When Not to Vote for a Pro-life Politician

A number of pro-life groups are hawking McCain as pro-life. Let’s say he really is pro-life (a leap of faith): should we vote for him, considering his other positions?

For a variety of reasons, abortion is of central importance importance for me as a voter–making personhood and moral status conditional on extraneous concerns opens a huge cans of worms. That said, and as I’ve pointed out before, pro-lifers need to be willing to discipline their own, and not be manipulated by just anyone claiming to be pro-life. Witness how the civil rights movement has been hijacked by any politician try to score quick points and deflect legitimate concern about his conduct. Or for that matter, how a politician can wrap himself in the American flag and say that those who doubt him are unpatriotic.

So, let’s take a hypothetical situation. Someone is coming to your town to speak about abortion, and he is a very effective, dynamic speaker who has turned people around to the pro-life cause. You even offer him a bed in your own home to lend a hand.

Well, even if he is a good speaker, let’s say his conduct at your house is bad. He drinks milk straight from the carton, he steals a credit card from you and maxes it out, and manages to alienate your neighbors and get them mad at you. At this points, you wouldn’t invite him back, and you’d be wise to warn others about this behavior. Even if he has done good, this irresponsibility is intolerable and may eventually damage the movement as a whole. It’s not that you are no longer pro-life, it’s just you ensuring that you or others don’t get conned.

So here we are: a president who is genuinely pro-life has run up our national debt, has an arrogant fortress mentality when dealing with the American public and has managed to wreck our international credibility, killing quite a few people in the process. Now I don’t deny that Mr. Bush is genuinely against abortion, but given his utter lack of judgment in so many other necessary facets of the presidency, I feel justified in wanting him out pronto. Likewise, I don’t want his running dog in the Senate, McCain, to promote the same idiocies for another four years (quite possibly bombing Iran in the bargain), especially since his pro-life credentials are dubious!

This doesn’t mean that I’ll vote pro-choice, but I will not support McCain, and will not let the abortion issue blackmail me. Feminists for Life, Birthright and Care Net will all be there fighting the good fight no matter who wins or loses–we should be always in the trenches with them too, and not make winning elections with dubious politicians the backbone of the movement.

2 thoughts on “When Not to Vote for a Pro-life Politician

  1. Adam Graham

    It should also be pointed out in the interest of fairness that while McCain’s generally “okay” on abortion, he’s actually for federal funding of Embryonic Stem Cell Research.

  2. emily

    Yeah, McCain is a bit disppointing on most issues — and as Adam said, he does support embryonic stem cell research as well.

    Obama, on the other hand, downright scares me with his virulent hatred of life.
    (I’m no fan of Hillary, either, but at least she would provide protections to infants born alive after botched abortions…)

    If my only choices on the ballot in November are whoever the Democratic nominee will be and John McCain, I’m going to have to go the write-in route or just abstain altogether.

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