Fr. Richard John Neuhaus
Special to The Interim

Survey research and common sense combine in telling us that children tend to share the values of their parents, including their political views and way of life. It is far from the most important factor in abortion, but there are enormous political consequences in the 40 million children aborted since the infamous Roe v. Wade decision of 1973.

In the June issue of the American Spectator, policy wonk Larry Eastland did the number crunching on “missing voters.” There were 12,274,368 in the voting age population of 205,815,000 missing from the 2000 presidential election because of abortions from 1973-82. In this year’s election, there were 18,336,576 in the voting age population missing because of abortions between 1973 and 1986. In the 2008 election, 24,408,960 in the voting age population will be missing because of abortions between 1973-90.

Moreover, according to a major survey by Wirthlin Worldwide, Democrats account for 40 per cent more abortions than Republicans (49 per cent versus 35 per cent). Statistically, the more liberal Democrats are, the more abortions they have; the more conservative Republicans are, the fewer abortions.

Eastland writes, “Examining these results through a partisan political lens, the Democrats have given the Republicans a decided advantage in electoral politics, one that grows with each election. Moreover, it is an advantage that they can never regain. Even if abortions were declared illegal today, and every single person complied with the decision, the advantage would continue to grow until the 2020 election and would stay at that level throughout the voting lifetime of most Americans living today.” Given the partisan distribution of “missing voters” as a result of abortion, says Eastland, in the 2000 election, Gore would have won Florida by 45,366 votes instead of Bush winning by 537.

The abortion factor powerfully affects not only presidential elections, but also congressional elections in the most crucial swing states. Eastland concludes: “As liberals and Democrats fervently seek new voters and supporters through events, fundraisers, direct mail and every other form of communication available, they achieve results minuscule in comparison to the loss of voters they suffer from their own abortion policies. It is a grim irony lost on them, for which they will pay dearly in elections to come.”

I’m not vouching for Eastland’s argument. I suspect there are variables not taken into account. But it does seem blindingly obvious: killing your offspring is not a good way to multiply your kind. As I say, this is very far from being the most important consideration regarding abortion, but it is not uninteresting. It should not be necessary to say that, whatever gratification conservatives may draw from the working of a rough justice suggested by these statistics, they must not forget that being pro-life means being pro-life also with respect to the children of those who aren’t.