Republicans and the Sanctity of Life

“State of the Republican Party” by Michael Osbun,

Well, it’s finally over.  After 18 months of intense political conflict, the American people chose to give President Obama another four years at the helm.  Not surprisingly, there is a lot of Monday morning quarterbacking happening within the ranks of the GOP.  Some are saying that Mr. Romney was defeated because he allowed his campaign to be hijacked by the “extreme right wing” of the party.  Others feel that he didn’t do enough to distinguish himself as a clear alternative to the President. One thing that most Republicans can agree on is that Mitt Romney is a decent man who comported himself with grace and dignity during the campaign.  And few would deny that Mr. Romney has the business experience to tackle America’s economic challenges.  But what about other issues important to conservatives?  What were they to make of Romney’s flip-flops on key social issues like abortion and gay marriage?  Many conservatives had a difficult time embracing the Republican candidate, and while they might have voted for him, they couldn’t help but wonder whether he was the real deal or a mere political opportunist.

One thing is certain.  Neither Mr. Romney nor the Republican Party ever made the case for the sanctity of life or marriage in this election season.  Sure, they mouthed their opposition to abortion and their support for traditional marriage, but they never really made their case to the American people as to why these issues are so critical to the health and prosperity of our nation.  All we got when it came to social issues in Campaign 2012 were canned soundbytes from the Republican nominee.  Consequently, when candidates like Todd Aiken and Richard Mourdock fumbled the ball with their ham-handed responses in their own campaigns, their remarks took on national significance and were imputed to Romney as the GOP’s representative in the presidential contest.

There is actually a case to be made for the sanctity of human life and the protection of unborn children, and it isn’t just “because the Bible tells me so.”  It goes something like this:

“You don’t have to be a person of faith to be concerned about the morality of a mother taking the life of her innocent unborn child.  America’s Declaration of Independence rightly declares that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.  Foremost among these rights is the right to life. This right is foundational for all other rights, and unless we first protect the right to life, all other rights become meaningless.  The right to speak freely, worship as we choose, associate with whom we please – these are rights reserved to the living.  The right to privacy, extolled by some as the most preeminent of rights, means nothing to a corpse.  And, as the Declaration further declares, governments are instituted among men to secure the God-given rights conferred on us by the Creator.  I therefore agree with Thomas Jefferson, who maintained that the chief purpose of government is to protect life.  Abandon that, he warned, and you have abandoned all.

Rooted firmly in these principles, my administration will be committed to protecting the lives of every citizen from conception to natural death, whether they are black or white, rich or poor, whole or handicapped, born or unborn.  A person’s dignity and their membership in the human family are not affected by their age or state of health.  I will stand with the very young, the very old, and everyone in between to protect their God-given right to life.  I reject the notion that some of us are disposable because some deem them to be unwanted.  And I do not agree that Americans have to choose between a woman and her child – our hearts are big enough to love them both.”

Two paragraphs are all it takes to make the case for life, yet the subject never got more than two sentences in any Romney stump speech.  As a result, his position on abortion was mischaracterized by the Obama machine as a “war on women.”  Had he been willing to devote a few moments of his time to develop the case for the sanctity of life he could have been seen as a protector and advocate for children and the elderly and the handicapped.  Sadly, he was unwilling to make the case, and so was the GOP.

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Ken Connor


Ken Connor is the Chairman of the Center for a Just Society. An esteemed attorney, Connor is affiliated with the law firm of Marks, Balette, & Giessel, a firm nationally known for its successful representation of victims of nursing home abuse and neglect.

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  • Voice

    You don’t get “2 paragraphs” in our media culture to explain anything. Or in this case “4 paragraphs”. You’d better be careful wacking the Republicans on their furtherance of life and family issues. They are all you have… “for now”. My sense is that they are done doing this. They ARE politicians. Just watch… the “loss” came at the hands of large #’s of young women (think contraception, and abortion) voters. So, who do you think will get thrown under the bus in 2016? Faithful Catholics and Evangelicals did not deliver in this election… the Bishops did not deliver the Catholic vote. And don’t think that faithful Catholics and Evangelicals didn’t vote… they DID… they ARE motivated. The reason the Romney/Ryan ticket did not speak out MORE was because they knew they were in trouble. The “war on women” wasn’t just a clever idea it was POLL TESTED. Face it folks, America is Godless. Hit your knees. We’ve finally reached the tipping point. There aren’t enough faithful Christians anymore to sway the vote on social issues. The battle must be fought hand to hand, person to person. The political system is a no go.

