Opinion

Why 2020 is the right time for a pro-life Democrat

Nationwide map of 2016 U.S. presidential election results shaded by vote share in each county. Image courtesy of Creative Commons

(RNS) — I want to be clear at the outset: No candidate who favors ending abortion in the U.S. can win the Democratic Party’s nomination for president. Party leaders are more stridently supportive of unrestricted abortion rights than they have ever been.

Abortion-rights activists exert unprecedented power over the party, and as a result even abortion-skeptical Democrats have been decimated over the past generation. Fewer than a handful of anti-abortion Democrats remain in Congress, and the party signals its disdain for candidates like them at every turn, forcing any Democrat who dares present a nuanced position to repudiate the heresy.

What’s more, as the contest for the Democrats’ 2020 presidential nomination heats up, the party seems to be rehashing the 2016 contest between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, wherein progressives felt shunted aside by an establishment cabal favoring Clinton. The left is not feeling generous, and even moderates in what promises to be a comically large field of candidates will be out to prove their liberal bona fides.

Which is exactly why 2020 opens up an amazing opportunity for a pro-life Democrat.

Suggesting that the Democrats could benefit from a pro-life voice in their ranks is different from saying they should on moral grounds — although there’s a case for that too: Such a candidacy would do more than anything else to resurrect a discussion that reflects Americans’ ambivalent views on abortion — largely unchanged over 45 years. It would enliven a national debate that has poisoned our politics without doing much to help children (born and unborn) or families.

But the best argument for a Democrat pro-lifer is rather a statistical one: About a quarter of Democrats believe abortion should be generally illegal, according to Gallup. Nonwhite Democrats, a group that is already rumbling about being taken for granted, are more opposed to legal abortion than white Democrats.

The presence of a pro-life Democrat in the 2020 race would give voice to these 21 million disaffected Democrats — not least in the devoutly Christian precincts in Iowa, where such a candidate would likely dramatically outperform expectations in the February 2020 caucuses, instantly becoming a national story just as the media are looking to see who will come out of the outsized Democratic pack.

Some may object that white Christian Iowans are all in the Republican caucuses, but it’s worth testing empirically a charge that’s been made anecdotally for years: that many anti-abortion voters would defect from the Republican Party (especially one run by Trump) if offered another pro-life choice.

A good showing there could give them legs enough to make it to South Carolina, where only a third of Democratic primary voters are white.

Will one of these men, or a new presidential candidate, surprise the establishment by running as a pro-life Democrat in 2020? Gov. John Bel Edwards of Louisiana, left; Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, center left; and Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, right. Photos courtesy of Creative Commons

After that, the elite’s determination to defeat them would only get worse, and the money game would turn against them. There is a marked paucity of pro-life donors on the Democratic side, and the anti-abortion fundraising machine, now essentially an arm of the Republican Party, excludes Democrats by definition. In the recent midterms, the Susan B. Anthony List spent $785,000 (unsuccessfully) to unseat Sen. Joe Manchin in West Virginia, despite his pro-life stance.

But even if the candidate dropped out shortly after, his or her presence would have been the most significant reckoning of elite Democrats with their anti-abortion voters since 1992, when the party famously denied Pennsylvania Gov. Bob Casey a prime-time speaking slot for refusing to abandon his convictions about the sanctity of life.

The question is not whether a pro-life Democrat could make some noise, but who would make it?

The Dems have two top-tier candidates in Manchin and Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, the son of the governor, who reportedly wants to run.

But it’s unclear if Casey would run toward or away from his legacy. Fresh off election to a third term in the Senate, he so far has touted only his electoral success in his key home state as a reason to pick him.

Not to be overlooked, however, is Gov. John Bel Edwards of Louisiana. A Catholic Southerner who resembles a Republican when it comes to abortion (and guns), Edwards ran an ad in his 2016 campaign about his family’s decision not to abort after their daughter was diagnosed with spina bifida in the womb. Yet he rejected calls for Planned Parenthood to be blocked from Medicaid funding without further investigation and not before other resources for women could be secured.

Edwards, or former Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly, another pro-life Democrat from a conservative state, could capitalize on the disgust — evident in the election of our current outsider president — that Americans feel toward both parties, not least the stale abortion politics that benefits only party bosses and politicians.

There will be no shortage of faith angles in the 2020 election. So far, however, religion is being deployed to divide the electorate further, with Republicans pandering to the evangelical right and Democrats like Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker appealing to mainstream Protestant liberals.

A pro-life Democratic candidate would instead unify religious people, overwhelming Democrats who affirm abortion on demand as an article of faith and churchgoing Republicans who want to criminalize abortion but are apparently untroubled by policies that demonize and harm vulnerable people throughout American society. Faith leaders on both sides squander their credibility and integrity at election time as they contort their holy texts and social teachings to line up with 100 percent of their party’s platform.

In the middle are millions of people of faith who are torn over the way abortion colors political partisanship.

Indeed, a broad theological consensus exists, articulated most thoughtfully in Catholic social teaching but present in most streams of religious thought, that politics should uphold the dignity of all people, affirm the sanctity of life and prioritize concern for the most vulnerable people.

The party that offers a coherent ethic reflecting these values would capture a majority and do right by all Americans — born and unborn.

(Jacob Lupfer, a frequent commentator on religion and politics, is a writer and consultant in Baltimore. The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily represent those of Religion News Service.)

About the author

Jacob Lupfer

A contributing editor at RNS, Jacob Lupfer is a writer and consultant in Baltimore. His website is www.jacoblupfer.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jlupf. The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily represent those of Religion News Service.

