Thursday, September 8, 2011

Vote Republican or the baby gets it!

I've been dismayed to read some of the reactions to last night's debate, especially when those reactions come from my fellow Catholics. To be fair, I've seen the particular reaction I'm talking about here more in comment boxes than upheld by any particular Catholic blogger--but the reaction is there. It is usually expressed as follows: Sure, Republican Candidate X has some serious problems from a Catholic perspective. But we have to vote for Republican Candidate X anyway, should he become the nominee. Not voting for Republican Candidate X is exactly the same thing as voting for President Obama, and if Obama is reelected more unborn babies will die. So, failing to line up, hold our noses yet again, and vote for Republican Candidate X is like sitting idly by while babies get killed, or, better yet, like holding the vacuum suction tubes that are dismembering the helpless unborn infants ourselves.

Poppycock. Nonsense. Ridiculous.

Four of our last seven presidents have been Republicans. Supreme Court justices nominated by Republicans have upheld abortion law in multiple cases. Republicans controlled Congress from 1994 to 2000 and from 2002 to 2006; at present, they control the House while the Democrats have the Senate majority.

If electing a Republican to the White House were the only thing necessary to end the mind-blowing evil of abortion on demand in America, it should have ended a long, long time ago. And even if a Republican Congress were the necessity, abortion should have ended by now.

Those Republicans who have managed to make baby-steps of progress against the big business of killing unborn human beings for fun and profit have done so on the state and local level, often supported by grassroots efforts, the tirelessness of volunteers, and the hard work of average citizens. Whether they have, in increasing abortion regulation, saved as many unborn babies as people like this gentleman have is something only Our Father in Heaven knows.

None of this, of course, is a call to overlook the Democratic Party's huge moral blind spot on the issue of abortion. I have never voted for a Democrat, and while the party remains the party of "Let's Slaughter As Many (poor, minority) Unborn Babies As Possible and Make Taxpayers Pay For The Killings and Throw Parties About it All!" no Democrat will ever get my vote. But I reject thoroughly, as Mark Shea and many others do, the notion that not showing up to cast a vote for the Republican candidate, however repugnant his positions on many issues of concern to Catholics might be, is the moral equivalent of actually voting for the Democrat. If I do not vote for the candidate with an "R" next to his name and also do not vote for the candidate with a "D" next to his name, I have hurt them both equally--and while the denial of a single vote does them less hurt than a hungry mosquito at an outdoor campaign rally can do, there's still a hope that someday the stranglehold our present two parties have on the political realities of our nation might be broken, and that an increase of parties and of voices would actually promote our country's republican (small "r") ideals in a way that the two-party stranglehold does not and never can.

Not long ago I saw a humorous comment below a political news article, in which the commenter simply wrote: I am going to run for President on a platform that demands the abolition of our two-party system. I have a feeling that would be a much more popular platform than our elite ruling class would like to believe. It would, at any rate, spare Catholic voters from the four-year dilemma, when politicians who care nothing for our faith or our values except as pretty backdrops for photo-ops suddenly start acting like they really do care about ending abortion and would try to do something about it. If they are serious, they are quickly sidelined by the process; only polite blather with no real intent behind it will do.

So it's high time to end the guilt-trip game whose rallying cry is "Vote Republican, or the baby gets it!" We will end abortion when we no longer have a culture in which both men and women treat sex as a recreational pastime which, depending on the person, is either a little less or a little more pleasurable than eating expensive chocolate or test-driving a sports car you can't afford. We will end abortion when we no longer have a culture in which isolated atomic individuals think of pregnancy as a disease, babies as a burden (or a punishment), and abortion as a convenient way to shred your offspring and discard his or her tattered body as medical waste before he or she can show you that he or she loves you--because love, of course, is meaningless when it doesn't involve sex, chocolate, or sports cars, and who wants to be burdened with children anyway when it's so much more satisfyingly self-centered to be alone? We will end abortion when we start valuing human life and seeing in it something transcendent and real instead of believing in nothing and considering humans to be carbon-based organic sentients who live, collect lots of experiences, most of them painful, and then pass into oblivion to be unmourned and unremembered.

