Monday, January 22, 2007


One of the most fascinating aspects of the Republican nominating process is the critical role that the issue of "life" plays in determining a candidate. "Life" has taken on a life of its own. This fundamental question that encompasses religion, politics, values, beliefs, the parent/child relationship, these BIG questions get whittled down very quickly into a very narrow window. Republicans pick and choose, trash and trumpet, elevate and eviscerate based one one simple question. Are you pro-life?

While there are many other issues that a President has much greater control over, it is this issue that often defines and always colors our Grand Old Party's nominating process. That fact is never more clear than today. "Values voters" (we hate that term) can sniff success. They are but 1 vote away on the Supreme Court from having their hard fought victory. So now as nearly a dozen Republican hopefuls travel throughout all the nooks and crannies of this state, hoping to be the next leader of the free world, potentially the most important question they'll have to answer is the most challenging and the most basic all at the same time: Are you pro-life?

And these candidates seem prepared to take the issue head-on. From Rudy's attempt to reassure "values voters" that are very wary of his pro-choice stance by saying his favorite judge on the Supreme Court is Scalia, to McCain's repeated and repeated and repeated "24 year pro-life voting record" talking point, to Romney's lighting quick rebuttals of his previous pro-choice statements via you-tube, to Brownback marking today as a jumping off point for his campaign.
12 months away from the election, none of the leading candidates are shirking from this enormous question. Are you pro-life?

This is highlighted today as pro-lifers all across the country commemorate the 34th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision. President Bush will participate in a phone call of support. Sam Brownback made very clear that this was a big part of his announcement . From all the way in Israel Mitt Romney released a statement.

This cardinal, elemental, primary issue... This enormously complex, yet basic issue... one that will not be ignored as we choose our next President. As it has not been ignored in every nomination process since that 1973 ruling. And it certainly won't be ignored today.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excerpt from Romney's statement today:

"there are well-meaning people on both sides of this debate"

11:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

but who shows up the the Right to life march??? Brownback!

11:09 AM  
Blogger Cancer Man said...

Romney is correct. I know some of you think all pro-choicers are going to hell but they aren't.

Most pro-choicers hate abortion and want it to never occur.

Some fear that outlawing abortion will make it even more dangerous for the mother (I disagree), but that is what they believe.

Some are libertarians who feel that the gov't has no place in our bodies. Again I disagree on that point, but you can make a decent argument for their point on libertarian grounds.

Lets win over those folks by showing them our way is the right way and stop vilifying everyone who disagrees with us. Reagan disagreed with us, but eventually was won over. THAT IS A GOOD THING!

Lets stop treating the folks we win win over like crap as well.

11:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To add to cancerman's point. What does pro-life mean in 2007? Are you pro-life if you agree that the life of the mother takes precedence over the life of the unborn child? I mean that in the really life risk thing, not just being depressed about being pregnant. It's the mother's or the unborn baby's life. one of them is going to die.

Lots of women who are pro-life are concerned about the punishment. Most women don't want women going to jail over it. Does that make them pro-life or pro-choice?

Lots of women know that women who are intent on aborting a baby will find a way even though illegal.

Lots of those same women are concerned that one horrific decision to abort could lead to another horrific death of the mother who will try to do it herself, or use the famous backroom alley black market abortionists who will rise up again.

The issue is very complex and cannot effectively be contained in the simple word - prolife or prochoice.

12:20 PM  
Blogger murphy said...

anon 12:20,

The fact that there are nuances to pro-life or pro-choice positions does not make the generalized terms themselves useless. I fear that self-agonizing over the corner-cases you listed helps frame the argument for moral relativism..."there is no right or wrong".

Pro-lifers value a child's life over a mother's convenience. Pro-choicers have it the other way around. They may have all the well intentions in the world, but that doesn't make them any less wrong.

1:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's call pro choice what it is: Pro abortion...

Not too many want to hear that one.