151 Comments

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  • Such a candidate might make some noise, but I doubt much in the way of conversation will come out of it. This is a topic too many are unwilling to bend on in the party. It is the left’s equivalent of the right’s love of guns.

  • A truly pro-life Democrat would be possible.

    Then again they would have to be able to allow the lady to decide.

  • (Today’s fanatical Demmies do NOT want any “Pro-life Democrat” at all. No chance of being elected anything. This article was essentially done the moment Lupfer ‘fessed up to that one fact.)

  • Good grief. Most Democrats ARE pro-life. Ask any Democrat woman it she WANTS to have an abortion. Ask any Democrat man if he WANTS to cause an abortion. Ask any Democrat if he or she would prefer other forms of birth control, including abstinence, to abortion. Ask any of them if they believe in comprehensive sex education and birth control availability for the purpose of avoiding abortions.

  • Good grief – what an absolute liar you are.
    Democrats grovel at the altar of abortion.
    Ask any democrat woman if she wants to have an abortion – the answer is a resounding yes. Why, because they reject life. Ask the pu$$y hat wearers if they WANT abortion – the answer is a resounding yes.
    Democrats kill their own.
    What a shame.
    Actions are stronger than words goatman. It’s not if they WANT to murder their unborn child; it’s do they actually DO it…..
    The answer is yessssss…..

  • Democrats are PROLIFE. They are the ones that support Medicare for All, clean air and water, higher minimum wages and paid family leave.

  • Nope. Democrats have moved too far to the right as it is.

    Fetus worship is a strictly conservative matter.

    A scam to get poor and working class people to vote for politicians who attack their economic interests.

    It is a position which is an anathema to civil liberties. Reducing women to the state of chattel property for being pregnant.

  • Why is your concern for life solely for those gestating? Because it really isn’t concern at all. It is just one of many positions designed to attack people and civil liberties.

    You have zero concern for the born and least of all children. So why should anyone think you care for the unborn?

    Republicans have no trouble covering for child molesting clergy, throwing children in concentration camps and withholding food and medical care from families. Any pretense of being pro life is s joke. That is why fetus worship is s far more honest term for their position.

  • No, they are pro-socialism: Medicare for All, clean air and water, higher minimum wages and paid family leave, none of which they can pay for.

  • Nice try !! Great way to lose in a Dems primary. Also alienate young supporters, especially women, the Democrats were so successful with in 2018 elections.

    And Lupfer should stop assuming everybody is Christian or even religious. No, Democrats are not planning anything special for “mainstream Protestant” liberals. Secular voters are finally a growing share…let the GOP pander to the fundy’s alone!

  • Taxing the churches would hardly pay for anything. Assuming you could find a way to tax only churches and not all non-profits.

    You could confiscate ALL of the assets of the Catholic Church in America, not just a percentage of its possibly taxable income, and run the government for about two weeks in its current state. Add national health care and its impact would be even more paltry.

  • 1 – Confiscating all the receipts of every church in the USA would not even pay for Medicare for All;

    2 – The First Amendment puts a torpedo into that suggestion right below the waterline.

  • We’ve been here.
    You choose death.
    Anyone who ignores the fact the life begins at conception is intellectually dishonest.

  • Democrats are pro-SLAVERY.
    A slave to the state:
    The government pays me an income.
    The government provides me with a shitty apartment.
    The government gives me a third rate edumacation.
    The government gives me barely enough healthcare to keep me alive.
    AND, I get to give the government ALL of my liberty and freedom in exchange for that…
    Get a clue.

  • S1utshaming, how entirely expected. It’s all about reducing women to the status of property. As if cheap dishonest fake moralizing gives you a say in the personal decisions of people. There is nothing moral or even rational about the fetus worship position.

    Nobody requires your input about a woman’s decisions concerning what goes on in her body. Nor are you being asked for it. Not your body, none of your business.

  • Hardly. You prefer lying, s1utshaming, ridiculous emotional appeals and reducing people to property. I prefer respect for the lives of people. Something always absent in your views.

  • YES!!!!
    Well done sir…. well done.

    For my next trick; spuddie will try to explain his way out of a paper bag.

  • He’s just being a troll.
    He’s still mad his parish priest wouldn’t marry him and his mail order bride…

  • Fair enough. You have made it obvious that any alleged concern for life here from you or any fetus worshiper is a sham. Just cheap excuses for attacking women. Ok.

  • We all know that the little cells left in tact eventually become people.
    You really seem too smart not to be able to understand that. I wonder why you choose to ignore that fact?

  • The first thing the country should do is shut down all polling. The polls create the political creature. Humanize politics by stopping the polling.

  • “Secular voters are finally a growing share.”

    You’ve been studying your Freedom From Religion Foundation press releases:

    https://ffrf.org/news/news-releases/item/33257-new-survey-of-8-500-secular-voters-finds-potent-counterforce-to-religious-right

    Over nearly a decade those who self-identify as secular has grown an entire 2 to 3 percent.

    They’re in pockets in the US on both coasts and sufficiently scarce that no politician needs to take them into account.

  • But they aren’t. It’s just a pretense for s1utshaming and silly self righteous declarations. Abortion bans only mean women get severely injured or killed for a fetus worshiper agenda.

    Being a fetus worshiper means you have no concern for people and fake concern for the unborn.

  • And the eggs I buy in a grocery may develop into an omlette. But it isn’t one, nor has to be treated as one.

    People have to be born first.

