Republican Presidential Field and the Pro-life IssueThe jockeying among the presidential candidates to claim the pro-life mantle has begun. Up until now the candidates have all focused on the economy and for all the obvious reasons. Over the last week, however, we have seen a "ramping" up of the issue and different candidates challenging each other on their credentials and bone fides.
Major national right to life organizations have blessed all of the serious Republican contenders as preferable to the current occupant of the White House. National Right to Life, for example, has a sheet highlighting the candidates and the positions on funding, ObamaCare and Roe v. Wade. Other groups such as SBA List have called for candidates to sign a pledge to appoint judges and oppose certain legislation.
Now with the Iowa Caucus less than a month away, both the candidates and their surrogates are launching to attacks on each other. An example was found yesterday in an opinion piece in the Washington Post by Marc Thiessen, who recounts Newt Gingrich's stated and historical positions concerning abortion and related matters. he lists all those who questions Gingrich and his pro-life stand, asking about his actions in Congress. the article also asks why Romney is not playing up this abortion issue more.
Then there is the National Review and its decision to back Romney, joining with the so called "Establishment" folks in D.C. who thinks its Romney's turn. so NRO links to those sites who chip at Newt, who, having had the momentum, now is the guy to be pulled off the hill.
So where does it leave pro-lifers, whether they be in Iowa or New Hampshire or Arizona?
Each of the candidates' supporters point to their candidate's pro-life talking points. In conversations with Romney Supporters, one will hear how Romney vetoed a state law that would have changed the definition of when life began. (I am always amused by the conceit of legislators who believe that by legislating something, they can make it so.) The Bachmann folks beat up on Newt for his implantation confusion. There are constant reminders of Romney's flip flops on being pro-life or pro-choice and whether he even understands - or much less cares.
Perry got roasted in the beginning when he announced over the vaccine issue. People did not life what he did and he agreed that he was wrong.
Dr. Paul, has delivered thousands of babies but unfortunately thinks that abortion is strictly a state's rights issue, a position embraced by some politicians who wish we pro-lifers would just go away.
For records and for being champions, Bachmann and Santorum have a leg up on the other candidates, although Huntsman can point with pride at legislation he signed in Utah while governor.
One can get a good read on the candidates from a little research. There are enough sources to consider as long as one can insure there is not an ulterior motive in the article.Of course, one of the concerns of many voters is that candidates will say one thing and do another. For many in the pro-life movement, there is a jaded attitude toward the political approach, having seen too many missed opportunities. One cannot wait upon political solutions entirely, although eventually a political solution must be reached if we are to ever protect all children.
Those who have checkered pasts need to recognize that the pro-life movement has been burned too many times before so simply accept the "trust me" line. We don't need politicians to treat us as interest groups one trudges out every couple of years to vote and then escort to the back of the bus. And we don't need people to "remind" us that economic issues are "more" important than the life issues or that there should a "truce" in talking about family issues. the reason economic issues are important is because they affect the family - in other words - people. And ultimately "people" are what it is all about.
So where are we on this 20th day of December 2011, a few days before Christmas, with the prospects of the 2012 election year before us? Many, I believe, are keeping their powder dry. Many are watching the flavor of the month and keeping their ideas to themselves. As the candidates and their surrogates attempt to force
decisions, the pro-life voting public is waiting; waiting to see who will be their champion. They know that the lives of millions depend on a real champion who understands what is at stake for the nation and the world.
During this holy season, we all need to pray for that champion of life.