On Republican Weaseling on Abortion

On Republican Weaseling on Abortion September 27, 2023

Yesterday we posted about Donald Trump seemingly turning against pro-lifers and their cause.  But most other Republican candidates for president  are not exactly trumpeting their opposition to abortion.

Some Republican candidates think being pro-life means allowing abortion until 6 weeks or 15 weeks.  Such limits cut down on the number of abortions, but they still snuff out the life of a child.

Overturning Roe v. Wade turned the issue over to the states. Of the presidential candidates, only Mike Pence, Tim Scott, and Asa Hutchinson say they would sign a national ban on abortion after 15 weeks.

The Federalist‘s Jordan Boyd contrasts the way the Republican candidates are tip-toeing around the issue with the forthright position of Javier Milei, the libertarian candidate for the president of Argentina.  She quotes him:

“As a libertarian, we believe that liberalism entails the unrestricted respect for the lives of others, rooted in a principle of non-aggression and the defense of life, liberty, and property. And if we cleave these ideas of liberty, one of the most fundamental aspects is to defend the right to life,”

“Philosophically speaking, I am in favor of the right to life. Beyond that, there is a scientific justification to be had. It’s the fact that life begins at conception, it’s at that very instant that a new being begins to evolve with its own unique DNA,” Milei said.

“Beyond that, there is a matter of mathematics,” he explained. “Life is a continuum with two quantum leaps: birth and death. Any interruption in the interim is murder.”

“While it’s true that women have the right to their own bodies, the child in a woman’s womb is not her body,” Milei continued. “That child is not her body. That makes abortion a murder, enabled and aggravated by a power imbalance against a child that has no way to defend itself.”

Boyd says that the Republican candidates who profess to be prolife, instead of hiding from the issue, should make a vigorous case against abortion, as Milei does.
But, of course, doing so would be politically unpopular.  Naturally, politicians want to get elected, so they tailor their positions accordingly.  I understand that.
If banning nationwide abortion is impossible, given the current political climate, I would say that limiting the number of abortions is a worthy goal.  A ban after  15-weeks would have that effect,  and a ban after 6 weeks would have an even greater effect.  But we must not be satisfied with that.

Of course, we know we have to accept some compromises in the interim, working to achieve the best we can get now, saving as many lives as currently possible while we work to create the political conditions in which more lives may be protected. What we must not accept — and never will accept — is a “peace” in which children in the womb are legally murdered in perpetuity.

John Daniel Davidson sees parallels with the struggle against slavery.  Abolitionists were willing to make certain compromises to limit its spread as part of their strategy to eventually eliminate it completely.  “Trump might think a 15-week ban, for example, would placate both sides, but the truth is that most pro-lifers would see it merely as a way station en route to a total or near-total ban.”  Democrats recognize that, which is why they will oppose all proposed restrictions, just as the slaveholders did.

The truth is, the abortion debate in America will never end because each side represents a worldview that is fundamentally incompatible with the other. Either the unborn are human beings with the inalienable right to life, or they have no rights at all and can be killed and discarded just as easily as black slaves were in the antebellum South. There isn’t really any middle ground here on which to forge a compromise. . . .

There will be no compromise on abortion. As Abraham Lincoln famously said of slavery in his “House Divided” speech, so too we might say of abortion in our time: We will become all one thing or all the other.

Photo:  Javier Milei via Flickr, CC by SA 2.0



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