    If your concern for life only extends to gestation then it is immoral, irrational and phony.

  • Newsflash – most Democrats are pro life. That is, if you go by the real meaning of words not fundygelical lies.

    Democrats take actions that reduce unwanted pregnancy. They take actions that reduce the financial barriers to raising children. They take actions to ensure that people who are born are safe, fed, educated and have access to medical care. Yes, and Democrats care about the physical and emotional health of women. Every bit of that is “pro life.”

    The Republican emphasis on the “poor widdle fetus” is a shell game. It is nothing more than emotional manipulation to drive certain people to vote against their interests.

    The false “pro life” vote brings us people without healthcare, children in cages, school shootings and other mass shootings, cuts in social safety nets, reduced education funding, poisonous water in major cities, elimination of regulations to protect our air and water, and removal of accurate sex ed from public schools. Pro life? None of that is pro life, and much of it serves to increase the number of abortions.

    It is time for liars to held accountable for their lies.

  • Yes, there are hypocrites. But there are also tens of millions who oppose abortion but grudgingly put that aside to support candidates who protect medical access, education, etc.

  • Fetus worshipers are hypocrites by nature. It’s part and parcel with the position.

    It’s only real purpose is to promote economic conservative policies by promising to attack civil liberties of women (but never actually delivering in them).

  • Yes, there is truth on that when we are talking about the right wing. But what about the tens of millions of religious prolife people who vote against policies that shame or control women, but still feel that abortion is wrong?

  • Thanks, Jacob. I hope you are correct. Remember when Jesse Jackson was an ardent right-to-life supporter and Nixon/Ford/Kissinger were all about Planned Parenthood?

  • If they vote for measures which are de facto abortion bans or support judicial action to de hire ban it, they are hypocrites. They are letting religious belief cloud their judgment in an untoward manner. An elected official is supposed to vote in a manner consistent with their constituents, not to demand others follow their sectarian beliefs.

    If you don’t like abortion, don’t have one. If you don’t like others having one, nobody needs to care. You have no rightful say in the matter.

  • Religious belief informs people’s lives. It no more “clouds” judgement than a person’s sense of respect for other’s right does.

    That logic doesn’t work for a society. I can’t say “don’t like tax evasion? Pay your taxes!” It remains wrong to standby and watch a moral wrong and be complicit as a part of the society that allows it.

  • This article is less journalism and more wishful thinking. It also works on the old binary of pro-life vs. pro-choice that is no longer a reality in America. Example: I am a woman, a mother, a progressive Democrat (on social issues but fiscally conservative), a Christian and I am pro-life BECAUSE I am pro-choice. I am for ALL life, including the intellectual life of all women to be able to be their own moral agent in terms of what is best for her life and the life of her family. An increasingly popular understanding of this Pro-life AND pro-choice stand can be found in an understanding of intersectionality, which includes issues of race, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, access to affordable healthcare and quality education, class and economic standing.

    I appreciate RNS’ disclaimer that this author’s perspective does not represent the views of RNS but I must say, I am disappointed that the editors would allow to see print something that is so antiquated and binary and either/or, zero-sum as well as uninformed of more current thinking on intersectionality. The issue of reproductive health, choice and justice of women deserves a far more respectful treatment than this article provides.

  • Your religion has no business ordering my life. What you believe has no bearing on how I must act. People who respect the lives and rights of others know that. Those who don’t have no business wielding public authority.

    That logic is the basis of the entire notion of religious freedom. That we are not beholden to the arbitrary sectarian dictates of a public figure’s religious belief. One can oppose abortion personally but respect the right to have access to it.

  • Lots of Americans are ambivalent about abortion. I am one of them: I would like to see abortion legal, safe, and rare, with plenty of options available to avoid an unwanted pregnancy to begin with, and plenty of support for women to carry their fetuses to term. But since the anti-abortion industry is not really interested in any of those latter issues…

    But I can tell you what this American is not ambivalent about: theocratic control over the intimate details of peoples lives.

  • If you don’t think forcing Women by law to carry a fetus that they don’t want to term, to Support a child they cannot afford, to the detriment of their families and faith, then I don’t think you understand what slave to the state, or slave to theocracy means.

  • Exactly. I’m exactly the same way. I am a liberal on social issues, and want the state to stay out of people’s intimate lives. I’m also a fiscal conservative, and want the government to stay out of the lives of other countries as well, unless we are asked to be there AND we have a compelling National interest, Which we almost never do.

  • This was clearly written by someone who just wants another term for Trump.

    From a purely strategic point of view, this is not the year for something like this. This hypothetical candidate would turn off the vast majority of Democrats. Most Dems are solidly pro-choice. The only possible appeal of a pro-life candidate is their ability to win over Republicans. That’s it. Their only potential strategy is to win over enough Republicans to offset the complete loss of the liberal wing of the Democratic party. Yeah, you might get some disaffected Democrats to come back into the fold, but there’s not going to be enough of them willing to unite behind a single candidate to offset the inevitable losses on the left flank. Winning over Republicans is this candidate’s only viable option in the general election, and Republicans are too rabidly in love with Trump for his base to be chipped away at.

  • The platform of the Democratic Party treats abortion as a basic human right.

    The “pro-life Democrat” ship sailed when Bob Casey was shut out of speaking at the 1992 Democratic Convention.

  • So, what does it mean to want a middle ground on abortion? To want to get away from the totally anti-abortion and totally open legal abortion?
    It isn’t that we need more who follow either extreme. What we need are those who help us find a middle ground – a solution that moves away from either extreme.