And we might end legalized abortion on demand for all nine months of pregnancy if we had the courage to elect leaders who share our values, our vision, our passion. But when the best lack all conviction and the worst are full of passionate intensity, how does electing either help the unborn?


StevenD said...

"Vote Republican or the baby gets it! "

Wow, you sure are tough on unborn children. You don't show this kind of cynicism when it comes to death row murderers.

SAF said...

Excellent, Erin.

Liz said...

AMEN! I am so sick and tired of being taken for granted by a Republican party which is far more interested in catering to corporate interests than in the lives of unborn or already born children. I've voted Republican for years now, and have been disappointed time after time because they couldn't ever seem to really do something about abortion. Rick Santorum was one of the biggest disappointments of all, and his betrayal of a pro-life candidate is one reason I will never vote for him for president. I could vote for Ron Paul because I happen to believe he's a principled guy. The rest of them strike me either as incompetent or as the same old candidate in a new suit. It's time to end this two party charade. I suspect there are a lot of liberal Democrats who'd say the same thing because Obama has certainly not lived up to their expectations either. Both parties are so in debt to corporate interests that they can't really make the kinds of dramatic changes that are really needed. Otherwise why would a Democratic president put people from Monsanto in top positions in the Dept. of Ag. or allow the FDA to raid small farming operations while merely blinking over food borne disease in large ones? Why are we still spending a bizillion dollars on a war that Democrats opposed?

MightyMighty said...

Erin, are you going to vote for someone who is as close to possible as what you want in a candidate? I'm just wondering how one does make a decision, since I've always used the abortion issue as the defining issue. I won't vote for a pro-abort, no matter what. But I will vote for a pro-lifer who has other views I dislike.

Elizabeth said...

Liz, I'm with you.

I'm a lifelong Democrat who only votes for the party now because they might be the kinder, gentle corporate overlord - because I think they won't cut social support programs that allow women to choose to have their babies.

Let's start an American version of the British Cooperative Party. Our economic platform will be to encourage the formation of consumer, producer and worker cooperatives. The co-op movement has the most in common with Catholic social/economic teaching of any system. We'll focus on a return to locally controlled economies. (Learn about the difference a co-op-friendly government makes in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy.)

Our social policy will include considerable support for women who have been abandoned by the men who impregnate them, to get them the cooperative employment they need to build a dignified life or to give them all the support they require during pregnancy to encourage them to place the babies for adoption. (Until the SCOTUS "un-names" abortion as a constitutional right, we'll have to focus on education and support.)

We can argue over details later.


Joseph D'Hippolito said...

Erin, your post is why I firmly believe that the ultimate solution to abortion is not and never will be legislative, judicial or political. That's because, in the final analysis, abortion is a fundamentally an individual moral question; it only metastacized into a social issue because of the huge numbers of individuals seeking abortions.

This is a lot different than slavery, because slaves were considered pivotal to antebellum agriculture in the South; nobody can make the claim that abortion is pivotal to the medical industry.

Besides, as far as voting for president goes, issues of foreign policy and economic policy matter far more. Why? Because presidents and Congresses have far more control over those issues than they do over abortion. If the past 30 years didn't bear that out, then nothing does.

If you as a Catholic, Erin, want people in authority to do something about abortion, I suggest you tell the bishops to get off their carbohydrate-retentive, biological seat-cushions and do something more than issue fancy rhetoric.

Anonymous said...

I believe most pro-lifers instinctively know that abortion cannot ultimately be defeated by legal/constitutional means, but it is one thing to suggest more emphasis on the hearts-and-minds approach and quite another to advocate complete capitulation and abandonment of the legal/politcal route. Put it this way, I doubt anyone I normally read would vote for a KKK member even if he were only running for town dog-catcher. That should be the same attitude we take with advocates for the killing of innocent human beings who just happen to be in a womb. There is little point in looking at how well he stands on other isuues because a consequentialist is a consequentialist, and they are like a roulette wheel: round and round she goes, when she'll throw your issue under a bus for convenience, nobody knows.

