RMC Responds: Choice Is Not A Litmus TestPosted: July 5, 2013
Unfortunately, the GOP of today has moved further away from an open door and into the arena of litmus tests. Knowing nothing about our other politics or ideas, our views on national defense, taxes, or even gun control, commenters on social media regularly attack us for our views on this very personal issue: “You are no Republican, whatever that even means anymore!”
This stridently anti-choice position suggests the GOP is a one-issue party, but we know this is not true. The current Republican platform takes such a hardline on choice that it leaves no room for open discussion within the Party and is more extreme than a bill signed by Ronald Reagan himself. In 1967, prior to the groundbreaking Roe decision, in an effort to curb back-alley abortions, Reagan signed the “Therapeutic Abortion Act.” An act that while prohibiting some abortions, still allowed the procedure in cases of rape, incest and when pregnancy would impair the health or well-being of the mother. This distinction allowed physicians and patients to determine the health status of the woman without intrusive government overreach. During a time when women were regularly dying from obtaining the procedure illegally, this act not only limited the number of abortions, but also saved countless women’s lives.
President Reagan recognized a serious problem and put the good of the nation ahead of his personal beliefs in order to solve it. This is exactly the kind of realistic and open-minded party that we once were and need to be again.
The pro-choice position is inherently aligned with Republican values. However, as practical and realistic conservatives, we realize that not every person will agree with this view, and that’s fine. What’s not fine? The current state of the party, in which anti-choice enthusiasts have made social issues into an off-putting crusade which ignores voters who remain true to traditional GOP values. We should be able to discuss these issues, to realize that the party is more diverse than it has come to appear, and to remember that we are not part of a one-issue party.
So how can we return to our roots and become the party of solutions once again? Simply put, we need to return to the big tent and focus on common ground. The first step is to realize that the GOP was not founded on an anti-abortion platform, and since it is an issue that does not receive agreement from all sides, it should be left out of the political agreement. Instead, Republicans need to refocus on the issues that everyone in the party does agree upon; the economy, for instance, will not suddenly fix itself, and everyone in the party agrees that something must be done to improve our nation. We must stop wasting time on divisive social issues, embrace our differences, and move forward on common ground. Only after we do these things can we return the Republican Party we once were, a party that was practical, accepting, and found smart solutions while staying out of peoples’ lives.