    According to a Pew Research study reported in October 2018:
    **58% of Americans believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases
    **37% believe abortion should be illegal in all or most cases.

    By race
    **61% of whites think abortion should be legal in all or most cases
    **60% of Blacks think abortion should be legal in all or most cases
    **49% of Hispanics want legal abortion while 47% think abortion should be illegal

    We don’t really need another politician who is on one of the extremes of “always” and “never”. We need someone who can articulate a middle ground. I suggest we look at what Europe has done to keep this issue from being a political football. Lets find a politician who can talk about drawing lines such as
    **Legal abortion up to 12 weeks, or 16 weeks – no questions asked (or choose a time frame that makes sense in terms of fetal development and viability.
    **Legal abortion when a woman’s life or health are threatened by a pregnancy (what threat, how severe does it have to be?)
    **Legal abortion when – fetal defects? (this really needs to be discussed: does any “defect” apply or only certain defects?)
    **Provision of health care and birthing care, new baby care – by the government?

    One more area needs to be addressed, particularly by those who so oppose abortion. What are you willing to do, willing to have the community do, to encourage women to carry to term a pregnancy they cannot afford?
    **Laws requiring employers give paid time off for pregnancy medical care, birthing and recovery?
    **Laws supporting community/state provided child care for working mothers?
    **Laws helping poor women get decent housing, food, health care, education for the children they do have?

    I don’t want another avowed extremist on either side. I want to hear from someone who is willing to find middle ground. Heaven help me – I might even vote Republican if it turns out a Pub is the one seeking middle ground!

  • The phrase “am pro-life BECAUSE I am pro-choice” goes along well with “I love you but I am going to kill you”.

    The use of the meaningless buzzwords “intersectionality” and “binary” are the icing on the zany “I’m an X but Y” cake.

  • Well said! Being “pro-life” is about more than being against abortion. Limiting the word “pro-life” to be just against abortion leaves the Republicans free to be against access to good health care for all, society being responsible for providing education for all children, laws that give workers (primarily women) time off for pregnancies and caring for sick children, laws that support child care so women can work, immigration practices that separate children from their parents.

  • “But I can tell you what this American is not ambivalent about: theocratic control over the intimate details of peoples lives.”

    After 34,671 of your posts, I believe everyone has figured that out.

  • “So, what does it mean to want a middle ground on abortion?”

    It is rather simple: it means you learned to doublethink:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doublethink

    Had you lived in 1860 you’d want a middle ground on slavery.

    Had you lived in 1938 you’d want a middle ground on exterminating Jews.

    It means your ethics have left the premises.

  • For me it’s not so much about the government as it is people having the right to their own intellectual lives and having their their moral agency respected- by EVERYONE!

    And, it’s about the complexity of people and the issue. It’s so far beyond either/or. The author really needs to get a clue – and RNS needs to stop printing “click bait” articles with no real substance or knowledge of or appreciation for the complexity of the issue.

  • Well, Mark, that’s only if you believe that a cluster of cells is a “person”. If that were so, we would need to make sure that menstruating women, men who have premature ejaculations or masturbate to ejaculation or have coitus interruptus – either intentional or not – and women who have miscarriages are guilty of murder. (And, before you get all hot under the collar with me, 89% of all abortions occur before the 13th week of pregnancy, and 75% of those occur between the 5-9th week.)

    But, if you are so willing to easily write off a woman’s intelligence and ability to make moral decisions for herself as well as the reality (not buzzwords, REALITY) of the complexity of human life as “zany”, you don’t really care about facts or nuances. You want to impose what you want and believe on others, even if that’s not our choice.

    So, I’ll keep this real simple for you: If you don’t want an abortion, don’t have one.

    See? Easy. You can still have your beliefs and I can have mine.

  • No – what it means is that the old way of viewing the issue fails to consider all that needs to be considered. That is what happened with slavery.

    What is not considered in how we view pregnancy now is the woman as a free, whole, separate person. A person entire, without being owned by father or husband. What I think now is that we are redefining women’s place in the law, as individuals, in families, in business, government, society as a whole, as God’s creation.

    We also don’t yet know how to think about sexuality and sexual expression given what we now know about human bodies, evolution, fetal development, human development. When is a life ensouled ? “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Is that when life is ensouled?

    It is a reformulation of ethics that recognizes some things that have either changed or have not been recognized or understood before. Think slavery. Think how Jews were treated, talked about, and attempts at extermination. Think how life is formed.

    We are redefining not doing away with ethics.

  • Well done, E. Hakenson. It is for sure that those people who have claimed to be “pro-life” are not really for life, they are simply against abortion. That moniker “pro-life” really needs to be reclaimed by those who actually care about life, all of it, including after the life is born, the caring, nurturing, training, attending to the needs of that life until God takes that life home to Him..

    The correct name for that group is “anti-abortion”. That is absolutely clear in the limits they apply to their idea of what God requires.

  • I think we are talking about the same things. I have no objection to people, to religion, and to religious beliefs. My objection is always to religious people saying that just because they believe something, I must believe it, too.

  • Freedom of religion has meant freedom from a state church, not freedom from our neighbors’s belief’s. You would need a private island for that to work.

    One can oppose abortion personally while respecting a right to access it. One can also oppose abortion personally and let that actually inform their morality, rather than living a double life.

  • A pox on both houses. It seems the Democrats offer a somewhat better platform, but they have also had their fingers in all kinds of pro-death activities such as drone attacks, medicare cuts, and militarizing the police.

