If Republicans want to stand out from Democrats on social issues, then we have to find ways to make our pro-family, pro-marriage, pro-child positions resonate with the public at large. For example, on the pro-life issue, we should not be focused on outright bans on abortion, but instead on incremental measures to restrict abortion accessibility.
Here are some ideas for incremental pro-life measures:
- Outlaw sex-selection abortions
- Require parental consent before having an abortion
- Require that additional information be provided to women considering abortions (e.g. – mandatory sonogram)
- Eliminate subsidies for abortion providers
- Require all private insurance plans to have a version of each plan offered that does not cover abortion
- Restrict the most vicious methods of abortion, such as partial birth abortion
- Recognizing unborn children who are harmed during a crime as victims of that crime
- Outlaw abortions after the time when the unborn child gains the ability to feel pain
- Increase the tax deduction for children
- Reward adults with tax incentives for getting married and staying married
Let’s take a closer look at the first item in the list.
Consider this front page story from today in Canada’s National Post newspaper. The title is “Canada is haven for parents seeking sex-selective abortions: medical journal”. Canada is the only country in the developed world that has no law governing abortion. They are strongly pro-abortion.
But consider this excerpt from the article:
An editorial in a major Canadian medical journal Monday urges doctors to conceal the gender of a fetus from all pregnant women until 30 weeks to prevent sex-selective abortion by Asian immigrants.
A separate article in the same issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal warns that Canada has become “a haven for parents who would terminate female fetuses in favor of having sons” due to advanced prenatal testing and easy access to abortion.
“Female feticide happens in India and China by the millions, but it also happens in North America in numbers large enough to distort the male to female ratio in some ethnic groups,” said the editorial by interim editor-in-chief Rajendra Kale.
While few studies have been done to assess how frequent the practice may be among immigrant communities in Canada, the editorial points to research that suggests sex-selection is more common among immigrants from India, China, Korea, Vietnam and the Philippines who already have at least one daughter.
It cites U.S. census data from 2000 that shows male-biased sex ratios among U.S.-born children of Asian parents, and a study of 65 Indian women in the U.S. from 2004-2009 that showed 89% of them terminated pregnancies with female fetuses.
Kale told AFP he believes that several hundred sex-selective abortions take place in Canada each year.
[...]Kale’s controversial proposal was welcomed by conservative groups but opposed by the pro-choice advocates who warned that the debate extends much further than sex-selective abortion in minority groups.
Canadians are more liberal on social issues than Americans, yet they nevertheless oppose sex-selection abortions. According to a recent poll, 92% of Canadians oppose sex-selection abortions. It therefore seems reasonable for Republicans to pass a bill to ban sex-selection abortions.
And in fact the “PRENDA” bill that Trent Franks introduced that does just that.
A U.S. congressman has reintroduced legislation that would ban sex-selection or race-based abortions. Congressman Trent Franks, an Arizona Republican who is a member of the House Judiciary Committee, has brought back the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act.
The measure would prohibit knowingly performing or financing sex-selection or race-based abortions.
[...]“[T]he Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act, or “PRENDA,” … restricts sex-selection abortion and race-selection abortion, and the coercion of a woman to obtain either. The woman seeking an abortion is exempted from prosecution, while abortion providers are held to account,” wrote Franks in a letter to colleagues on Monday.
[...][A] 2006 poll showed a majority of Americans would likely support the bill. A 2006 Zogby International poll shows that 86% of the American public desires a law to ban sex selection abortion. The poll surveyed a whopping 30,117 respondents in 48 states.
So the majority of Americans would support this measure.
As members prepare to hear from experts on how the sex-selection abortion culture has made its way from nations like China and India to the United States, according to one study, Planned Parenthood, NARAL, ACLU and a total of 30 pro-abortion groups banded together for a letter opposing the legislation, the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act.
The claim the bill, sponsored by pro-life Rep. Trent Franks, an Arizona Republican, is “simply more of the same from the anti-choice extremists choice extremists in the House” and they urged a no vote on it.
“[T]he bill will effectively exacerbate already existing disparities by limiting some women’s access to comprehensive reproductive health care and penalizing health care providers,” they allege.
They claim: “Instead of addressing health disparities and ensuring accessible and culturally competent medical care for all women, the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act will further isolate and stigmatize some women — particularly those in the Asian American and Pacific Islander and African American communities — from exercising their fundamental human right to make and implement decisions about their reproductive lives.”
Nancy Northup, President of Center for Reproductive Rights talked about her group’s opposition to the bill with Fox News and said it is an “anti-choice” measure that she claims is a “trumped up bill for a trumped up problem,” and a “ridiculous waste of congressional resources at a time when the U.S. economy is faltering.”
“This bill is a cynical and offensive attempt to evoke race and sex discrimination when actually it’s about taking women’s rights away,” she said.
So I think this is enough to show that abortion can actually be an asset to a Republican candidate. So long as the person is able to focus on incremental measures that are supported by 60% or more of the population, then the pro-life issue would not be a liability in the 2012 election contest. In fact, it could be very useful to have Obama have to go on record as being opposed to a ban on sex-selection abortions. Most voters have no idea exactly how liberal Obama is on the abortion issue. Raising incremental pro-life measures in a debate situation would be a good way to bring out his extremism on the life issue. Candidates like Rick Santorum, who actually have a record of proposing incremental measures, will be particularly effective in making such arguments.
To learn more about the effects of sex-selection abortions in countries that allow it, you can check out this Wall Street Journal article.