I will not vote in this election, despite donating money and time to John McCain’s campaign over the course of the past year and a half, as reflection on our poltiical institutions has rendered me utterly disallusioned that the elevation of either major candidate to the presidency will remedy our nation’s ghastly abortion laws.
Princeton philsopher Robert George makes mincemeat of the “freakanomics” logic pro-life Obama supporters employ in defense of their candidate. Indeed, few politicians in recent memory have exerted greater efforts to entrench the dogmas of pro-abortion lobbies into state and federal law. Democrats speak of making abortion “safe, legal, and rare,” and Obama emphasizes how government programs stressing contraceptive use and the dangers of unprotected sexual activity coupled with social outreach programs to pregnant women will lead to a decrease in the number of abortions necessary. His Roman Catholic running mate declares himself as personally pro-life and believes that life begins at conception, but is wary of proscribing what he views as a personal matter onto the country’s laws as a whole. Other Catholic politicians like John Kerry subscribe to this viewpoint, while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi recently reconciled her Catholic faith to a pro-abortion position by erroneously asserting that the Catholic Church lacks a definitive position on the issue.
How someone can believe life begins at conception and abdicate any responsibility for its defense is beyond me. Are we at the point where significant blocks of young pro-lifers are convinced abortion is no different than any other social issue which falls under the rubric of public policy?
The pro-life movement, to paraphrase Michael Gerson, believes the basic foundation of any just society is the preservation of innocent life. Challenging and undermining the erroneously accepted maxim that human life must meet some biological test to recieve the protection of the state should be our primary mission.
Unfortunatley, the Republican Party is more interested in exploiting the pro-life vote without alienating abortion moderates than in revising our abortion laws. The absence of the pro-life position in our political debate is galling for me, especially as more than a few people in the party consider it a top priority. On the one hand, Republicans understand capturing majorities in Congress and the White House means attracting as broad a base as possible. Absent the votes of moderates and apathetics on this issue, few Republicans could win elections, so the logic goes, and therefore, NO change would occur. Well, what have the Republicans accomplished since Roe v. Wade went on the books in 1973? Pro-life presidents put seven of the last nine judges on the court, including Sandra Day O’Connor, Anthony Kennedy, and David Souter. Republican Congresses abetted by the few pro-lifers the extremists have not purged from the Democratic ranks succeeded in passing the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban in 2003 which defined the procedure as gruesome and inhumane, but little else has been done despite Republican dominance of the executive office since 1981. Yet pro-lifers continue to donate more money and time to the Republican organization than any other group, and yet remain content to have their energies exploited without delivering any accomplishments in return.
It has been said to me on more than one occassion, that in refusing to participate in the election, I am allowing the Democratic Party complete control of the courts. Well, Republican control of the courts has not yielded much unless your standard for success is a counterfactual “imagine if so-and-so had tipped the scale.” Where some might accuse me of “taking the ball and going home,” I find it completely irrational to commit myself to a political party with a track record that indicates a lack of willpower to take seriously issues I care about. If I vote for the Republican ticket, I tell the party that they can continue to count on my support absent progress on the issue due to the Democratic bogeyman.
The legal procedures exist to remedy our nation’s abortion laws, provided a sizeable majority of the American people support, or at least not oppose, their repeal. Unfortunately, I fear Roe v. Wade is a symptom of a culture obsessed with instant material gratification and more than capable of rationalizing and internalizing the destruction of innocent life should it interfere with immediate goals. No other society has overseen the extermination of over forty million of its young. We can only hope someday astonished historians of a more enlightened age will ponder the sins of our time with sadness, but celebrate the end of this state-sanctioned infanticide in a date within the near future