Is the GOP a Mixed Choice Party?


It wouldn’t exactly have been a pro-choice
victory if Congresswoman Heather Wilson had won the GOP primary for
New Mexico’s open Senate
seat. In 2006, Wilson told hometown paper the Albuquerque Tribune, "I believe abortion is morally
wrong almost all of the time." She supports
the Hyde Amendment, which prevents low-income women from using Medicare
or Medicaid coverage to pay for abortions. And Wilson is in favor of
the Global Gag Rule, which prevents U.S. foreign aid from funding comprehensive
family planning efforts abroad.

Nevertheless, unlike her opponent, Rep.
Steven Pearce, Wilson opposed a Constitutional amendment banning abortion
and supports a woman’s right to choose in cases of rape, incest, or
when her own life is at risk. Last year Wilson stood up to President
George W. Bush’s ban on federally funded stem cell research, while
Pearce kept in lock step with the president, opposing the life-saving
research.

On June 3, Wilson lost to Pearce by 3,000
votes after socially conservative interest groups attacked her stances on reproductive health issues. Once again, the
Republican base cannibalized one of its own moderates. And Wilson isn’t
an isolated case. WISH List, a group that supports pro-choice Republican
women running for office, has only one non-incumbent on its federal-level
endorsement list for November: Lynn Jenkins, the current Kansas state
treasurer. Jenkins is running in a GOP Congressional primary against
the highly favored Jim Ryun, a hard-line anti-choicer who served five
terms in the House before being booted out of office by pro-choice Republican-turned-Democrat
Nancy Boyda in 2006. Among Boyda’s reasons for leaving the GOP? Its
increasingly hard right stance on social issues.

Compare the uphill battle facing
pro-choice Republicans to the recent mini-surge of mixed-choice and anti-choice Democrats.
Democrats for Life even has its own signature legislation, the 95-10
Initiative. No equivalent, comprehensive reproductive health bill has
been drafted by the dwindling group of Congressional pro-choice Republicans.
The organization Republican Majority
for Choice
won’t
even publish a list of the politicians it supports online — after all,
that would make it easier for better funded, anti-choice forces to target
its few allies.

That’s not to say there is
no safe haven for mixed-choice Republicans. New England continues to
be receptive to such folks; Maine’s Sen. Susan Collins is favored
for reelection, and the GOP candidate in the state’s fist Congressional
district is Charles Summers, an Iraq war veteran who describes himself
as pro-choice and has already defeated an anti-choice primary opponent.

Nationwide though, the GOP
continues to hitch its wagon to divisive, religiously-motivated, anti-choice
politics. In order to clinch his party’s presidential nomination,
John McCain embraced the fundamentalist evangelical and Catholic leaders
he once rejected, and changed his position on Roe v. Wade; McCain
now says the landmark pro-choice decision should be overturned, and
promises to appoint Supreme Court justices in the mold of Antonin Scalia
and Clarence Thomas.

If McCain can’t bring the
Christian right base out this November-and there’s every indication
those voters won’t show up at the polls in nearly the same numbers
as they did for Bush in 2000 and 2004-McCain’s bid will hinge on
his appeal to moderates. That will hurt the GOP, not just because poll
after poll shows Republican policies on the economy and the war are
out of line with the preferences of the American people, but also because
middle America is generally pro-choice. A new poll from NARAL Pro-Choice
America found that when swing voter women learn about McCain’s anti-choice
platform, 13 percent of them switch their preference to Barack Obama.

As NARAL political director
Elizabeth Shipp told me last
week
, "At the
end of the day, our issue — choice — is the one that cuts through,
frankly, all the other crap that happens in an election season. The
one issue where voters can make a clear and consistent choice very quickly
is on the issue of abortion."

The national Republican Party,
as well as the GOP electorate in most states, have already made their
choice, clearly signaling that politicians who support reproductive
rights aren’t welcome in their caucus. But in a time of recession
and war, it’s unlikely that so-called "family values" issues will
save the day for Republicans. 2008 may finally be the year when the
GOP learns the limits of fear-based campaigning against women’s rights.

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  • invalid-0

    Of course the Republicans want women to suffer through illegal abortions once more. The party is owned and operated by religious conservatives and has been for decades. They are a cruel bunch, and complete bad news for women and girls.