Red Cardigan said...

Romish, I do agree with that, but where are the pro-life candidates, anyway?

Most Republicans parrot the line "No abortions except in cases of rape or incest or where the life of the mother is at risk." So...some abortions are okay, apparently. Many Republicans also support ESCR, and if there exists a Republican who stands against government funded contraception (some of which is abortifacient, like the Pill) I've never yet heard of him or her.

This is where GOP voters usually cry "Sure, our guys aren't perfect on abortion, but they're a lot better than the other guys!" Which is true, of course, but hardly a ringing endorsement or a mandate to vote for the GOP candidates.

Anonymous said...

As far as I can tell Red, we are on exactly the same page. I was doing quite the eyeroll when I went to and saw the article titled: "Santorum: Catholic Hero." and thought, o boy, strap youselves in; we're going for a ride.

Chris-2-4 said...

Wait... So, Rick Santorum isn't pure enough for you either? Seriously? Rick Santorum?

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

Chris 2-4, there's something fundamentally narcissistic about dismissing the better (whoever or however that's defined) because it's not the best, especially when it comes to making real-life political decisions.

Elizabeth said...

Why exactly are Republicans better than Dems on the non-abortion issues? Erin named the decades they have been in control of the federal government. Look where we're at.

Bush cut taxes again and again. Is it never enough? Will we never have purity until all taxes are obliterated? Then we can blame the gummit for not doing anything because we don't fund it! Brilliant.

My state of MN used to be one of the top states in the union on nearly every quality of life measure. After 8 years of Tim "no action of any kind" Pawlenty, we are slipping.

Sometime you should do a post on how, exactly, the last decades of mostly-Republican rule have made this country so swell to live in now. Middle class disappearing, the jobs went oversees thanks to Reagan's policies, made worse by NAFTA, a bipartisan stupidity - but by the 90s so-called moderate dems were really just socially liberal repubs.

Please explain.


PS. If the Pill is abortifacient, why isn't it being used as one at abortion clinics? That is an old myth that has no basis in medical fact. If anything, the pill should strengthen a pregnancy.

Red Cardigan said...

Elizabeth, I'm afraid I'll be away from the blog for a bit, but I wanted to address your last comment. The Pill (even today's pill) works three ways: prevent ovum from releasing eggs, prevent cervical mucus from assisting in conception, and prevent the uterine lining from accepting a fertilized ovum (e.g., a pre-implantation embryo). Since I believe that each individual human being's life begins at conception, that third mechanism of the pill causes very early abortions, not unlike the early natural miscarriages that can occur for many reasons. Unlike a natural miscarriage, though, the pill creates a hostile womb environment for the developing embryo such that implantation can't take place.

Scientists have estimated that the Pill "prevents pregnancy" via implantation rejection about once every twelve times it is used--or about once a year. That is just a rough estimate, however; individual women's "implantation rejection" rates will vary widely and depend on her overall fertility, etc.

JD Parker said...

i mean, if abortion is your overarching issue then i see no real reason to not vote Republican, besides the misguided "they haven't done enough" mentality in this post that seems to imagine them as benign dictators who could've gotten everything fixed if only they had the will. this logic reminds me of all the liberals who claim Obama's right-wing because political realities have prevented him from pushing through every single campaign promise he made. other than appointing justices who will repeal Roe, pushing a Human Life Amendment that's DOA and cutting off public funding, what else can Republicans do on the federal level? nothing so long as it's encoded as a constitutional right. i'd also add that considering the 1973 decision was not even close, that it came within one vote of being repealed in the early '90s and that we currently have four anti-Roe justices i'd say there's been substantial progress in conservatives' direction. of course we can complain about Anthony Kennedy but he changed his mind about the issue when he was already on the court, so that's not an appointment you can really blame Republicans too much for unless you think they should have mind-reading powers.

basically what it comes down to is that there's absolutely no way to change abortion in the legal realm without repealing Roe and right now Republicans are the only vehicle for doing so. based on Bush-era Supreme Court appointments they have not abandoned the issue. so yeah, deciding not to vote Republican, regardless of how much you hate some of their other policies, is pretty much giving up on the pro-life cause in any meaningful legal sense in my view.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

No politician ever will or can equal what Doc Hite did to prevent abortions. As everyone knows, I firmly support Roe v. Wade. I also support the free speech rights of anyone who is pro-life to reach out to any woman who will listen and offer her alternatives.