I'm pro life and pro choice: but I believe women have the right to choose before they get pregnant or where they will place the baby after they are pregnant. Not pro abortion!

2:48 PM  
Blogger murphy said...

Good point 2:48.

The "pro-choice" moniker is so ingrained in this debate that nobody talks about where the choices actually exist.

People know where babies come from. People know that birth control methods are not 100%. With very few exceptions, people choose the actions that lead to pregnancy. And they are free to choose adoption or parenting afterwards.

That's another thing not many people want to hear..."responsibility for your choices".

3:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and yet we have that rape and incest thing that prevents choice on the part of the female. how do we accommodate that in the continuum that only considers the choice the female made with respect to consensual sex?

A female could become fertile as early as 9 years old. What happens if she gets pregnant due to a rape or incest? It's dangerous for a child of that age to carry a child to term. Is her life in danger? Who's life trumps the other'?

How do we handle that? I'm being serious. That's the question they present o us and to the public. What do we say?

Everyone is on board with the inconvenient pregnancy that comes from free choice to engage. But, how do we handle the health and welfare of the 9 year old that gets raped by her father? It really happens from time to time.

What's the prolife response to that?

I'm prolife. I'm asking to help with the conversation, or "chat", that Hillary wants to have. I want to be part of the national "chat" on that.

7:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Caucus Cooler -

Good post. Just curious...why don't you like the term "values voter". Do you have an alternative term that better fits the type of person "values voter" is trying to describe?

10:03 PM  
Blogger Peter said...

I saw Brownback speak today in D.C. from way in the back of the crowd. He was just incerdible I could have sworn the cheers generated a few readings on the richter scale.

On the life question, the bottom line is let's help, not hurt each other. Life is a gift and we should strive to protect it.

10:43 PM  
Blogger murphy said...


I know you're being serious, and you have a very good point, but it's a 5% corner case. Every time the abortion debate comes up, pro-abortionists (and I'm not implying that you are one) use the 5% corner case to justify abortions of convenience for everyone.

Conversations on the rape/incest/mother's life clauses are helpful, so long as they don't become proxy conversations for something else entirely.

I'd be happy to go one step at a time and see abortions of convenience outlawed first, save the debate for the corner cases for later. Public opinion is actually on our side there.

11:41 PM  
Blogger Caucus Cooler said...

To us, values voter implies that people that aren't pro-life and anti-gay marriage don't have values.

Wouldn't a peacenik, environmentalist also be a "values voter," since those are their values?


7:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with you. But, the fact remains, those 5% situations really occur. We never tell them what we'd do about those 5% situations. That's how they bag us in the media.

We need a response for those 5% situations.

People who use abortion as a convenient afterthought are a different story. That is pure evil.

2:27 PM  
Blogger murphy said...

anon 2:27,

A lot of politicians are sure to put the following clause behind their pro-life position:

"...with the exception of rape, incest, and the life of the mother..."

Maybe more of them need to point that out. Either way, you're right, we've been getting bagged for a position that most people actually support.

3:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mitt Romney -- what a shameless pandering scuz.

8:47 PM  
Blogger murphy said...

anon 8:47, what a dazzling example of how we can hurt the pro-life movement by not welcoming politicians to our ranks.

12:20 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Murphy:A lot of politicians are sure to put the following clause behind their pro-life position:

"...with the exception of rape, incest, and the life of the mother..."

Maybe more of them need to point that out. Either way, you're right, we've been getting bagged for a position that most people actually support.

Actually, that position is considered moderate. Not very many politicians trying to appeal to their right wing base will include it . . . I've been the rounds with this in the comment section at Krusty's. I'm obviously the devil because I support the clause . . .

9:49 PM  
Blogger murphy said...

Kristine, in case you're still checking here...are you serious? That would be news to me. Hooray for learning something new today.

If it's as you say, republicans should wise up. That clause represents 5% of abortions, and anyone would be a fool for allowing a demand for a 100% ban to result in a 0% ban. A 95% ban should be 95% good enough.

2:35 PM  

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