  • Completely and utterly wrong. It is freedom from being legally bound and coerced to follow your neighbor’s religious beliefs.

    People who make claims like yours have a very poor grasp or appreciation for freedom of religion. People who have no respect for the separation of church and state as enshrined by the Establishment clause and a dim view of exercise of religion for faiths other than theirs.

    You are seeking to establish your faith under color of law. Turning religious beliefs become law, one have turns religion into a state endorsed church. It attacks the beliefs and practices of those who do not follow such beliefs.

    “One can also oppose abortion personally and let that actually inform their morality, rather than living a double life.”

    What you propose is not acting in a moral fashion. It is being arrogant and self-serving about one’s faith. To show no respect for the power given by the public for the public’s needs. Religious freedom means nobody is bound by your personal sectarian religious beliefs. Plus there is no morality behind the fetus worship view. It is a morass of s1utshaming, lying and making undue demands on others.

  • So you are against a government being responsible to those being governed.
    Preferring a kleptocracy where taxes and public resources go to the uppermost wealthy and the public is left high and dry.

    Your rallying for serfdom!

  • That has been Democrats as well in my short 27 year old lifetime. Obama didn’t even stop with the drone attacks, and even got us involved in Syria and Yemen.

  • Not anymore. Republicans picked the drone attacks up (a continuation from GW Bush).

    We aren’t leaving either Syria or Yemen in the immediate future. Militarizing the police and opposing medicare and its expansion is all Republican. They also love flooding streets with guns both legal and otherwise.

    It seems that concern for life among conservatives ends at birth.

  • Not at all. If you look at the history following the adoption of the Bill of Rights, States and local governments were still allowed to enforce religious policies. Even in Virginia as late as 1805, you would have paid a tithe to the Episcopal Church as part of your taxes. Massachusetts had a state religion until the 1820’s.

    It wasn’t until incorporation under the 14th amendment began that the 1st amendment began to apply to state and local governments, and even then that has never completely obliterated any ability to base law off of the morality of the religious majority.

    Religious opinion is not some self-defeating poison.

    There is morality in not wanting to kill. I agree, it is not a consistent moral for most people.

  • I am for people not being enslaved by their government.
    Every time the government “gives” you something, you give up a bit of your freedom.
    They pay your healthcare – you can only see “these” doctors.
    They provide you with a place to live – you can only live in a 100 apartment building next to a toxic waste dump.
    You get an income from them – you can ONLY work so many hours…
    You want a free education – you have to go to the local thug-infested high school.
    SLAVERY.
    No chance to get out – ever.

  • “Republicans started it” isn’t the point. Obama was commander and chief. He did not have to continue it.

    Clinton pushed medicare reform through as a bipartisan effort, as well as harsher prison sentencing.

    As I said, the Democratic platform is more “pro-life” in general, but it still picks and chooses.

  • No, it means that you’re willing to cut a deal to save abortion because it ain’t no big deal to you.

    It also means you’d have gone along with the Missouri Compromise.

    That’s what happens with squishy ethics.

    “What is not considered in how we view pregnancy now is the woman as a free, whole, separate person. A person entire, without being owned by father or husband.”

    We are, of course, talking about the fetus, not the woman, not the father. I appreciate changing the topic might advance your argument, but let’s not.

    “When is a life ensouled ?”

    What the heck is “ensoulment”? Why is it relevant? Is it a legal term?

    “It is a reformulation of ethics that recognizes some things that have either changed or have not been recognized or understood before.”

    Uh, you mean like the Third Reich, or the Soviet Union?

    “Think slavery. Think how Jews were treated, talked about, and attempts at extermination.”

    Both of which were intrinsically wrong, just like abortion.

    “We are redefining not doing away with ethics.”

    The Nazis characterized it as “adopting a higher morality”.

    Same thing.

  • That is some heavy duty David Barton level revisionist nonsense right there. There was a compelling reason for disestablishment as what you mentioned before were attacks on religious freedom of its citizens

    “even then that has never completely obliterated any ability to base law off of the morality of the religious majority.”

    Actually all interpretations of the first amendment religious clauses require that a law have a purely secular purpose. One cannot base laws off of purely sectarian religious concerns. Doing so violates the Establishment Clause (See Lemon v. Kurtzman or “The Lemon Test” generally).

    “There is morality in not wanting to kill. I agree, it is not a consistent moral for most people.”

    Typical pointless preening of the fetus worshiper. There is nothing particularly honest about your view here. There is no actual concern for life from you. Only desire to turn women in to chattel property whose body is to be commanded.

  • “Well, Mark, that’s only if you believe that a cluster of cells is a ‘person’.”

    I have a cluster of cells on the tip of my finger. They’re not a person.

    We’re talking about a fetus. Whatever it is, it is one point in an individual human life, which commences with conception and ends with death.

    “But, if you are so willing to easily write off a woman’s intelligence and ability to make moral decisions for herself …”.

    We do it all the time. Women are tried and convicted for murder. We live in a society, not a vacuum, and NO ONE is completely autonomous when it comes to ethics and laws.

    I did not refer to“….the complexity of human life as ‘zany’ …”, I referred to your ideas as zany.

    I’ll keep this real simple for you: if the majority of American choose to make abortion illegal via a constitutional amendment, it will be illegal whether you like or not.

  • Lupfer is all wet. Most Americans and most Democrats are pro-choice and respect the rights of conscience and religious liberty of women. An anti-choice candidate is an absurd impossibility.

