Abortion, Overturning Roe v. Wade, and Politics

Somehow I got signed up on a Newsweek subscribers-only mailing list even though I’ve never subscribed to Newsweek. (If someone subscribed to it for me, I’ve never gotten an issue!) Anyway, two significant articles contain the same point: Republicans are nervous about too large a victory on abortion restrictions. First, there’s Mississippi’s plan to outlaw abortion “except in cases of rape, incest or a life-threatening condition for the mother.” Whoa, hold on there, say the pro-life groups, like Pro-Life Mississippi. “‘At this point, it’s a little bit of a runaway train,’ says Terri Herring, president of Pro-Life Mississippi, who fears that the ban could backfireóand lead to a reaffirmation of Roe v. Wade.” Perhaps a valid fear. I’ve never been against incremental restrictions, because that’s simply the way politics works. On the other hand, if states like South Dakota and Mississippi can get laws passed, let’s do it and see how far we can go. If we’ve argued for years that most of America is pro-life to some degree or another, what are we afraid of?

The other article [note: one or both of the articles may require a subscription like I don’t have] is specifically on the GOP and their concern, or at least lack of outright support, for the South Dakota law. The author of the article closes with

After the Democrats enforced pro-choice orthodoxy at their 1984 convention in San Francisco, they were branded as “San Francisco Democrats,” code for culturally out of step with the mainstream. Republicans may not want to be called “South Dakota Republicans.”

Probably not. How should this issue, which I do not view as political although it has political implications, be decided? The temptation exists to call such politicians cowards and turncoats. Is their concern totally political, or does some vestige of morality still exist? How cynical shall we be about politicians who, by vote or party at least, support the issues we support?

I don’t know. But a victory is a victory, and I’m not afraid to claim it. (Of course, I’m not running for office either.)

Timotheos

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13 thoughts on “Abortion, Overturning Roe v. Wade, and Politics

  1. “How cynical shall we be about politicians who, by vote or party at least, support the issues we support?”

    In Lily Tomplin’s words, “No matter how cynical I get it’s hard to keep up.”

  2. The problem of abortion is a matter of cultural hearts and minds, not of legality.

    The efforts to fight abortion in the courts is aiming at the wrong target. The courts are one of the targets to focus on, but without the appropriate moral compass (hearts and minds of the populace) the laws governing abortion on demand will not change.

  3. Lawrence,

    I agree with you, but in a democracy, law is ALSO a matter of parliaments and courts. So you will always need to get there, sooner or later.
    But I agree with you to say that this issue is much, much wider than politics, either in Ameriac or in Europe. BTW, a report from the French National Assembly has refused gay marriage. We’re saved. Until next time.

  4. “The problem of abortion is a matter of cultural hearts and minds, not of legality.”

    This is not an either/or situation. We want change in people’s hearts so that they won’t go to hell, but what about coercive, legislative change so that the helpless in our society are protected?

    Who says the Church can’t aim at changing people’s hearts, while the government (which also exists as part of God’s rule in this world, remember) aims at changing people’s behavior by legislation?

    Tim

  5. Tim,

    Because the government in a democracy is the people.

    On one hand the law may dictate what people “can” or cannot do, but the moral compass of the people dictate what they “will” do.

    We do not have to change the law to make abortion unacceptable. Changing the law only makes abortion harder to get. It does not eliminate the practice.

    Since the 1970s when Abortion on demand became legal, the “rate” of abortions has gone down. This is due, primarily, to the churches teaching that abortion is/can be a bad thing. And women learning and teaching other women that abortion is also a dangerous thing.

    And now, even if we make abortion illegal, (which I believe we should, given the chance) it will not automatically halt all abortions. It will have an immediate impact, but in the long term the rate will again stablize to a new average. And then, we are back to focusing on the hearts and minds of the people to deal with the real problem.

    >>>
    Again, I’m all for making abortion illegal. But this must be a secondary effort to the “True” objective of teaching the appropriate message of redemption to the general populace.

  6. Of course the law doesn’t eliminate certain practices. That’s why we have police, courts, and judges. Part of the government’s job is to curtail those harmful practices that conflict with the “law written on our hearts.” One of those things, the principle of which has been denied in very few places and times, is that humans should not eliminate their offspring. Even where such a practice exists (e.g., China), they do not call for the elimination of all offspring.

    I’m not sure it does any good to talk about a “real” problem. There are two problems: a behavior problem and a heart problem. They are, of course, connected in the darkness of sinful man, but unless and until every person is a Christian, steps need to be taken to check that sinful impulse. This is not something that only Christians oppose. It is not a “religious” issue. It is an issue of Natural Law, morality, and virtue.

    The government has the right, rather the responsibility, to enforce what is good for the people. And abortion is manifestly not good for the people.

    Tim

  7. “but unless and until every person is a Christian, steps need to be taken to check that sinful impulse”

    Maybe it’s me, but I do not think that sinful impulses would cease, even if everybody became a Christian. It was more or less the Puritanical view of society, but experience proves it does not work.

  8. “The problem of abortion is a matter of cultural hearts and minds, not of legality.”

    That makes as much sense as “The problem of bank robbery is a matter of cultural hearts and minds, not of legality.”

    It’s actually a “First Use of the Law” thing.

  9. True Carl. But in the context of sin, both your statement and mine remain true.

    Going against God’s divine plan is sin. The fact that some sin is legal and other sin is not legal with regard to civil-law is irrelevant in context of God’s-law.

    Most people do not follow the civil laws because the law is the law, even among the secular populace. What they really follow is their moral compass, as directed by society, family and religious tennets.

    So the proper target to focus on when dealing with the aboriton problem is the thing that drives our moral compass. Teaching people why they need to view abortion as a problem and as sinful has the real impact. Changing the civil-law just doesn’t change this part of the personal decision process.

    Now I’m all for changing the law, but again, the civil law can/will only change after the heards and minds of the majority populace decide and dictate that this change must happen.

    We just do not have a consolidated majority Christian position on this right now. We should, but we don’t, and that is the sad truth if it.

  10. Jean-Martin is correct, the sinful impulse would not cease even if everyone were a Christian. What that means is that law and order cannot cease.

    Tim

  11. “Most people do not follow the civil laws because the law is the law, even among the secular populace. What they really follow is their moral compass, as directed by society, family and religious tennets.”

    Many, perhaps, but I don’t know about “most”. In any case, there are laws that are needed whether people follow their “moral compass” or not.

  12. Well, I certainly agree that civil laws are necessary. Now if we could just get this abortion thing straightened out,..

    In my neck-of-the-woods it is truly “most” people. Mostly based on a questionable moral compass, however.

    Sort of like being right on accident, rather than being right on purpose. Kind of like a broken clock is right twice a day.

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