The NSA and Benghazi scandals were everywhere, calls for abolishing the IRS were ubiquitous and I must have heard the word “Obamacare” about a thousand times. One word I didn’t hear too often at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference, however, was “abortion.”
In a year that featured successful pro-life legislation and a record number of abortion clinic closures, I’m sure I wasn’t the only one surprised that I had to look far and wide to find a pro-life message at the biggest conservative gathering of the year. As Guy wrote earlier, CPAC seemed to ignore an encouraging CNN poll that revealed 58 percent of Americans are against abortion in all or most situations and organizers are already receiving some fiery feedback for the overall omission. Indeed, at the event, I found only two pro-life organizations represented in the exhibition hall and hardly any anti-abortion material. As for the most anticipated speakers, they usually saved one or two lines to promote a pro-life message - and that was that. Here were a few of them:
Gov. Mike Huckabee: “I know that life begins at conception. And I know that a society that sacrifices its own children is no better than the ancient Philistines.”
Sen. Marco Rubio: “There is nothing moral or acceptable about a government that forces women to have abortions.”
Gov. Sarah Palin: “We’re the party that protects even our littlest sisters in the womb.”
These bold one-liners were effectual, but they were scarce.
Now, I know all of the above speakers are staunch defenders of the unborn. I also know that they were only allotted 10-15 minutes on average to address the audience. But, surely the sanctity of life deserves more than 5-second sound bites?
One refreshing exception was CPAC Co-Chair Carly Fiorina whose pro-life beliefs featured heavily in her remarks. This “proud pro-life woman” at one point proclaimed:
“I accept and respect that not all women agree with me [...] What I am not prepared to accept is that we are waging a war on women, just because we know that abortion at five months is inhumane to both mother and child.”
When I finally heard someone talking at length about the need to defend our unborn, I was pleasantly surprised and shouted a mental, “You go girl!”
The overall lack of pro-life discussion motivated me to try and seek it myself. When I interviewed Governor Rick Perry, I took advantage of the opportunity to ask him about his state’s pro-life legislation HB2, which has already accounted for several abortion clinic closures in the Lone Star State. He responded with some beautiful remarks:
“I hope that America is going to go through and reevaluate the whole issue of life. There is a powerful message for a society that respects life. There is no more powerful way to send that message than to protect innocents.”
Governor Perry went on to speak about the horrors of the 55 million lives that have been taken since Roe v. Wade. I thank him for his speaking up on behalf of the voiceless.
If I perhaps just did not visit the right corners of the conference and missed any encouraging pro-life discussions, then please let me know. But, from what I saw, the issue was mostly MIA.
Hopefully next year, pro-life messages won’t be pleasantly surprising - they’ll be pleasantly expected.