The American pro-life movement is hailing the Republican landslide in the November elections as a tremendous victory. For the first time since the fifties, the Republicans now control both House of Congress.
I think that any serious look at the Republican Party platform will reveal that pro-lifers have nothing to cheer about. What the Republicans intend to do will dramatically increase the number of abortions performed in America.
As part of the election bid, the Republican leadership issued a Contract with America, a dramatic series of legislative steps which the Republicans are committed to undertake in the first one hundred days after the opening of Congress.
That election platform has now been translated into draft legislation. Indeed the Republicans are committed to making fundamental changes to America including dramatic cuts to social assistance for the poor, dramatic tax cuts for the wealthy, and a reduction in foreign aid.
There is nothing too controversial for the Republicans to take on. Nothing too controversial of course except abortion. The party plans no legislation protecting the unborn. They cannot use as an excuse that such legislation would require a constitutional amendment. These same Republicans have declared the reintroduction of school prayer to be a top priority. Any such initiative would, like abortion legislation, require a constitutional amendment.
The Republicans are engaged in a sharp game of trying to buy off their Christian supporters. In this century, the Republicans have been the party of the privileged. As such they have had trouble winning, and in recent years have sought to broaden their support by making an alliance with Americans who support traditional morality. To this end, the Republicans have taken stands opposing abortion and favoring school prayer. When it comes time to deliver, however, it is school prayer, and not abortion, that the Republicans have decided to act on.
Such a strategy is nothing short of cunning. School prayer is a motherhood type of issue. Even President Clinton has said he could support it. Though it may offend some people, pushing for it will lose the party precious few votes. Doing something to stop abortion, on the other hand, would not only cost the party many votes, it would have a dramatic influence on the nature of life in America. The Republicans are involved in a sleazy game of trying to buy off the Christian supporters with prayer in the schools, while doing nothing on abortion.
But the situation is much more serious than this. It is not just that the Republicans are failing to deliver on their abortion stand. They are in fact promoting a set of laws which invariably will push America’s abortion rate even higher.
The key social policy of the Republicans us a drastic cut in welfare payments. The group which is being especially targeted for cutbacks is single welfare mothers.
The Republican literature identifies illegitimacy as a major problem with America. The solution the Republicans are pushing is little short of scandalous. They intend to deny any welfare to single mothers under the age of twenty-one, and if a single woman on social assistance gets pregnant, she will be denied additional support for that child.
There can only be one result from this. Abortions will increase. Some of America’s poorest women will be told when they get pregnant that there will be no money to support their unborn child. Thousands of these women, faced with such news, are certain to seek abortion as a solution.
The Republican party is certainly free to adopt such draconian measures. What is disturbing is that pro-life people should be seen supporting this legislation. The Republicans continue to win support from pro-lifers on the basis of their rejection of government funding for abortion. A provision in the welfare legislation states that welfare funds may be used to establish orphanages but cannot be used to provide abortion.
Opposing government funding of abortion does not make the Republicans pro-life. Using that standard, Attila the Hun would be judged to be pro-life. You can be assured that when Attila goes through town, every abortion clinic in sight will be closed – but only because he will destroy everything in sight. In the same way, Republicans consistently oppose abortion funding because they oppose all government funding.
It is time for pro-life voters to clarify what makes a party pro-life.