  • So you are saying you live in a dictatorship, where leaders are not voted for and chosen by the public. Interesting. Not connected to reality, but interesting.

    Government doesn’t give you anything. It provides something in exchange for the power you invest in them. The price of being governed is to make demands on government. It provides things which are meant to promote the general public welfare.

    They pay your healthcare so you don’t have to go bankrupt due to out of control monopolistic market based medical costs. So you can have access to healthcare without creating a public hazard.

    They you provide you with a place to live because homelessness creates a host of public problems for everyone else.

    They provide regulations and enforcement of them to prevent you from living next to a toxic waste dump and punishes the people doing the dumping. Since you lack the same financial resources to fight such things as the dumpers.

    You get an income because you are providing a service to them as a civil servant or to prevent destitution from creating public hazards and civil unrest.

    Hardly slavery, its the feedback of give and take between the public and the people they choose to govern them.

    Government benefits are not gifts, they are revolution prevention. Preventing the public from reaching a point of such misery, destitution and desperation they would become angry revolution seeking mobs. Tumbril insurance.

  • Krazypantz is all wet. Jefferson ans Madison and the VA legislature ended tax aid to churches in the 1780s.

  • The point is to blame a previous administration for a policy being continued by the current one. Then blame an political party for the stance actually taken by their adversaries

    Clinton did not accomplish medicare reform. Republicans oppose even the half measure in place right now. Evidently the notion of access to healthcare is somehow objectionable. Even if they actually conceived the idea and implemented it first at a state level, before the rest of the nation.

  • What is a “purely secular purpose”? If my religious belief leads me to be against the death penalty because it devalues life, is that too religious? If religious belief informs my respect for persons, property, and a hundred other things, does being religious disqualify my opinion and the opinion of those who agree with me?

    Do you have anything to talk about outside of ad hominem?

  • “I have no objection to people, to religion, and to religious beliefs.”

    So long as they keep it to themselves at home.

  • The short answer is, no.

    But I do wish Spud had been present at Barak Obama’s Call to Renewal Keynote Address in 2006 so she could have set him straight on his “David Barton revisionism” which I am sure did not diminish her support for him in 2008, of course:

    “Secularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering into the public square. Frederick Douglas, Abraham Lincoln, Williams Jennings Bryant, Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King – indeed, the majority of great reformers in American history – were not only motivated by faith, but repeatedly used religious language to argue for their cause. So to say that men and women should not inject their “personal morality” into public policy debates is a practical absurdity. Our law is by definition a codification of morality, much of it grounded in the Judeo-Christian tradition.” — Barak Obama, Call to Renewal Keynote Address, June 28 2006.

  • “What is a “purely secular purpose”?”

    The fact that you have to ask the question tells me a lot about your views of religious freedom.

    Courts have made such judgments. Usually the best way to put it is that it is motivated by something other than religious sectarian dogma.

    “If my religious belief leads me to be against the death penalty because it devalues life, is that too religious?”

    Wrong way to frame the question. Is there a purpose served by banning the death penalty besides “God says so”? If so, you have found a secular purpose.

    “If religious belief informs my respect for persons, property, and a hundred other things, does being religious disqualify my opinion and the opinion of those who agree with me?”

    Sounds more like you are trying to use religion as a way to justify personal views or put them beyond the realm of criticism and discussion. Giving credit to religion in an overbroad manner.

    If your views of a subject are strictly to take a position because you claim “God says so” your opinion isn’t going to be worth very much. Especially if you are demanding I do something and want legal power to force me to do so. Because I don’t honestly have to care what you think God says. Religious freedom is like that, But if you have some other reason, then it I might have to.

    BTW I do not believe for a minute that morality is dictated by religion. Religion is never actually synonymous with morals. Religion provides a shorthand for moral concepts. It is not the origin of them. Nor is invoking arbitrary sectarian beliefs an example of moral thinking.

    “Do you have anything to talk about outside of ad hominem?”

    Its hardly ad hominem. Just not a flattering description of your views.

  • Lost me at saying having an opinion informed by faith means putting my views beyond criticism and discussion. You seem to make several assumptions about religious people.

  • Yes we are in agreement. I’m just owning the fact that my emphasis is a little different. You talked about the “state to stay out of the lives of people’s intimate lives”. I want that, too, but only as a result of the belief that people – especially, in this case, women – have a right to their own intellectual, moral and religious lives. Thanks, Ben.

  • Lupfer is confused. This article should never have made it onto Religion News Service because the writer is unaware of basic facts. One can oppose abortion and support criminalizing it, oppose abortion and believe criminalizing it is bad public policy, support abortion and believe it is bad public policy, or presumably, support it and believe criminalizing it is good public policy. Casey, for instance, was first elected as a so-called “pro-life” person but he has done nothing to harm women like the ghoulish creep he defeated, Slick Rick Santorum. The rest are nonstarters.
    Any debate about abortion is merely a substitute for what any criminalizing or narrowing of access to abortion is really about, which is the subjugation of women. If Lupfer is unaware of this, he is very obviously grossly uninformed about this issue. Lupfer seems to think he is clever, but he has merely revealed himself as a poorly educated concern troll who is generally totally noncognizant about this issue.

  • You lost yourself by deliberately missing the point and engaging in a ridiculous view. The entire point of saying you are following your religious faith in such matters is to avoid taking personal responsibility for them. An attempt to put them outside debate or criticism. It’s not your views it’s God’s (allegedly)

    Saying “God says you must do…” is a fairly worthless argument to make where we have religious feeedom. Your god isn’t going to necessarily be my god or the god of my political constituents. Nor should religions be political parties. It cheapens the concept of faith.

