Friday, July 28, 2006

Making Exceptions

Over the years there have been many political candidates who claimed to be pro-life. Some embraced the position of major pro-life organizations. Others articulated a sound appreciation on the importance of acknowledging and respecting the life of the unborn child from the moment of conception. Then there are those who try to create their own terms and their own spin on what it means to be pro-life. They do this in order to have the wiggle room when confronting different groups. Many are simply trying to get the support of the group they are addressing.

I remember in 1976 when Jimmy Carter was running for president and he addressed the Iowa pro-life democrats prior to the Iowa Caucus. He spoke to them eloquently about his Christian beliefs and how abortion was wrong. They did not press him to sign on the dotted line but swooned over the prospect of a pro-life Democrat candidate (which as an aside was a lot more common in those days than is now). He won the primary and went on to win the White House against a pro-abortion Gerald Ford. But Carter was one of those "personally opposed" politicians who did not allow his so-called personal objections to abortion prevent him from embracing a pro-abortion ethic.

We had the same thing happen in 1980 when the late Barry Goldwater was in a battle for his political life with real estate developer Bill Schulz. Schulz had the momentum and the money. He was younger than Goldwater who was not pro-life. But he contacted Arizonans for Life, the political action committee and wanted our endorsement. Only if he signed on the line stating he would support a human life amendment which was the unity amendment language of NRLC would the group consider such a move. He agreed and asked for the document to brought to his home where he signed it. The PAC endorsed him and he won by a very small margin, the victory could be attributed to the pro-life support. But Barry Goldwater was not a man of his word. He reneged on his promise after six months. Integrity was not his strong suit.

So when we look at candidates, look at their record and their history. The good news is that we do have "conversions," people who come to recognize the humanity of the child and the importance of protecting the child. They are the first to realize that their past pro-abortion position was wrong and are willing to go the extra mile.

Then there are those who try to and sometimes do use us. Their actions generally expose their motivations.

But when it comes to exceptions to permit abortion, with today's modern medical procedures, there are no situations where one needs to intentionally kill the child to protect the life of the mother. And it is never permissible to kill a child simply because the child was conceived through an act of violence against the mother. A candidate for public office who thinks that there should be exceptions for rape and incest does not fully embrace the pro-life message. He cannot claim to understand completely what being pro-life is all about. There is never a good reason to kill an innocent child. Certainly the means by which he or she came into being is not an acceptable reason to kill him or her. Love is the only viable response to a conception occurring from rape or incest; love for the mother, and love for the child. As for the perpetrator of the foul deed, punishment is the required response.

A society is judged by how it treats the most vulnerable of its members. The child conceived in rape should not be killed but loved. The woman victimized by violence should not perpetrate more violence to another innocent but should stop the cycle of violence by embracing life and love. Such an action will underscore the fact that she and her baby have a right to life and she will be the hero to her child for giving him or her life.

Arizona Right to Life works to educate candidates on understanding this message and why one must be consistent if one is to be truly pro-life. It is not consistent to say abortion is wrong, BUT it is ok for rape and incest. It is illogical and candidly panders to our more base instincts. Such laws were of modern vintage and primarily in the South.

Modern science shows us the miracle of life.
Our moral heritage compels us to respect the right to life of every human person.
Our legal existence as a nation held these truths to be self-evident.
There are no exceptions.
Either every innocent human person has a right to life, or none of us do.

So when a candidate claims to be pro-life but wants to have a rape exception, challenge him or her or that point. Explain that such a position is not pro-life. Make it a teaching moment. For remember, we seek to change hearts and minds so that all may embrace the truth.


At 10:09 PM, Anonymous John K. Walker said...


I am gratified that you are genuinely demonstrating the officially non-partisan position of all NRLC affiliates by exposing the late Senator Goldwater's duplicity in his 1980 race. (AZRTL also reflected this integrity last year by inviting Kristen Day of Democrats for Life to speak at the anuual conference). Many conservative and/or staunchly Republican pro-life supporters are either ignorant of his pro-abortion militancy (his widow was actually a Planned Parenthood administrator!), or rationalize his disgusting views as "principled libertarian conservatism." Columnists such as Cal Thomas and Tony Blankley are particularly self-delusional on this point concerning their hero, even in light of his decisive advocacy of Sandra Day O'Connor's appointment by Reagan to the US Supreme Court, despite her already perfectly established pro-abortion history (even pre-ROE v. WADE) in the Arizona State Senate. (Carolyn Gerster even testified to this fact during O'Connor's confirmation hearing in 1981.)

A few other politicians of the same ilk also compel mentioning in this regard:

1) Senator Bob Dole, whose career was about to end in the post-Watergate Democratic sweep of 1974 (as RNC Chairnman, he had been a pathetic public defender of Nixon's -- who was also a de facto abortion supporter), and was only re-elected because his opponent, Representative Jack Roy, was exposed as an actual abortionist during their debate in Kansas! Nonetheless, after securing the Republican Presidential nomination in 1996, Dole (who at least did maintain a prolife voting record) tried to remove the party's pro-life plank (first instituted by President Reagan in 1980), reportedly in part to put Christi Whitman on his ticket.

2) Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, whose chicanery in the 2004 Republican US Senate Primary race between pro-abortion incumbent Arlen Spector and pro-life challenger Pat Toomey (who ended up losing by half a percentage point!) you already know firsthand.

3) Arizona's own John McCain, currently pulling exacty the same sort of trick, as part of his plan to secure the 2008 Presidential nomination, in the Rhode Island Republican Senate primary, campaigning for Lincoln Chafee against his pro-life opponent, despite the incumbent Senator's refusal to support either the party's official pro-life stance, or President Bush's Supreme Court nominations. I hope Arizona's pro-life leadership make this a clear public issue during the 2008 primaries. Likewise must Rudolph Giuliani's absolutely maximum pro-abortion history preclude his eligibility for the nomination; he is currently trotting out the old nonsense ala Mario Cuomo -- whom he supported for reelection in 1994, despite being of opposing parties -- about being simultaneously "both pro-life and pro-choice."


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