If naming a few new Supreme Court justices could swing the law of the land 180 degrees, then something is very wrong with our judiciarcy. It is, after all, a constitution they expound. It is the fundamental law, the document that grants the government permission to exist, that defines what the powers of each branch and level are. It was deliberately designed NOT to swing with each shift in congressional majorities or even popular majorities.

It is true that economic and foreign policy issues matter much more in deciding who to vote for -- and while the Democrats are woefully deficient, Republicans are downright scary.

JD Parker said...

"a few new justices" -- we're talking a 9-person court with lifetime appointees. it's not as if it just suddenly shifts in one direction. it's been almost 40 years and there's only a 2 vote shift toward solid conservatism.

the whole point of this argument is that Roe was a BS decision not part of the "fundamental law" you're talking about. if you wanna do the "privately i think this but i never want the government/by extension society at large to reflect my views" then whatever, but that's irrelevant.

Anonymous said...

Ya know, Catholics are always being accused of being single-issue voters (when the usual suspects aren't accusing traditional-minded Catholics of being GOP shills.) And regarding Santorum, the complaint seems to be that we aren't being single-issue enough! Egads. Even Arlen Specter would be appalled! :)

Siarlys Jenkins said...

JD Parker, you are very free with casual characterizations like "BS," but very short on substance. I'm not a lawyer, but I have read the full opinion in Roe several times. I know what it says, I know what precedents it was firmly based on. What basis do YOU have for saying it is NOT based on "fundamental law," aside from the fact that evidently want the expoundment of the constitution to reflect your personal views???

Barbara C. said...

And Elizabeth, my understanding is that the "morning after" pills are extra-strength birth control pills with the primary intent of delaying ovulation to prevent pregnancy or preventing an already conceived embryo from being able to implant. I've heard that before the "morning after" pill was created, doctors would actually prescribe their patient to take multiple doses of the regular pill in one day for the same effect. So, the pill has been intentionally used for abortion purposes.

StevenD said...

Sialrys Jenkins,

I read some of posts from your blog. Your a real piece of work. A true marxist commie.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

StevenD, you are very free with the labels, but like many of your ilk (I am NOT referring to our gracious hostess), you are short on substance. Please list three titles, and then provide a one or two sentence summary as to how they show "marxist" or "communist" political orientation. If possible, keep your selection relevant to the original post Erin has invited us to comment on.

JD Parker said...

i don't get the whole "personal views" accusation as if one side in this is neutral and the other isn't. granted pro-aborts aren't arguing for compulsory abortion or anything insane like that but obviously if abortion is allowed -- on a much more open-ended basis than several European countries thanks to Roe i might add -- it's gonna be that much more difficult to convince people it's not OK.

and yeah, i'd like the government to reflect my views provided i think they're in the interest of the broader society. i'd think everyone with an opinion on anything does, even if they wanna pretend they're advocating a neutral position. and so far as i know the Roe v. Wade decision was based on obvious stretching of constitutional privacy in a situation that clearly involves a person's actions affecting more than herself. so yeah, in my mind it's BS.

Anonymous said...

granted pro-aborts aren't arguing for compulsory abortion or anything insane like that

No, they just pretend China doesn't do it. Not like the GOP pays much attention either. It's like a version of Dune--"the cheap goods must flow..."

JD Parker said...

i mean, i don't read any sinister motives into it like that. we could try and go on a moral crusade around the world when it came to every practice in other countries we found wrong and end up worse off than things were before. our own country is something else.

speaking on pro-life purism directed against Republicans, i thought Pawlenty gave a really good answer in the debate before he dropped out, saying that he'd sign an anti-abortion bill with exceptions if a more stringent one was unable to pass at the time. cliche but true, going for everything can get you nothing sometimes.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

Last I knew, the Plutocratic Republic of China is NOT subject to either the Bill of Rights or the laws of the State of Texas. So China is kind of irrelevant.