  • Aging Flower Child

    I don’t disagree, but I think I understand the strategy taken, and at this point who knows what would have happened if he tried to speak more on the topic. I think he looked at Rick Santorum and how he was totally pilloried so that even church going Catholics I know referred to Santorum as ‘a zealot’! The media is so anti-life and traditional values, they own the delivery of the message to the world. You articulated everything so well – but I don’t think very many could do that – politicians in particular have to choose every word so carefully.

  • John

    I was disappointed at the failure to address social issues, especially when the Democratic campaign made such a point of mocking God through them.

    My bigger concern now is the cowardice of the Republican party about getting to the truth at the bottom of what is looking increasingly like a fraudulent election. If we ever want the laws to reflect Christian values again, we have to demand legitimate elections, and that starts with getting to the truth about what happened last Tuesday.

  • chaco

    I’m reluctant to say that you may be right. I think the reason we’re feeling so defeated is that we were clinging to the Hope that the electorate would finally see through the lies and wake up. I can’t help comparing their willful ignorance to the centurian soldier who went along with the crowd to crucify Our Lord; He didn’t have the moral fortitude to do what was right but deep down knew that he was on the side of wrong; “Surely, this was a man of God !” (Mt. 27: 54). The electorate may have to experience earthquakes and such, like the centurion, before they will be able to admit their wrong. God + 1 = a majority; Our feelings of being defeated can only be remedied by relying on our source of Hope – Not on the fleeting assurance that “The Crowd” provides. Let them lead the debate while defending your right to Freedom of Conscience/ speech by retorting with; “Are you preaching to me ?!” Their deep down sense of being wrong will drive them to defend/ rationalize their position which will inevitably lead to their self-incrimination. [“People are jes’ like mules; Don’t try to driv’em – jes leave the gate open a mite and let’em bust in.”]

  • CharlesOConnell

    The godfather of the ‘Conservative’ Foundation Movement Voted
    FOR Roe v. Wade.

  • I think this guy has captured the problem with the Romney campaign succinctly…

  • One has to bear in mind that five of the seven justices who voted in the majority on Roe Vs. Wade and Doe Vs. Bolton were appointed by Republicans while the main dissenter was appointed by a Democrat. The Republicans love to pay lip service to the prolife movement while doing absolutely nothing to advance it. Prolife people must hold the Republicans’ feet to the fire if we want to stop the slaughter of children by abortion.

  • kirk

    Mr. Connor – I am happy to see an article like yours, since before the election, close to 100% of the columns and the responses to the columns were making the point that a vote for the Republican was the only moral choice for Catholics. Some of the responders were adamant that any other choice was tantamount to mortal sin, one person said priests should deny communion to anyone who voted Democratic. Yet, I only heard three or four very short statements from the Republican nominee to indicate he was pro-life, or would work to reverse RvW. And one of those statements was in answer to a question from a reporter about his pro-life stance – he said, “No – that’s not on my agenda.” Even that did not phase the militant pro-life believers into reflection on whether their candidate really stood for their cause.
    So, is it simply a foundational thing – perhaps an underlying belief that if he’s Republican, then he’s pro-life, even when he says next to nothing about it, and therefore we must vote for him or face hellfire and damnation? Are there no other pro-life issues, like employment, aleviating poverty, adequate healthcare? Do we fight to end abortion, but once accomplished, care little about the quality of life for the living? I cringe when I hear how many legal abortions are performed, but I also cringe when I see suffering from loss of opportunity, hunger or lack of fair justice.
    It’s easy to see why people jest at One-Issue-Catholics. I maintain that ending abortion is an important component of our Catholic values, but so are all the other social problems. And, it is definitely NOT a “mortal sin” for any Catholic to weigh the issues carefully, vote responsibly, with a clear purpose – even if it means voting for a Democrat.