Senator Lindsay Graham (who ordinarily is not one of my favorites) has introduced legislation that would ban late-term abortions throughout the US. The bill has zero chance of becoming federal law. In the unlikely event that it won approval in Congress, it would certain face a veto by President Biden. So why has Senator Graham proposed the measure? Obviously, he wants to put Democratic lawmakers on record.
And that’s a good idea.
With the November midterm elections just a few weeks away, Democrats are pounding relentlessly on the abortion issue, insisting on unrestricted support for tax-funded abortion on demand. The Republican Party leadership, on the other hand, is leery of engaging the issue; many GOP champions fear being swept away by the wave of propaganda about “extremism.”
Clearly, Democrats think that the abortion issue is a winner for them, and many Republicans agree. Think about it: If Candidate Jones says that his rival Candidate Smith is out of step with public opinion on Issue X, while Smith avoids any discussion of X, aren’t you naturally inclined to think that Smith is indeed on the losing side of that issue? So the prophecies become self-confirming.
And that’s crazy.
Poll after poll, year after year, has shown that Americans are conflicted about abortion. Only a small minority think that abortion should be illegal in all cases; only a small minority think it should be legal in all cases. The great majority lies somewhere in between, in what might be called the range of “moderate” opinion. The Democratic Party today very definitely lies outside that “moderate” range.
The party line of Democrats now requires unstinting support for abortion in all circumstances, for any reasons. Not only that, but the procedure must be readily available, it must be taxpayer-funded, and anyone who protests must be regarded as dangerous. Short of actually requiring women to abort, how could the Democratic position be any more extreme?
Yet timid Republicans still shy away from the issue, thereby damaging both their own electoral chances and the prospects of the pro-life movement—which many of them claim to support.
More than 30 years ago, I wrote a memo on this subject to a Republican gubernatorial candidate. He ignored my suggestions, and lost in the primaries. Would he have won, if he accepted my advice? Maybe not; he was running in the liberal paradise of Massachusetts. But to this day I believe that mine was a winning strategy, and the case has only been strengthened over the years—mostly by the Democratic lurch toward abortion extremism.
My memo from 1990 is contained in the link below to the entire article. Perhaps the argument could have been made more persuasively then; undoubtedly the message is more urgent today. While Americans still disapprove of abortion on a personal level, the abortion lobby has taken full advantage of a one-sided public debate to slide poll numbers in their direction on the key political questions.
If Republicans in 2022 cannot make voters understand that the Democrats are the extremists on the abortion issue, they don’t deserve to win. And if the pro-life movement cannot expect GOP candidates to make the case more effectively, we need a better vehicle for our political cause.
The above comes from a Sept. 14 posting by Phil Lawler on Catholic Culture.org.