JD Parker... politics begins with me having my opinion, you having your opinion, and everyone else having their opinion. On that level, we are all equal. Certainly nobody can claims "my opinion is the real deal, yours is just your opinion."

Then we have to try to sort out, which of these opinions should be formulated into laws. At best, laws emerge when an overwhelming majority of people share some overlap in our personal opinions, supporting measures to suppress acting on contrary opinions.

In any form of government other than a totalitarian state, a relevant question is, what is a legitimate matter for legislation, and what should the state keep its nose out of, letting everyone have, and act upon, their own opinions?

In the late 18th century, a new idea emerged, that the powers of government should be defined, delegated, and restricted, by a constitution.

In an adversarial legal system, such as ours, people seeking to vindicate their opinions often go to court, and, when available, argue constitutional principles that appear to support their argument.

When things are working well, judges look at what the constitution really says, rather than at which party the judges might wish to favor. Still, one party wins the case, and the other party, often holding a grudge, loses.

The ultimate misapplied claim of constitutional right was probably during the demonstration by John Gotti's friends and neighbors outside a federal courthouse, when someone yelled "He has a constitutional right to be not guilty."

So, I have my opinions on when abortion is or is not an appropriate option to consider. I have my opinions as to when intervention by The State is beneficial. I have my opinions as to what the proper limits on the jurisdiction of the state might be.

Then, there are the limits written into a constitution, which is expounded by judges. There was a winning party in the case called Roe v Wade, there was a losing party. The winning party was glad that the court rendered a decision favorable to its opinion. The losing party was VERY sore.

But there is a constitution. It does have meaning. It is a priori the law of the land, whatever my opinion or yours. It really doesn't matter what bill Pawlenty is willing to sign. The power does not lie with him or congress, not in the first two trimesters.

Kimberly Margosein said...

OK, explain your reasoning. The third function of the birth control pill is the flushing of blastocysts-not embryos- that are a few days old. At this point, they are still an undifferentiated mass of cells. What is the SECULAR basis for saying this is a life in the normal sense? Is it drawing a line and erring on the side of caution? In this case, you are clearly being too cautious, and trending toward the every sperm is sacred logic.

JD Parker said...

again the whole basis of the post-Roe argument is that it was incorrectly decided without grounding in the Constitution and should be's not as though any given Supreme Court decision, no matter how much it (rightly or wrongly) develops into precedent, is some kind of permanent amendment that a future court can't contradict a previous one on. not sure what we're really arguing here

petrus said...

The Dems have very succesfully advanced the idea that they're "just as good" as the Repubs, but it seems to me that Simcha recounts a recent instance of evil this morning: ... besides all the other support from the w.h. that's come down to p.p. over the country. As much as I hate the idea of a "one issue" voter, some issues are essential, innocent life being one of them.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

JD, I don't know where the comment went, but I posted last night that a given Supreme Court decision IS a precedent. That is precisely what it is. The Supreme Court, and ONLY the Supreme Court, can overturn its own precedents, but they have to have a better reason than "Oh, that was then, this is now, we feel differently today." They have to examine the precedents relied upon in the earlier decision, give a reasoned decision on why and how those precedents were wrongly applied, ON THEIR OWN TERMS, or how intervening precedents have modified the previous application.

Yeah, "the whole basis of the post-Roe argument is that it was incorrectly decided." That is boilerplate for ANY argument against ANY Supreme Court decision, including those who objected to Brown v. Board of Education. As to how Roe was a sound conservative application of well established law, I'll see you and raise you, but not on Erin's dime. You can find it posted at

Red Cardigan said...

Siarlys, just checked--no comment in the spam or moderation folder. I don't know why people keep having this problem! It's frustrating, as I have no control over it.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

I'm sure its Blogger's software. If you were into censorship, it would have happened a lot more often.