Catholic Culture News
Catholic Culture News

courting the GOP pro-life vote

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | Mar 01, 2006

The South Dakota legislature passed a bill virtually banning abortion, and a couple of leading Republicans had interesting reactions.

President Bush, who has received tremendous support from the pro-life movement, criticized the bill, saying that he would want exceptions to allow abortion in the cases of rape, incest, or danger to the life of the mother.

Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, who usually falls into the "pro-choice" camp, announced that if he were the governor of South Dakota, he would sign the law.

Romney's statement costs him nothing. He is not the governor of South Dakota. He's in Massachusetts, where the legislature (mostly composed of nominal Catholics, but that's another story) is more likely to ban apple pie than abortion. So he can afford to make a theoretical statement which just coincidentally happens to make him look more palatable to the powerful pro-life wing of the Republican party, as he seeks its presidential nomination.

Bush's statement also costs him nothing. Constitutionally barred from a third presidential term, he doesn't need to line up pro-life support any more; he can say what he thinks.

Still it's curious that a "pro-choice" candidate comes out more forcefully than a "pro-life" incumbent. Yet another indication that the American pro-life movement has been, and still is, much better at getting candidates elected than at collecting on the political IOUs.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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