The silly season is almost upon us, and we have a growing pack of Republicans who’ll be running against President Obama, who is the sole candidate on the Democrat side. We can expect that the question of abortion will come up. It’s an important question, but there are key follow-up questions that are never asked, and if they were, I suspect there would be some awkward silence.
I’m thankful that there will be some Republican candidates in the race who are staunchly pro-life, and who won’t equivocate in their answers. What’s sad is when a politician straddles the fence to try to appeal to a greater portion of voters. There are two specific answers I predict you will hear from some politicians when asked about their stance on abortion, and in both cases it will tell you that they haven’t really thought through their position because they don’t understand the heart of the issue.
The Modified Pro-Choice Position
One escape hatch is the modified pro-choice position. This is popular among politicians, because it makes them sound like they’re personally pro-life, but yet it keeps them firmly in the pro-choice camp. This tactic is more likely to be used by a Democrat who wants to appeal to a wider range of voters. They will say something like: “Well, I’m personally against abortion, but I still believe in a woman’s right to choose.” I’d love to hear someone challenge a candidate when they take this stance. The follow-up question that needs to be asked is:
“Why is it that you’re personally against abortion?”
This would probably take him or her by surprise. What can they say? The only real answer if you keep their feet to the fire is going to be something like “It’s killing the baby”. The next obvious question to ask is this:
“So you personally think it’s wrong to have an abortion because it’s killing a baby, but you think it’s okay if others do that?”
What about Rape or Incest?
Another answer that you’ll hear politicians give is that abortion should only be allowed in cases of rape or incest. This is often used by a Republican who wants to appear socially conservative, but does not want to appear extreme in his or her views. Again, there are a few follow up questions that need to be asked to get to the heart of the issue. I would like to hear someone follow up with:
“Why is it that you think abortion is okay in the case of rape or incest?”
The answer will probably be something about how the woman has had a traumatic experience that shouldn’t be dragged out, and possibly even that the baby would be a constant reminder of all that she had been through. The next question to ask:
“What if the woman actually had the baby, and afterward decided it was too painful? Could she kill her baby then?”
This brings the question back to the crux of the issue. Taking a valuable human life, whether born or unborn, is wrong, even if the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest.
As far as our President, we already have a clear position from him by his actions. We know he is radically pro-choice to the point of voting against a bill in the Illinois state senate that would have prevented partial birth abortions, and leading the fight to defeat a bill three years in a row that would have granted protection to an aborted fetus that showed signs of life. Still, I would love to hear how he would answer the question if ever asked of him. The media, though, has tended to give him a pass on the hard questions.
This is going to be a fun race to watch. For more ideas on questions you can ask to get a pro-choice advocate thinking, see my post and video called An Animated Discussion about Abortion.