  • invalid-0

    Wow! They really take this to the limit, don’t they? Repubs like to think the Constitution is defunct after 911 but, they want a Constitutional AMENDMENT against abortion?

    Next, women will lose the right to vote as we are all gradually shepherded back to the dark ages in this country.

    I’m not too worried about Pearce. Udall will kick his butt straight out the state for him.

  • invalid-0

    On judgement day we will all have to answer the question, “My son/daughter… How did you protect the innocent?” What will be your answer? If you think that your voting record is not on file in The Book of Life, you need to start reading. One of the clearest points in the Bible is the Protection of Innocent Life – how much more innocent can you get than a helpless child? So, it should be no surprise to anyone that the issue of Abortion is ALWAYS going to be a determining factor in an election because you can’t be both Christian and Pro-Choice – the two are mutually exclusive and cannot share the same space. I think we all inherently know that we have a duty to protect human life – period. Christians obviously know that their actions are recorded and that they will be held accountable. And at least for now… We haven’t all abandoned God – we are still (I think) a Fundamentally Christian Country (I know people like you are trying to change this and muddy the waters but have not succeeded yet). You can try and separate Church and State but that will NEVER really happen and it wasn’t intended to be separate – READ OUR CONSTITUTION – is doesn’t say this… Our Founding Fathers primarily subscribed to Judeo-Christian morals. The “Separation of Church and State” comment by Jefferson in a letter to a small township in Massachusetts needs to be taken in context (Google the Letter) and was meant to mean that no Government can Dicatate that all citizens HAVE TO BE a certain religion to remain citizens, but make no mistake Jefferson never intended for us to Kill our Children under the guise of Democracy. Just don’t be surprised that when a nation abandons God that nation becomes an Obamanation! Give credit where credit is due – our very breath is not our own.

  • invalid-0

    A ‘moderate’ is one who has their feet firmly planted in mid-air. A moderate will stand for any side of an issue.

    Nonsense. This is the usual right wing mischaracterization. A moderate is someone who is pragmatic and willing to compromise in order to get things done. Unlike the radicals on either side of the aisle who want everything THEIR way or they’ll pout and hold things up indefinately.
    Under the U.S. Constitution, a fetus has no rights because it isn’t sentient and can’t make decisions. Taking away a woman’s right to bodily autonomy and personal decision making is the truly despicable act. The government has no damn business making personal medical decisions for women.

  • invalid-0

    …says nothing about unborn babies sentient or otherwise! It does protect and recognize certain inalienable rights for all men (“mankind”). These are LIFE, LIBERTY and the PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS. Notice the order of operations here – this is not a mistake. LIFE is first. Logically, it has to be – because without it you cannot have the next two nor would one care. It doesn’t say that any human has the right to put their “pursuit of happiness” above someone else’s right to LIFE, right? This is commonly referred to as MURDER, and it is illegal. At one time, in our country, African-Americans were not given these rights and Abraham Lincoln set people straight that the Constitution didn’t say only White people have these rights – ALL MANKIND (i.e. Humans).

    Your argument when you peel back the emotional layers is really a question, “When does life begin?” Most of the scientific world, at this point, knows empirically that life begins at conception but there are still some biologists putting their political agenda(s) ahead of scientific reality and common sense. I urge you to look deeper into the matter as I’m sure that you wouldn’t want to do anything Unconstitutional or even worse, right?

    You see, with your interpretation of the Constitution it leaves many doors open that I don’t think you have thought through. For instance, what about other human life that isn’t conscious or able to make decisions? Are you suggesting that they can be killed as well? I hope I am never involved in a car accident and in a coma around you – perhaps you would say that I should be killed!?

    The personal decision to do with your body what you wish is, and always should be your own. However; after you DECIDE to get pregnant you are responsible for another human life that IS protected under the U.S. Constitution and more importantly protected by common sense, spiritual goodness, moral righteousness, natural law, and all that is sacred.

    As far as compromising until you have diluted all of your values and principles, which keep one grounded – you are in fact floating around in mid-air, blowing in the wind, and expelling hot air pushing you higher and higher. Well, some of us are Patriots with good ‘ole common sense and we know that if/when laws are passed (like Roe v. Wade) as you flitter and fly by that we have to stand firm knowing that the natural law called gravity will eventually send you plummeting back to solid ground – I just hope (for your sake) that it doesn’t hurt too much. I guess that depends on how high you are when gravity takes hold!