Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani picked the Friday before Mother's Day to tell students at Houston Baptist University that while he "hates" abortion and finds it "morally wrong," one must leave the ultimate decision to a pregnant woman. The young products of conception whose mothers chose to have them listened intently.
Giuliani is betting his post-9/11 image and economic conservatism will be enough to win him the nomination in a party that has not nominated a pro-choice Republican since Gerald Ford in 1976. It doesn't help that Giuliani also embraces the gay rights political agenda and stronger gun control.
Imagine a Democrat telling his (or her) party what Giuliani said in his Houston speech: "It we don't find a way of uniting around broad principles that will appeal to a large segment of this country Š we are going to lose this election." Would the Democratic Party drop its zealous support of abortion on demand; or its religious zeal over global warming; or its commitment to higher taxes and bigger government? No way! Only Republicans are supposed to compromise their principles and ignore - as liberals do - 40 million-plus dead babies.
If Giuliani believes this, how does he explain Ronald Reagan's two terms and the presidency of once pro-choice, but then pro-life, George H.W. Bush? The consistently pro-life position of the current President Bush did not keep him from winning two terms.
There is only one reason to "hate" abortion and that is that it ends a human life after it has begun, but before it has a chance to reach its potential. People who hated segregation did not sit back and, because of opposing views, do nothing to stop it. And what's this business about finding abortion "morally wrong"? Does that not imply a higher standard than a Supreme Court decision, which even some liberal law professors have criticized as constitutionally flawed?
If Giuliani really hates abortion, he will propose steps to reduce their number. If he wants to split the difference on this most contentious social issue - maintaining choice while reducing the number of abortions - he could favor "truth in labeling" legislation similar to a federal law that requires information on bottles, packages and cans. Sophisticated ultrasound machines have been shown to contribute to a sharp reduction in abortions for abortion-minded women. Such a proposal would allow him a rarity in politics: to have it both ways.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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