A Pro-Choice GOP?

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I keep seeing a pretty horrendous argument against the GOP nominating Rudy Giuliani for the 2008 presidentyial spot. According to this argument, if the Republican Party selects him then it no longer is the pro-life party, and that would be a tragedy. I agree that it would be unfortunate if there were no pro-life party in this country. But I think it's pretty outlandish to claim that a Giuliani nomination would make the GOP no longer pro-life.

One problem with this argument is that it needs to be applied equally to all pro-choice candidates. Thus those who are making it should also be saying it about Fred Thompson, who is pro-choice for the first trimester, when most abortions take place. Are these people saying that nominating Thompson would make the GOP pro-choice? Maybe some are, but I'm not seeing that point made when I see it made about Giuliani.

Second, I am not willing to concede that the GOP ceases to be a pro-life party just because it concludes that the best way to achieve its other goals is to nominate a presidential candidate who is pro-choice. The Democratic party didn't stop being the pro-choice party when the Democrats in the U.S. Senate elected a pro-life senator as their majority leader. The GOP didn't stop being tough on immigration when they reelected a president known to be in favor of the very immigration reform that the party base has been outraged about. It may be a sign that many consider other issues more immediately important right now, and it may be a sign that some consider electing him better than guaranteeing a win by Hillary (even for pro-life reasons, since he would be better, even much better, than any Democratic candidate when it comes to pro-life issues). But it is not a sign that the party is no longer pro-life.

For the record, I don't support nominating him. But it's not because I think nominating him would make the GOP pro-choice. It wouldn't. It's because there are candidates I prefer to him, who I think would represent the pro-life party better than he would, partly because they are pro-life and are thus like what the party tends to be (and would still be even if he gets nominated). It's just crazy to suggest that a party with an official view no longer has that view simply because one of its nominees in one year (or perhaps two years) doesn't hold that view.

http://theologica.blogspot.com/2007/07/two-pro-choice-parties.html

2 Comments

I am not a Guliani supporter either but I agree with your premise here. I would add that the abortion issue has been decided in the courts. Although it is important how a President Guliani would come down on pro-life legislation, it is more important for the abortion issue what type of judges he would appoint. And he has already come down on the strict constructionist side. When you put Guliani against Hillary or Obama, the choice will be clear for anyone who has the capacity to think into the issue even a little way. Staying at home will not be an option. You would have to vote Guliani.

Not all abortion issues have been decided in the courts, though. Congress recently passed a law that the Supreme Court upheld, and Justice O'Connor's last opinion indicated that a law that formerly could have been overturned as unconstitutional might instead be sent back to a lower court judge to get the legislature to modify to make it fit with Supreme Court precedent. That allows for more legislative room. There is also the issue of federal funding (on which Giuliani's a federalist), which comes from Congress and the president. There are smaller things than just Roe v. Wade that a president can influence that have to do with abortion, besides just appointing judges.

In case you haven't read my earlier posts on this subject, they are:

1. James Dobson's Betrayal
2. Dobson's Pragmatism on Abortion?
3. Moderate Deontology: Voting for Giuliani
4. Evangelicals and Fred Thompson

Some of these issues are discussed at length in those posts and their comment threads.

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