I was startled to read this: Aggressive Incrementalism: A Winning Strategy for Pro-Lifers by Pete Spiliakos. Not because Spiliakos said anything I don't agree with, but because the author talks about how available late-term abortion on demand is in the US. Of course it is, but I always think that well, at least the Americans have some legal abortion restrictions unlike us Canadians. I guess I'm naive.
Spiliakos makes some good points about political pro-life strategies for Republicans. Our own Conservative MPs could learn a thing or two from his advice.
"In the last few presidential elections, the strategy of the Republican presidential candidate has been to talk about abortion only when asked. The purpose seems to be to signal pro-life views while not alienating voters for whom abortion is a low priority issue. This strategy is about mobilizing an existing voting base and not at all about persuasion. It is almost an exaggeration of the general Republican approach to electoral politics recently.
This “speak only when spoken to” approach to abortion seems cautious, but it is really foolhardy. It allows Democrats and their media allies [to] decide when and how the abortion issue is discussed. So in a country in which third trimester abortions are legal on-demand, our abortion discussion centers on questions like “So why are you against the removal of a tiny clump of rapist-produced cells?” Republicans not choosing to talk about abortion doesn’t mean that we don’t talk about abortion. It means that we only talk about the issue when and how liberals choose."
Tim Hudak immediately comes to mind. Mr. Hudak barely spoke at all in the last Ontario election, when he was spoken to about abortion. Rather he fell all over himself with what many of us had thought was his pro-life world view, only to make a quick retreat to distance himself from himself.
In the next election he won't even do that. He'll pull a Mr. Harper. With his nice big spread in the Ottawa Citizen yesterday, the A word wasn't raised, and if it ever does get raised, he'll shut it down quicker than you can say I told you so. Judging from the number of abortion related letters I've sent to numerous Conservative MPPs that elicited not so much as the expected form letter response, I think I can safely conclude Mr. Hudak has told his MPPs to keep their mouths shut on the abortion issue. When the abortion issue is raised there will be no reply at all: see no evil hear no evil speak no evil. That's how the Ontario Conservatives will try and get in power.
I have already made a decision about how I will vote in the next election, Federal or Ontario. I will start by asking all the candidates in my riding about what they think about abortion. Their answer, if they have to courage to answer me, will decide how I vote.
I have voted Conservative pretty much my entire life. That automatic nod to the Conservatives has now come to an end unless the Conservative candidates respond favourably to my question.
Speaking of naive, many of us pro-life people kept telling ourselves that once the Conservatives got into power Federally that things would change. Then after they won a minority government we thought, okay they haven’t done anything, so let's wait for that majority and then they'll do something. They didn't. Silly us.
If another candidate gives me an answer that would support some legal restriction on abortion, say a ban on late-term abortions, they would get my vote.
Spiliakos then says:
"In my experience, a substantial number of self-identified pro-choicers are in favor of generally restricting late-term abortions. Many are not even aware that such abortions are legal or that President Obama supports them. It isn't simply that such pro-choicers could become allies in moving politics in a slightly more pro-life direction (though it is that too.) To some extent, presence can determine issue salience. It is all well and good to have some vague idea that late-term abortion exists and that President Obama is "pro-choice." It is another altogether to see human beings and know that some politicians are in favor of their destruction at-will."
Spiliakos could be writing about Canada. I think we all know that there are a lot of Canadians who are against late-term abortions, yet they don't all call themselves pro-life. In fact LifeCanada's latest poll commissioned by Environics and published just last week tells us that :
"Two-thirds (65%) of Canadians think abortion should be illegal in the last three months."
Unlike most politicians, I don't think publicly stating that one is against late-term abortion is a nail in the coffin of a political career. And apparently a majority of Canadians are also against late-term abortions. All we need, is for a few good, closet anti-late-term abortion men and women candidates to say so. They might be surprised at the result.