    You need something a little more secular and less selfish if you are making demands as to what people must do, under color of law.

  • We’re in agreement there,too. I’m quite capable of making my own decisions, and do not need someone else to do it for me, especially if they are using the religious opinions of people 2000 years ago.

    Especially.

  • The women matter, too. You can’t just dismiss their lives, their hopes, their plans to focus only on the womb. That woman is more than a womb.

    What you are doing in dismissing the reality and agency of the woman is closer to what the Soviet Union and the Third Reich did in h0w they treated those who would not conform to their preset notions or plans. When idealism ignores reality, someone loses. Women are tired of being the losers.

    You are the Nazi in this argument, insisting on your own “higher morality” and ignoring the reality you impose on women who do have their own wants, wishes, dreams – the life they want to pursue. Women are more than wombs.

  • Wanting to get away from the extremes of “never” and “always” is an attempt to open a door to another viewpoint. We are stuck on seeing the same issue from the left or the right. Lets look at the sides, the front, the back – lets try a new angle on the issue.

    Maybe it won’t work But the two sides facing off across a chasm, yelling at each other, is not getting anywhere either. What we get is the manipulation of Republican state legislators doing ridiculous things that end up getting chopped by the courts. What we get is abortion available for the rich and well off but not available for women of lesser means as they try to limit access. Games playing without really dealing with the fact that we are divided. Lets compromise and end the standoff.

  • “The women matter, too. You can’t just dismiss their lives, their hopes, their plans to focus only on the womb. That woman is more than a womb.”

    And so is the fetus.

    You can’t crucify those in the womb on your cross of autonomy and self.

    “What you are doing in dismissing the reality and agency of the woman is closer to what the Soviet Union and the Third Reich did in h0w they treated those who would not conform to their preset notions or plans.”

    The Soviet Union and the Third Reich compelled abortions. They had much the same mindset as you do.

    That because, like you, they were interested in something other than humanity.

    “You are the Nazi in this argument …”.

    As it turns out, YOU are the Nazi:

    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/7241463_Human_dignity_in_the_Nazi_era_Implications_for_contemporary_bioethics

    “The popularity of such views ideologically prepared German doctors and nurses to accept Nazi social policies promoting survival of only the fittest humans. A historical survey reveals five general presuppositions that strongly impacted medical ethics in the Nazi era.”

    At the core is a belief that some lives – in your arguments “women who do have their own wants, wishes, dreams – the life they want to pursue” – are more valuable than others.

    One does tire of your meaningless slogans substituting for a carefully considered actual moral analysis.

  • So the only reason why I vote for someone is because they are going to give me something?! Mo’ money?!
    Revolution prevention?! Wha?!
    You prove my point yet again.
    Free people don’t rebel.
    People that are free to work where they want, live where they want, see what doctor they want; without government intrusion – they don’t rebel.
    The government paying to keep the populous placated is slavery.
    You might as well flood the streets with opioids to keep them strung out all day….
    Oh wait….

  • What you’re arguing, very simply, is that no one may act as a citizen of the United States, advance ideas in the Public Square, form opinions which could translate into laws, IF they happen to correspond to one or more of the Abrahamic religions.

    This deftly and neatly, although illogically, precludes their banning anything you favor – LGBT whoopee being particularly prominent.

    It does present one minor, itty bitty, teeny little problem:

    this is the exact position the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei took to exterminate Jews, homosexuals, and others.

    In other words, to get what you want today you’re willing to scrap what might save you from extinction tomorrow.

    As our system is designed, people can form and advocate for opinions based on religious beliefs 2,000 year old or older.

    If sufficient them agree, those opinions may become laws, and there is not a single thing you can do about that.

    We live in a society, not a gang of 300 million plus.

  • By that logic, we would need to legalize basically everything. The rich and powerful can always try to abuse priviledge.

    It may be that we need to rethink the entire debate. Just as demanding slaves be fairly treated was the middle ground, but not good.

  • “Wanting to get away from the extremes of ‘never’ and ‘always’ is” known as “waffling”.

    And it is that sort of “waffling” that led to the continuation of slavery and finally the Civil War.

    Either abortion is a moral evil or it is not.

  • I guess you would rather just make up something than respond to what I actually said. What else is new? Your response is obtuse and tone deaf.

    People vote for those who will look out for their interests. Like how bigots flock to Donald Trump because they want him to enact discriminatory laws and government practices against people they hate. 🙂

    “People that are free to work where they want, live where they want, see what doctor they want; without government intrusion – they don’t rebel. ”

    So the wealthy don’t generally rebel. They are the only one with true freedom in such choices. Everyone else is limited in such things by economic opportunity and ability. Those completely shut out of the ability to make such choices are the ones who usually start looking at tumbrils and guillotines.

    “The government paying to keep the populous placated is slavery. ”

    Government meeting the needs of the governed is responsibility. We already see that government is necessary for keeping order. The national parks are being destroyed by people (much like yourself) for shts and giggles because there is no government operations to keep order.

  • I just don’t understand why you are reading a religious periodical, especially one of the caliber of RNS. Guess this is what happens when they print articles at this limited level.

  • People are completely shut out because they are slaves to the government trough.
    No incentive.
    No choice.
    No freedom.
    A slave.

  • Both sides had slave states in the Civil War. The ones that sided with the Union were permitted to carry on with the practice well after the Emancipation Proclamation.

