Thorner: Abortion could be a winning issue for Republicans (Part 1)
May 5, 2015
Thursday, April 30, 2015
With the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade and its companion case Doe v. Bolton establishing “constitutionalized” abortion in all 50 states, the United States is one of the most permissive in its treatment of abortion. It ranks with China, North Korea and Canada as the only countries in the world that permit abortion for any reason after fetal viability.
Wishing to spread the message of the Reagan Revolution, the Republican Assembly of Lake County (RALC) annually sponsors a Reagan Day Dinner. The Republican Assembly of Lake County is associated with the National Federation of Republican Assemblies. The first Republican Assembly was founded in 1934 in California. Ronald Reagan called the Republican Assemblies “the conscience of the Republican Party,” while others have called them “the Tea Party” before there was a Tea Party.
This year, RALC’s Reagan Day Dinner’s featured Chicago area’s own Clarke D. Forsythe, senior counsel of Americans United for Life and author of “Abuse of Discretion: The Inside Story of Roe v. Wade.”
Ronald Reagan would have been pleased to welcome Clarke D. Forsythe to the podium.
In 1983 Reagan wrote an article, “Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation,” in which the president said “Abortion concerns not only the unborn child, it concerns every one of us,” and further wrote, “We cannot diminish the value of one category of human life—the unborn—without diminishing the value of all human life.”
Ronald Reagan was America’s most pro-life president, Forsythe said. Shocked over his signing of a 1967 bill as governor of California, Reagan later considered its signing as the greatest disappointment of his life. Such was the guiding factor that helped Reagan become a strong human life advocate, even to promote the overturn of Roe vs. Wade. Reagan’s legacy, according to Forsythe, was that presidents can’t solve issues all by themselves; states should have the most effect on abortion policy.
According to Forsythe, prudence in politics has been lost. That raises the question as to how America should move forward to preserve human life.
Abraham Lincoln reacted with disgust to the Dred Scott decision of 1858 by opposing the extension of slavery. He believed if slavery was confined to the original slave states, it would die its own natural death. Overall, the Dred Scott decision had the effect of widening the political and social gap between North and South and moved the nation closer to the brink of Civil War.
Throughout much of American history, prior to Roe vs Wade in 1973, states banned or severely restricted abortion. Law enacted in the 19th and early 20th centuries often targeted abortion providers rather than pregnant women seeking abortions, as the aim was not to prosecute, but to protect pregnant women and their unborn babies from injury.
The decades that followed introduced the women’s suffrage fight, followed by the feminist movement, which ushered in great political and sexual freedom at the cultural, social, and legal levels. The change was well underway when the Supreme Court tried to fashion a national solution to the abortion issue in 1973.
Also of importance in accepting abortion at the state level were campaigns against population growth, increased marketing of the contraceptive pill in the 1960s, funding and support from wealthy benefactors such as John Rockefeller and Warren Buffett, and the American Medical Association’s eventual endorsement of abortion reform.
It also didn’t help when falsehoods were spread by advocates of abortion reform in the 1960s and 1970s, such as the lie that thousands of women died annually from illegal “back alley” abortions. Not unlike what often happens today to sway public opinion, advocates of abortion reform thought that deceptive means were justifiable to promote their cause.
Part 2 will explain how “Roe” — a reckless and lawless decision — became law of the land in 1973. Also, why the times are right for Republicans to grasp the life issue as a winning one.
Thursday, April 30, 2015 at 08:30 AM | Permalink