Two headlines in the Denver Post (June 15, 1986) highlighted the importance of the 1986 National Right to Life Convention: “Candidates fully aware of Right to Life’s political force,” and “Right to Life Group potential political force.” For three days, June 12 to 14, the usual workshops, displays and major speeches had been part of the annual Convention in Denver, Colorado, but this year things were somewhat different. A few blocks away, in another hotel, the National Organization of Women (a major pro-abortion force) was also holding a Convention and as always the media were pulling out all the stops to give it as much favorable exposure as possible. Nevertheless, and despite all their efforts, it was abundantly clear even to the media, that U.S. political leaders ranked the pro-life group far ahead of NOW. Not only did three potential Presidential candidates consider it expedient to travel to Denver to address the pro-lifers, but it was to the National Right to Life Convention that President Reagan sent a specially made videotaped greeting and message.
As President of the United States, and unlike political leaders in Canada, Reagan has been fearlessly outspoken in his defence of pre-born and handicapped newly-born babies. This year he also stressed his abhorrence of coercive abortions as a population-control measure (although he did not specifically mentions China). Calling abortions “direct attacks upon the values which are the foundation of Western civilization and of the family itself,” he went on to say: “this is the ultimate human-rights issue. We cannot, and we will no remain silent. Nor will we permit our foreign aid to be used for these purposes.”
His pro-life stand has helped, not harmed, him politically. Our own MPs should not that it is reliably estimated that 12 per cent of al voters in 1984 chose Reagan because of his stand on abortion.
The first of the three possible candidates for Republican nomination was Pat Robertson – a journalist, an ordained Southern Baptist minister, host of TV’s 700 Club, which draws a daily audience of 12 million viewers, and champion of the unborn child. Robertson was the main speaker at the Prayer Breakfast where he was scathingly critical of the U.S. Supreme Court – an “unelected oligarchy” and bunch of “despots” in his opinion. He stressed the economic costs of abortion, the lost tax revenues which aborted babies will never pay, and he added: “Many of the parents who are aborting their children today will find when they become older, there’s nobody to pay the bill for retirement because there won’t be enough young workers coming into the system.”
Senator Robert Dole was the last of the three potential candidates to speak. He has been a Republican senator for Kansans since 1968 and in 1985 was elected to be Majority Leader, the most powerful position in the Senate. Senator Dole was seriously wounded in World War II, spent three years in hospital, and has only partial use of his right arm. He is a powerful advocate in the Senate both for the unborn, and for the handicapped. His was the most entertaining of the political speeches, and one can only think that his wit must lighten many a dreary day in the Senate.
Congressman Jack Kemp, a Republican from Buffalo, N.Y., is a tireless worker for the unborn. In 1985 he led the battle for an amendment, which prohibited the United States from funding organization which support China’s coercive abortion programme. He played a prominent part in defending Reagan’s “Mexico City Policy” which cut off funds for International Planned Parenthood Federation, and he is a co-sponsor of the National Right to Life Committee’s Human Life Amendment.
Because the Democrats have a plank in their policy platform for abortion on demand, there was no potential Democratic Presidential candidate at the Convention. There were, however, many Democrats and former Democrats who were angered that their national leaders have “all but turned their back on millions of party members on the abortion issue.” There was also a congressman to speak for the many Democrats who fight for the unborn in Congress.
Congressman Alan Mollohan is from West Virginia, and, as the co-chairman of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus he is in the forefront of the pro-life battles. Mollohan said, “Now we are facing a crisis in which one third of a nation is destroyed before birth,” but he was optimistic too, and believed that the worst is behind us, and that momentum is no on the pro-life side. He praised the Right to life movement as “a movement for law and order and the most law-abiding movement in the United States.”
Meanwhile, according to the Rocky Mountain News, the feminists down the street were feeling disenchanted with the Democrats. Referring to the Democratic Party, Eleanor Smeal, the president of the National Organization of Women, said “I think there will be total sentiment to get away from one party.” She wants to create a new political movement that will be able to put women in office. I believe the feminist movement is spreading worldwide. I believe it will be a major political force.
How ironic it would be for the leaders of the Democratic Party to discover that they had sold their souls to win the feminists to their side – thus alienating millions of erstwhile party members – only to discover that the feminists were now abandoning them.