Thursday, January 31, 2008

Giuliani Bows Out

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/31/us/politics/31campaign.html

So it looks like the Republican Party at the very least will not have its first pro-choice nominee since Reagan '80. The question now is whether it will have a pro-life nominee...

11 comments:

healthily sanguine said...

Either you are pro-life or not. Giuliani was obviously very much pro-abortion, but McCain is not pro-life either. He wants to be "moderate," but there is no such thing as a moderate killing of unborn lives.

Andy Bodoh said...

Well, I would at least make a distinction between being pro-life and being anti-abortion. There are also a lot of different reasons for being an anti-abortion politician (i.e. "abortion is wrong" versus "Roe v Wade was a poor legal decision" versus "Roe v Wade was bad political policy"). What is more, to some extent every non-absolute anti-abortion position (e.g. even those with narrow exceptions) could be considered "moderate" and "pro-choice" to some extent. By this measure even Bush is pro-choice.

healthily sanguine said...

Yup, pretty much. :-)

Fezzick said...

I'm a moderate, and I'm pro-life. It's possible.

Andy Bodoh said...

Agreed, but I was speaking more about moderate on the issue rather than moderate in general.

healthily sanguine said...

So was I, and I still don't think you can be moderate on the issue. At least, if you are "moderate" or, as you say, to some extent "pro-choice," you should not go around calling yourself pro-life. Pro-life means a recognition that you can't morally kill a baby even if his father was a rapist, or even if he might grow up to be mentally retarded, or even if it is really tiny and its cells could be used for research, etc. Pro-life has no exceptions because it is based on the moral law. Any exception in which abortion could be considered legal flouts the very notion that unborn people have the right to life.

I don't like the term "anti-abortion" because it was coined by pro-abortion people to sidestep the truth of what the battle is really about, and the same goes for "pro-choice"--both really common terms now. It's not a political issue, it's a moral issue, and that is why it's a fair litmus test of a politician to see where he stands on the issues of life; this shows what kind of moral stances in general he is willing to take.

Andy Bodoh said...

This is the problem with general lables. They don't mean much when they don't incorporate a philosophy in themselves. "Pro-life" means "for life". What does that mean? Even assuming that your discussing human life, one might argue that the equation of being "pro-life" should focus on quality of life rather than quantity. One can reasonably argue that it means being generally for life, if not "for life" in every instance. For instance, what if I denounced married couples for not having children every chance they could? What if I said that this was not being "pro-life"? You would (presumably) not like this definition. So already your lable has shrunk to being "pro-existing human life". Why do you only apply this to abortion? Shouldn't you also consider the other life issues? Doesn't being "pro-life" mean that the doctors must do everything within their power to preserve lives? That is not what the Church teaches. Does that make the Church something less than "pro-life."

What is more, if you do define "pro-life" as simply being against abortion, isn't "anti-abortion" a much more accurate label, whatever its history is?

Obviously, I am being antagonistic, and I agree with your position more than I disagree with it. However, I am student of political science and history. Abortion is a political question. It is a moral question, but it is also political. You can't get around that. As a moral question, I have no doubt that no one can legitimately defend a "pro-life but with exceptions" position under philosophic, scientific and metaphysic scrutiny.

However, as a political question, we must deal with a pluralistic polity with diverse opinions. As a political question, we are dealing with a question concerning popular opinion. As a political question we are trying to build a good and just society. I do not believe that adapting our labels to handle the political question is wrong, so long as there is a rational basis for why we use the lables we do.

In my opinion, then, I don't mind calling the moderates "anti-abortion" when they have narrow exceptions. They are generally anti-abortion and believe that abortion should be greatly restricted. I can work with that for now. I don't mind calling those in favor of abortion rights "pro-choice" because that is a decent summary of their position and philosophy from their perspective. I agree that they abuse it often (and actually deprive the unborn of choice), but for the sake of a political discussion, I will not oppose it too vigorously when I have other things to discuss. Calling them "pro-abortion" is inaccurate in so far as they are generally "pro-abortion rights", not necessarily pro-abortion itself.

However, I reserve the label of being "pro-life" to those who actually have a much broader view of the issues and generally defend life using a consistent (if not wholly accurate) philosophy. For this reason, I have not judged yet whether McCain or Romney or Paul are pro-life. Huckabee seems pro-life. Bush in my opinion was quite pro-life. Not only did he personally oppose abortion, though with some exceptions, he also opposed embryonic stem-cell research, Terry Schiavo's euthanasia, the morning-after pill for a long time, partial birth abortion for any reason, etc. I do not hesitate to define his politics as being pro-life for the age in which we live.

I suppose this post will cause some controversy. Oh well. Classes have been boring this week.

Fezzick said...

I'm with you on Bush being pro-life, or at least in the practical application of things, which in politics is what matters, I guess.

healthily sanguine said...

Yes, I suppose so... :-) Pragmatism has to rear its ugly head. I did rather like this article about Mark Sanford; check it out if desired.

Fezzick said...

It's an interesting article . . . and to a large degree sums up my position. In the strict scheme of things, a law that exists restricting abortion is better than a law forbidding abortion that doesn't exist.

Andy Bodoh said...

I agree as a general principle, but one must be cautious that if the law incorporate exceptions, it will not make it wholly impossible to do more when more is possible. I don't know that I would support a Constitutional Amendment banning abortion if it affirmatively protects it in some circumstances.

Did you all see that Romney is planning to drop out?