  • Yes, because the Emancipation Proclamation was an act of a Commander-In-Chief to troops at war.

    It had no legal status outside of the area at war.

  • Ah, so your simplistic thinking continues, which informs you and leads you to believe that there’s no relationship between ethics and power. Okay, got it. PS I am a subscriber. Have a great day.

  • Hardly. So voting for and making demands of their leaders is slavery? That is the definition of freedom. Getting your leaders to do as you have mandated they do for you. You seem to forget who is the one choosing the leaders of the government and making the demands for such services.

    You are pretending we are a dictatorship. Your screed here is one of the stupidest things you have posted. Pure libertarian garbage. Excuses for sociopathic behavior without recourse.

    Slavery is having leaders making demands on you with nothing in return. Like how our current tax plan drains money and resources from the general public and delivers them wage stagnation, loss of services, and job losses.

    You seem to deal with extreme ridiculous hyperbole. Already at the bottom of a slippery slope absurdum argument.

    A responsible government meets the needs of the public and prevents/mitigates public hazards when possible.

    Homelessness, destitution, lack of access to medical care, pollution, corruption, lack of education, create problems for all people. Ones which can be remedied and a responsible government is one which addresses them.

    Nobody picks up the garbage at Galt’s Gulch. They are too busy calling themselves superior to bother.

  • Would that your thinking WERE simplistic.

    Instead it’s devious.

    A discussion about whether abortion is ethical, “yes or no”, is converted into “It’s all about me!”, “period”.

    We just bypass analyzing abortion and head right for what you want.

    You and BiO do have a lot in common.

    Yes, there may be in some cases an issue of power in an ethical consideration.

    In your case, and in BiO’s, that relationship can be stated quite simply:

    “NO ONE can tell me what to do.”

  • I am sure you’re aware the war only became “about slavery” when the North started losing its taste for bloodshed.

  • Btw, you’re a subscriber to Disqus.

    RNS sells the articles to printed publications – it is called “syndication”.

  • So, I won’t do or think what you want me to do or or think so I’m being a “devious” and “stubborn”. Like a little child. Not exactly an original traditional male critique of women. Here’s the deal: I’m not asking you to change your mind. You can think whatever you want. You just can’t impose your thoughts on me or anyone else.

    There’s a word for that: Democracy.

    We obviously have nothing else to say to one another. But, I’m sure you’ll want the last word. So here, listen to Bob Dylan. I have a feeling you’ll understand Mr. Jones. Have a great day. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=42&v=hC4r3QFnmQ8

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNgwsT295G8

    Here’s the deal: you don’t want to talk about the morality of abortion. We both know why.

    We pass laws all the time that some people do not like.

    There’s a word for that: Democracy.

    No one cares to impose thoughts on you. Once the law is passed no one but your cares what you think. You obey it or you pay the consequences.

    You’re a ideologue, not a debater, and clearly not an ethicist.

    Have a great life.

  • Manchin generally votes with Republicans on key votes, so if he ran as the prolife Democrat, it would strengthen the case of the “pro-choice” people that being pro-life is not really being Democratic. So I hope he doesn’t. Casey is not his father. He votes with Planned Parenthood and NARAL more often than with pro-lifers, and he has steadily moved more and more away from being pro-lfe. So he would not likely run as pro-life.

    Gov. Edwards is a much more promising candidate. He is a Democrat who won in a red state. He has a pretty good record on improving the social safety net, which lessens the pressure on the poor to abort and also identifies him as a basically mainstream Democrat. He’s certainly no DINO, which Manchin largely is. He is politically smart and could make an impact in the primaries, especially as the lone pro-life Democrat among a large field who will mostly be vying to be the most pro-abortion candidate (the “pro-choice” PACs are among the biggest in the USA, so Democrats usually fight hard to get their money). But it probably doesn’t make sense for him personally, since the Party leadership will pull out all the stops to keep him from getting the nomination and he has a more promising political career in his home state. In the early part of the race, 15-20% could be enough to win a primary and he certainly has potential for that, but when the field narrows down and the Party leadership starts playing its tricks it would be hard for him to survive.

  • No, I would not take my wife or our two beautiful children inside a RC church….we did get blessed at a Buddhist temple during our wedding, however.

    Even though I disagree with you…I would never repeat your disgraceful smear of my wife or disparage your marriage. If you are married, I hope your spouse is doing well !!

  • You could say the same thing about many organizations and groups…who do pay taxes. Everybody should contribute.

  • CNN?

    https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/whats-driving-the-growth-of-catholic-churches-in-the-bible-belt-91435

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_in_the_United_States#Demographics

    “Between 1990 and 2008, there were 11 million additional Catholics. The growth in the Latino population accounted for 9 million of these. They comprised 32% of all American Catholics in 2008 as opposed to 20% in 1990. The percentage of Hispanics who identified as Catholic dropped from 67% in 2010 to 55% in 2013.”

    World-wide Catholic growth has been exponential.

  • You apparently don’t know the difference between local property taxes and a Federal income tax.

  • I only read the first four paragraphs and realized that this piece isn’t worth my time because it makes no sense at all. Junk.

  • I’d be happy to vote for a genuine pro life democrat. Unfortunately the democratic party has moved so far left that it’s pushing prolifers away. I believe that it was prolifers that gave the presidency to trump last election. Most don’t like trump much but the democratic party is so deep in its pro choice stance that it is pushing many people away. But I guess they just cant refuse the millions of dollars coming in from Planned parenthood. 😞

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