Republicans Abort Their Moral Authority

AP Photo/Susan Walsh
AP Photo/Susan Walsh

On Tuesday, Republican Senator Joni Ernst, a Tea Party favorite, used her State of the Union response to completely ignore President Obama’s executive amnesty. On Wednesday, Republican Renee Ellmers, a Tea Party favorite, undercut legislation that would have effectively banned late-term abortion after 20 weeks – five months.

She pulled her name from the legislation, saying it was not the right time politically.

I have urged leadership to reconsider bringing it up. We got into trouble last year, and I think we need to be careful again; we need to be smart about how we’re moving forward… The first vote we take, or the second vote, or the fifth vote, shouldn’t be on an issue where we know that millennials – social issues just aren’t as important [to them].

The bill was pulled, to be replaced by a weak-tea bill cutting federal funding for abortion.

Once again, the gap between establishment Republicans and the base has been ripped wide open – by the establishment. Establishment Republicans, mainly major coastal donors who believe that abortion and same-sex marriage are killing the Republican Party among young people, couldn’t be happier to watch social issues back-burnered. They are covertly rooting for a Supreme Court ruling that would make same-sex marriage the law of the land, thereby taking it out of the hands of their chosen politicians; they are overtly rooting for Republicans to abandon the pro-life caucus.

The Koch Brothers, the much-maligned bugaboos of the left, support removal of all laws with regard to abortion. In 1980, David Koch called for full-scale abortion legalization. Charles Koch wrote, “What a spectacle it is for the same people who preach freedom in voluntary economic activities to call for the full force of the law against voluntary sexual or other personal activities!”

Republican megadonor Paul Singer has tossed millions of dollars behind a super PAC that backs same-sex marriage and abortion. “There’s a feeling among some people that the Republican Party is harsh on some things,” Singer said. “Atmospherically and tonally, it’s part of the landscape of so-called harshness.”

But while Republican establishment donors may writhe uncomfortably on the issue of abortion — and while Republican politicians may follow the money — the reality is that the pro-life issue is one issue upon which conservatives have made tremendous gains. While 47 percent of Americans consider themselves pro-life and 46 percent consider themselves pro-choice, a full 78 percent of Americans believe that abortion should be illegal in all or some circumstances. Only 21 percent of Americans are pro-choice in the fullest sense. And when it comes to late-term abortion, Americans heavily support legal restrictions, with 56 percent supporting abortion limits after the first five months, and 60 percent of women believing the same. A HuffPost/YouGov poll showed even higher support for limiting late-term abortion: 59 percent of respondents favored a federal law banning abortion after 20 weeks. A 2012 Harvard survey of those aged 18-29 showed that two thirds supported stricter abortion laws.

Abortion is also the one issue that most animates religious conservatives, who believe that the sickening spectacle of Democrats literally cheering the murder of over a million children per year spells moral catastrophe for the country. According to Gallup, 24 percent of pro-life voters say they would not vote for a pro-choice candidate under any circumstances. Those voters are all based in the Republican Party. Abandoning those voters means electoral disaster for Republicans.

Americans are right to dramatically oppose late-term abortion. And 20 weeks is certainly late-term: by that time, babies are 10.5 ounces and 10 inches long. By 11 weeks, all organs are typically formed. The youngest babies to survive outside the womb have been born at 21 weeks. Forget what’s politically smart – it’s simply morally wrong to ignore the killing of babies simply because they are located inside the womb.

But Republican higher-ups are so deathly afraid of social issues that they run from the right, both morally and politically. They will destroy the Republican Party wholesale if they continue to do so. Conservatives did not elect Republicans primarily to complain about Keystone XL and the medical device tax. They did not elect Republicans to jabber about the Export-Import Bank. They elected Republicans to fight for their priorities, which, like it or not for the coastal donors, include the most important moral issue of our time: the willing destruction of millions of human beings and the indoctrination of Americans into the cult of moral apathy. If the Republican Party won’t fight for the issues conservatives care about, conservatives will find somebody who will.

Ben Shapiro is Senior Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the new book, The People vs. Barack Obama: The Criminal Case Against The Obama Administration (Threshold Editions, June 10, 2014). He is also Editor-in-Chief of Follow Ben Shapiro on Twitter @benshapiro.


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