Saturday, May 12, 2007

Giuliani, Abortion and the Soul of the Republican Party

Rudy Giuliani made a bold statement this week. He basically said , "Yes, I am pro-choice. Deal with it...if it is a deal breaker with you, so be it.". Kudos to him for his honesty.

The question now becomes, should it be a deal breaker? First a little history.

The Republican party was formed in 1854, almost exclusively because of the issue of slavery. The Whig Party and the Democratic Party had split into northern and southern factions over the issue of slavery. The northern branches of these parties joined together and a new party was formed. Thus from the very beginning, the soul of the Republican Party has been about freedom, dignity and the value of human life.

The issue of abortion is directly comparable. Those in favor of slavery argued that Blacks were not fully human; those in favor of abortion argue that the baby (or fetus if you prefer) is not fully human. Slavery advocates argued that the Constitution protected their right to own slaves (specifically the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment...and remember at one time the U.S. Supreme Court agreed with them); abortion advocates also rely on the Constitution to protect them (though in this case it is vested in the entirely invented penumbra of privacy). The two worst decisions the Supreme Court have ever handed down (followed quickly by the recent Kelo case) were attempts to protect these two institutions: slavery and the Dred Scott decision;
abortion and Roe v Wade.

Abortion politics comes down to a very basic issue. Is the baby (fetus) human? If it isn't (and honestly I don't see how you can logically make this arguement, but millions try) then abortion is just what abortion advocates say, a simple medical procedure. If the baby (fetus) is human, then the abortion industry is a human tragedy every bit as terrible as slavery and genocide. People see Giuliani's position as the moderate one. I don't. To me, the moderate position is to return to the pre-Roe status quo and allow the States to decide. The Republican Party currently supports letting the States decide. I personally would support an amendment to the Constitution that outlawed abortion except to save the life of the mother.

So yes, Rudy, it's a deal breaker for me. I can never vote for you for president. I hope it never comes to that, because I doubt I will be able to vote for the Democrat either, so I will have to throw my vote away on a write-in vote. I'd support you for U.N. ambassador in a second though.

I don't think Giuliani should be kicked out of the party. I do believe in a big tent. However, in order to remain true to the soul of the party, to the values of human life and human dignity, the Party must reject the pro-choice position.


Ed said...

So now what? I am just one of many who just don't agree with you. In any way. We find your arguments flawed and illogical, as you find ours. Where do we go from here? If your slavery annalogy is carried on this all leads to a civil war...and in some ways there is one. Is this what it has come to?

Gahrie said...

Unfortunately, perhaps.

What is the fetus if not human? And if it is human, why doesn't it have the same rights we do? If it's not human, what makes it a sub-human? Are there other types of sub-humans?

Stephen Rider said...

"Abortion politics comes down to a very basic issue. Is the baby (fetus) human?"

First off, I an pro-life, for the same reasons you are. However, the question you pose needs a subtle but significant change:

"Is the fetus a human person?"

Bear with me a moment. If I cut off a finger, and it's lying there on the table (while I, y'know... scream and clutch the stump...) -- that is human. It certainly isn't from some other animal. It's a human finger. What it is NOT is a human person.

That does make your (and my) question a little less obvious: The fetus is clearly human -- nobody is arguing that point.

The question is is it a person?

Stephen Rider said...


A couple points -- the Civil War did not start over the issue of slavery. In fact, Lincoln was at first perfectly willing to allow the southern states to keep slaves if it kept the Union together. The War started (in part) because the south was rebelling against the increasing amount of federal control over the states.

With the amount of resentment against the federal government's overbearing meddling in people's affairs in today's society, we just may be headed for another rebellion against the federal government -- a second civil war.

The answer to you question is YES, this country very well might come to blows with itself -- for any number of reasons.

Beyond that, legal scholars pretty widely agree that Roe v. Wade is bad law -- even the pro-choice ones. That is, not all disagree with the end result, but the method. That decision was legislation from the bench -- a judges found something in the Constitution that wasn't really there, but they _wanted_.

Think about it: the decision basically takes the Constitutional protection from "unreasonable search" and warps it into a prohibition against the government "searching" a woman's body.

But "search" is beside the point. It would be like me stabbing my roommate and stuffing the body in the closet, and then arguing that the murder should be legal because the government doesn't have the right to search my closet.

There are lots of ways abortion could have been legalized, but that massive a twisting of legal concepts was a poor way to do it.

At best it should be left up to the states. There is nothing in the Constitution that prohibits banning abortion.