Saturday, May 23, 2009

Do People Choose Their Political Party Based on Abortion Views?

Last night I held a political party in my home, and chatted with my friend Cheryl after everyone had left. Cheryl was expressing frustration that it seemed as if people chose their political parties based on abortion views, and how absurb that seemed in light of other big issues such as economic policy and national security.

We then analyzed where she got that impression from, and where pro-life, moderate pro-choice, and pro-abortion voters stand on the political spectrum.

First, it's pretty clear to me that the mainstream media (MSM) conveys that the Left is pro-choice and the Right is pro-life. They also convey the idea that the pro-choicers are reasonable and the pro-lifers are wackos. But what does reality look like? The following observations are based on my extensive experience talking to politics-oriented voters, churchgoers and regular people over the last three decades, easily several thousand people after two sales careers and my current voter activism.

There are large amounts of pro-life voters on both the Democrat and Republican sides of the political spectrum. Look no further than the Catholic vote, many of whom are traditionally pro-union Democrats. Most Catholics are outwardly pro-life, yet there seem to be just as many who vote Democrat as vote Republican. (I'm sure that there are also non-Catholic pro-life Democrat voters; they're less easy to pinpoint, though.) And we know that a high percentage of pro-life voters are also on the conservative right. So with the pro-life contingent, you clearly can't make assumptions on how they vote.

Now let's look at the moderate pro-choice voters. First of all, who are these people and what motivates them? Some of them are women who've had abortions. They mostly regret those decisions, but either want that door open for future women who find themselves in a difficult situation, or they're often too uncomfortable with the idea of telling other people that they can't have an abortion after these voters have had one themselves. There's also a large contingent of moderate pro-choice voters who are religious. I meet them all the time. They absolutely would never have an abortion, yet the idea of the government telling people what they can and cannot do in the area of abortion is abhorrent to them.

Lastly, we have the pro-abortion voters. These are people who have no qualms about having abortions, often use abortion as birth control, often suggest abortion to other people who've gotten unexpectedly pregnant and to people who've received a pre-natal birth defect diagnosis, favor abortion for sex-selection and selective reduction, and there are even some who find the idea of mothering comparable to slavery and therefore truly espouse abortion. There are also pro-abortioners who actually promote abortions amongst certain groups, either for population control reasons, racist reasons, or classism reasons. I've known of these opinions, but I never actually meet these people. Pro-abortioners vote almost exclusively Democrat. I literally can't remember ever meeting a pro-abortion Republican.

So we have pro-lifers on the Left and Right, moderate pro-choicers on the Left and Right, and pro-abortioners on the Left. And the MSM is on the Left. Which would help explain why the message we constantly hear is that pro-lifers are wackos who are running the Right into the ground. The MSM has no motivation to explore this topic or portray it realistically, because they stand firmly in the pro-abortion camp. I would therefore caution voters not to take their cues about abortion and politics from the MSM, because the information is skewed and not realistic.

In closing, I'd like to remind people that our opinions often change slowly over the years, or suddenly after a profound experience. Even if voting pro-life were my number one political passsion, I would never omit moderate pro-choice voters from my political activities, because I know that with many people, abortion views change over time. I would always hold out the hope that by being kind and loving and responsible and helpful, I could help others see that the door was open for change, and there's no one on the other side waiting to yell "hypocrite"!

* * *

As a constructive reminder, I'd like to point out that any pregnant woman who wanted to give her baby up for adoption could walk into any church in America and immediately find multiple families who would take that baby. Any race. Any sex. Any disability. Just talk to the pastor, and he'll get the word out to the congregation.

If you think for a moment that Americans wouldn't adopt another one million babies per year in a heartbeat, you're dead wrong and living in a society of single, non-religious people. Because everybody who knows and socializes with couples and church people knows all about infertility, adoption, and the generosity of the heart.


Fundie said...

A big "Amen!" for your last paragraph.

I choose my Party -- and who will get my vote -- by these criteria. (And I know I'm not alone in this first one):
1) Are they Pro-Life (not just in words, but in actions / votes)
2-?) (Not rigidly in this order) Can it be demonstrated it is / they are ... a Constitutional constructionist ... a Social Conservative ... a Fiscal Conservative ... Pro 2nd Amendment ... determined to protect the borders of the USA ... opposed to the UN ... (there are more, but you probably get my Conservative drift).

Crista Huff said...

Fundie: Thank you for posting! I tend to identify our country's 2-3 scariest concerns (e.g. overspending & illegal immigration) and pick the candidate who looks most effective there. (Invariably a Republican.) These concerns change over time. Right now, all aspects of "life" are definitely in danger, including, I believe, socialized medicine bringing us forced abortions and one-child policies, but also denying medical care to elders. Keep on fighting the good fight!