If the last 35 years have proven nothing else, they have at least shown that, in the American political arena, the pro-life movement is the cheapest date in town.
The system works something like this. Along about election time, we can always expect a call from the nation's political hacks - mostly Republicans. They don't really like being seen in public with us, but if they want to get elected they don't have a choice. So they kiss us on the ear and whisper how much they love us. But, they promise nothing and we demand nothing because we know our place. So once our election-cycle dream date is over, we go back and dutifully wait by the phone until they want us again. And as this pathetic act is repeated every couple of years, the killing continues.
I think the time has come for the pro-life movement to set some new ground rules. We can start by making it clear that the days are over when politicians can finesse the abortion issue by giving us their philosophical position. Our new instruction to these people should be that we have no interest in what they “feel” or “think” or “believe” about abortion. None. All we want to know is (a) do they believe that an unborn child is a “person” from the moment of fertilization and, thus, entitled to have his or her life protected by the Constitution and (b) if so, what is their plan to return legal protection to every one of these children?”
That’s it! That’s all we want to hear. Anyone who answers the first question with anything other than an unapologetic and unqualified “Yes” is not pro-life. As for the second question, we instantly dismiss any response that mentions “reducing the need for abortion” or “lowering the unwanted pregnancy rate” or “creating a culture of life,” etcetera. We bought that sort of mealy-mouthed political gibberish in the past, but no more.
If you think I am off base for saying that a politician's “position” on abortion is meaningless, consider this. If you went into a state penitentiary and interviewed every serial rapists incarcerated there, you would find that a significant number would tell you that rape is wrong and that they understood so when they did it. We also know that a certain percentage of these same people would rape again if released. So obviously, what they “believe” about rape does not affect their actions and, in the end, that’s all that matters to the victims.
That same dynamic applies here. What politicians “believe” about abortion doesn't help the unborn until it becomes action. Look at it this way, if the economy was in the tank, we would not allow a politician to simply tell us that he “believes” in a sound economy. We'd demand to know what his plan is for fixing it. It’s time we insisted on at least that much for the unborn.
The next thing we need to do is inform these politicians that we are going to be single issue voters. Simply put, when a candidate is wrong on the slaughter of helpless children, his or her position on other issues is irrelevant. For too long, the pro-life movement has bought the lie that we should not have litmus tests. That is nonsense. There are many perfectly legitimate litmus tests and anyone who claims not to have any is either lying or is devoid of personal convictions.
Think about it. A politician could be attractive, intelligent, experienced and have all the right answers to the important issues of the day, but if he was found to be a member of the Ku Klux Klan, that would certainly be a litmus test. If it were discovered that a fully qualified politician had written a law review article saying women should not be allowed to vote, that too would be a litmus test. You can also bet that if a politician said that the terrorists who flew airplanes into the World Trade Center had legitimate reasons for doing so, his or her position on other issues would be irrelevant. Actually, if you really want to understand about litmus tests and single-issue voting, imagine that a politician admitted that his primary reason for seeking office was to raise taxes on every voter? Do you honestly think this person could be “right enough” on every other issue to make up for that?
The point is, if we are serious about protecting the unborn, this is the standard we must start demanding for the politicians we support. And that is true even when the political office being sought is unrelated to abortion. If we truly believe that abortion is the intentional execution of helpless children, we must also acknowledge that any politician who is pro-choice is not morally qualified to be dogcatcher.