TURES COLUMN: The death of the pro-life movement

Published 10:30 am Friday, October 14, 2022

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Even before the damaging revelations for a prominent political figure in Georgia became public, the concept of being “pro-life” in politics in America was on life-support. Now for American politics, and a wide-swath of voters, what it means to be “pro-life” has functionally ceased to exist.

During the Newt Gingrich era “Contract With America,” I asked a Republican congressional candidate from Wisconsin what he would do if he only had one law that he could get through the House of Representatives. “I’d pass a ‘Human Life Amendment’ which would protect life from cradle to grave,” he told me. “So you oppose the death penalty and want to demobilize our military?” I asked him. He became very uncomfortable, trying to explain how capital punishment and combat didn’t count in his concept of Human Life.

For years, we had a pro-life disconnect between Democrats and Republicans. Each would be pro-life … at least on some issue. Republicans, like this Wisconsin politician attacked abortion and euthanasia. Democrats had a beef with executing someone, and were more likely to be antiwar.

Perhaps both sides could lean a little more toward criticizing their foes on the issues, instead of advancing a positive agenda. Many Republicans would be more likely to blast Democrats for being pro-abortion, instead of developing a strong system backing adoption or kids born into poverty. And Democrats back then were more likely to criticize warmongering instead of crafting a competent alternative that could stand against our foes and save human rights victims.

In order to show toughness, some Democrats began to support capital punishment as a means of competing with Republicans. They could even become more pro-military than the GOP at times. It won them the votes, but in the process, they lost some of that commitment to life.

And plenty of conservatives were quick to say that only old people were dying from the coronavirus, so it wasn’t that bad. Or they shared memes and anti-vax conspiracies that worsened the COVID-19 pandemic without a shred of empathy for the victims, old and young.

Now we’ve learned all we need to in the past week about where the importance of life is in the GOP structure.

There’s been the “fake news” reflex which is trotted out by some on every occasion for bad publicity for the right. But for many, there’s a recognition that there’s a good chance that this evidence can be substantiated. That’s why this week, some conservatives are saying “So what if he paid for an abortion…or abortions?”

That’s right. When you’ve sunk a substantial amount of election spending into a contentious campaign where the stakes could involve control of the U.S. Senate (and more for the party coffers if you win), who cares about paying for an abortion?

 Nobody on the right is calling for him to step aside, on principle if not for the good of the party. Instead, they would like to reward this person whose actions would be criminalized by nearly every red state (and maybe his own policies) with one of the most powerful political positions in America. 

If you want an abortion, just run for the U.S. Senate! And that’s how the pro-life movement died.