go on to make the argument that health care ought to have been affordable in the first place, so that such assistance wasn’t necessary. How to achieve that is the question. Obamacare took a crack at it and failed. We’ll see how a Republican alternative works. Proof’s in the pudding . . .

After all of the discussion and back and forth of this past week with Mark Shea, you’re still not getting it. It’s not that Trump wouldn’t have nominated someone pro-life (he did). It’s not that Clinton would’ve nominated someone pro-life (she wouldn’t have). It’s that, after the nomination and confirmation of Gorsuch, ROE V WADE STILL IS NEVER GOING TO BE OVERTURNED. Gorsuch replaced Scalia, balance maintained. If Ginsburg dies (or Kennedy retires, or whatever), Trump will not nominate another Gorsuch, he’ll nominate another Kennedy, or Souter (however you want to describe it). Why? As Amanda says above, “As a party, they have a vested interest in keeping abortion on the table as a contentious wedge issue”. BINGO. They must, like Lucy with Charlie Brown, always hold that football for us to kick, and promise that THIS TIME, we won’t pull it back, but EVERY TIME, ‘Faithful Pro-Life Catholics’ try to kick the ball, have it pulled out from under us, and fall flat on our face. People like Mark Shea and myself simply are drawing a line in the sand and saying NO MORE. Meanwhile, on LITERALLY EVERY OTHER ISSUE*, MANY OF THEM ACTUALLY PLAYING OUT RIGHT NOW, the parties are either equally moral or immoral on their platform/actions, or the REPUBLICANS SUPPORT THE GREATER EVIL (refugees, torture, just war, immigration/deportation, denying health care opportunities, minimum wage, police brutality, drug policy,…). THIS is what you are supporting. If you accept that and own it, fine. Just don’t try to tell us we’re the evil ones when we have a logic to what we’re doing.

*-that is still politically in play. Whether we like it or not, in the political world of 2017 in Washington, gay marriage is effectively a settled issue.

I’m not saying anyone is evil or a “bad Catholic.” Mark Shea says that. Get it straight. I’m saying that anyone who thinks like this hasn’t thought through the issues sufficiently, lacks facts and relevant information, and unwittingly (with all the best, but fatally flawed, intentions) operates (worst case scenario) as a fellow traveler or useful idiot for Democrat / liberal pro-abortion goals.

I’m not arguing that Roe will be overturned anytime soon. That’s simply a red herring that Mark uses to dismiss Republican pro-life efforts. I have long since argued that the ultimate solution as to ending legal childkilling will be a huge society-wide spiritual revival. I don’t expect that to happen till I am a very old man, or even after I’ve departed this mortal coil (I’m 58) .

But it will happen eventually, because history shows us that this is the case. America will either be destroyed as a civilization (as Rome was) or there will be a sea-change societal revival, as in, for example, the Wesley revivals in England in the 18th century.

What pro-lifers are doing now is enacting state legislation to limit abortion as much as we legally can. This is what we can do now, in light of Roe still being the law of the land.

[Dave: 5-19-19: actually many on both sides of the debate now think Roe v. Wade may actually be overturned by the Supreme Court. I give it a 50/50 chance, myself.]

First it was said that Trump wouldn’t nominate a pro-life Justice at all. Now, Mark Shea begrudgingly concedes that Gorsuch is pro-life. So now (with no basis whatever), without missing a beat, it’s argued that the next Justice [who turned out to be Kavanaugh] will be a Kennedy or a Souter.

You guys are a constant source of absurdist entertainment. But it’s the sort of thing where one must laugh to keep from crying.

I have long since argued that the ultimate solution as to ending legal childkilling will be a huge society-wide spiritual revival.

This is good to hear, and on this, you and I agree. I just don’t see how this is achieved by supporting Trumpism. Taking his policies (and those of some, not all, pro-life Republicans) as a whole, it’s very much a two steps forward (limit legal abortion), two steps back (limit social services and assistance that would prevent many poor women from choosing to abort in the first place) approach. We need to support the republican position on morality and the democratic position on charity and compassion. What it means is not going all in on one side or the other, but nibbling away a little at a time from both directions. I agree it will take a long time, but I believe it will be the only chance at ultimate success of achieving a society that rejects abortion. With this, (your comment I quoted above), I feel this is a reasonable place for a truce in this conversation, and I will make no further comment to you on this or any other issue at this time. I sincerely wish the best for you, a wonderful Easter weekend, and good things for all involved going forward. God Bless.

“the democratic position on charity and compassion” has absolutely devastated the inner cities of America and particularly black families; not to mention the tragic tie-in with the sexual revolution, which has been equally a catastrophe for our society. I don’t want to follow a failed policy. I want to try something that actually works to help solve these huge problems.

In fact, I would even deny that this is properly described as “charity and compassion.” Democrats are not the sole owners of those attitudes. It’s one thing to be ignorant and naive as to what will work, but to try it with good intentions. That was done with the Great Society. It has not worked. Therefore, now, it is against “charity and compassion” to keep doing the same failed thing over and over and to refuse to try anything different.

Blessed Easter to you and yours as well. Thanks for engaging the topic without rancor.


Related Reading:

Catholic Compassion & Beggars on the Street: What is Our Responsibility? / Analysis of Poverty & Its Causes & Solutions [12-30-11]

Is America a “Moral Sewer” (Due to Secularism)? [9-5-15]

“How Can a Catholic Vote for Trump?!!?” [5-28-16]

Christian Civilization Self-Demolition [8-5-16]

Catholic Lawyer Huge Hewitt’s Case for a Trump Vote Based on the Future of the Supreme Court (+ Part Two / Part Three) [8-14-16]

On Trump & the “Supreme” Pro-Life Cause [8-16-16]

Dialogue: Conservatives & “Old” Pro-Lifers & the Poor [10-3-16]

“Trump Ain’t Really Pro-Life” [1-24-17]

Debate: How Pro-Life is the Republican Party (Especially the Leadership)? [5-8-17]

Do Democratic Presidents Cause Fewer Abortions to Occur? [National Catholic Register, 2-28-18]

Good Christians Can Support Trump (Amazingly Enough)! [7-21-18]

Are Trump & His Supporters Nuts & Evil? (vs. Mark Shea) [9-6-18]

Debate: SCOTUS & GOP in Relation to Abortion Rates [11-15-18]

Dialogue on Conservative vs. Liberal Pro-Life Voting [2-9-19]

Could God Possibly Use Trump, Like Queen Esther? . . . and Like He Used Balaam’s Ass, Jonah’s Whale, King Cyrus, and the Babylonian Heathen King, Nebuchadnezzar (Not to Mention Adulterous Murderer, David)? [3-23-19]

Explaining the Pro-Life, Christian Vote for Trump Yet Again [4-30-19]

Dialogue: Christian Witness, Trump, & Prudential Voting (vs. Deacon Steven D. Greydanus) [5-10-19]


(originally 4-12-17 on Facebook)

Photo credit: Lorie Shaull (6-10-16) Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaking at Planned Parenthood Action Fund membership event at the Washington Hilton on June 10, 2016. [Wikimedia CommonsCreative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license]


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