Thursday, May 10, 2007
Giuliani Hates Abortion - But Not Enough To Win
You’ve got to hand it to Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani when it comes to his ability to stay on message. His response to the abortion question in the recent MSNBC-sponsored Republican presidential debate is a good example. In the debate Giuliani repeated the two primary points he always manages to make concerning his position on abortion:
“In my case, I hate abortion…..but ultimately, because it is an issue of conscience, I would respect a woman’s right to make a different choice.”
Mr. Giuliani’s honesty and consistency on this topic are admirable but will almost certainly cost him the Republican nomination. Encouraged by early polls, many Giuliani supporters believe otherwise, contending that his strength on other issues important to Republicans will outweigh the fact that he is at odds with the Republican base on abortion. But early polls always reflect an incomplete understanding of any candidate’s position on the full range of issues and as word continues to filter out about Giuliani’s position on abortion, Republican voters will predictably drift away. To believe otherwise is an indulgence in wishful thinking that represents a deep misunderstanding of why most Republicans are against abortion.
Simply put, most of us who oppose abortion do so because we believe an abortion is either a clear-cut case of taking a human life, or a close enough cousin to the taking of a human life to merit the same level of opposition. That’s why Mr. Giuliani’s position on abortion is so unacceptable to most members of the pro-life community. To us, it’s the equivalent of saying, “I hate it when someone takes another person’s life, but ultimately homicide is a matter of personal conscience and I would respect their decision.”
If you are pro-abortion, you will certainly find that analogy inflammatory and overboard. But it’s an accurate reflection of the depth of conviction and despair felt by most pro-lifers. To us it seems like we’re living in an upside down world where it’s acceptable to enact and enforce thousands of laws that prevent people from following their personal conscience on things as mundane as how fast they can drive a car and yet it’s unacceptable to enact any law that would prevent any person from following their personal conscience in determining whether or not a human fetus lives or dies.
This depth of conviction explains why it’s highly unlikely Giuliani’s political assets will outweigh this one glaring liability. Relatively speaking, when it comes to issues of life and death, nothing comes close to the overwhelming impact of abortion. To put it in perspective, in the first four years of the current conflict in Iraq, weapons of war terminated 3,300 American lives. In that same four year period, instruments of abortion terminated more than 4 million American embryos. Even more dramatically, the total number of American war casualties in the entire 230 year history of our nation is less than the current average of 1.2 million abortions performed in the United States each and every year. A mind-numbing total of more than 40 million embryos have been terminated by abortion since the Supreme Court voided all state restrictions on abortion in 1973. If you are pro-life and believe that abortion is a life and death issue, no other life and death issue is even in the same ballpark.
That’s why it’s extremely unlikely Giuliani will get the Republican nomination. There are other Republicans in the presidential race who are not very far behind Giuliani on the issues that are his greatest strengths and are light-years ahead of him on what many Republicans consider the most important issue of all. I don’t doubt that Giuliani really hates abortion. But when pro-life Republicans are fully informed about his “hate but tolerate” position on this issue he is likely to find out that he doesn’t hate abortion enough to win.