It wasn’t all that long ago in contemporary American political history when conservatives were shocked that leading feminists excused Bill Clinton’s abuse of power with an intern while president of the United States as “one free grope.” Of course, not too long after, there was a Republican candidate for president whose live-mic comments about groping women were explained away as boys being boys. Some, if not many, for whom character matters, looked away because Supreme Court justice appointments matter a great deal. And if Donald Trump would do what the Federalist Society said and appointed conservative justices, Roe v. Wade might end.
And so it happened. But at what cost to virtue?
Elections don’t always bring out the best in people. And in Georgia right now, we have a Republican candidate accused of paying for an abortion for a woman who is the mother of another one of his children. He has children with multiple women, which he asks us to overlook because he now lives in another house, as he puts it.
I pray that Hershel Walker is a changed and healed man. But what are Republicans doing? We can watch Republican pundits explain away the alleged abortion because of numbers in the Senate.
Meanwhile, in Arizona, Democratic Senator Mark Kelly, running for reelection, will only say that he supports what Roe v. Wade was when asked in a debate what he supports when it comes to abortion. John Fetterman, a Democrat running for a Senate seat in Pennsylvania, was asked if he supports “any restrictions on abortion.” He immediately replied, “I don’t.” When pressed, “even in the third trimester?” he said, “I believe that choice is between a woman, her doctor and a god if she prays to one.” Thank you for your honesty. That’s the Democratic Party’s position, which is maddening for people who want competition for the pro-life vote.
Former Democratic congressman Dan Lipinski of Illinois was primaried out of office by the abortion industry for being pro-life. Officials like Lipinski in the Democratic Party are few and far between, but that shouldn’t be so. Especially now, after Roe.
Upon arriving in Milwaukee for a talk to Wisconsin Right to Life, the first thing I noticed after leaving the airport was a billboard that warned: “ABORTION GONE. BIRTH CONTROL NEXT? ELECTIONS MATTER. VOTE DEMOCRAT.”
In these months after Roe v. Wade was overturned, we need to fight for an end to histrionics. It’s not like you’ll hear a full-throated defense of Humanae Vitae at most local parish churches. Which is one reason, 49 years after Roe, to be extra sensitive to the confusion and the suffering women — and men — have endured under the lie of Roe.
Democratic congresswoman Cori Bush offers a specific and unique and urgent challenge in the midst of the mess of politics and culture. She’s an advocate of legal abortion. But in conjunction with her recent book, she has talked about how her abortion was an assembly-line experience — especially as she came to rethink the decision she was pressured into. The abortionist ignored her.
On a recent episode of “The View,” she talked about what it meant to reflect on her abortion after the end of Roe 20 year later: “This was actually rape. I thought it was my fault before. … When I went to go have that abortion, I was treated so differently. They said, ‘Go into counseling.’ So, I went into the room to get counseling.” They didn’t talk to her about adoption. They said her baby was underweight. “You can always get pregnant again. You are going to wind up on welfare.” She overheard white girls talking about how they were being connected to resources.
This is a place for common ground. This is a place where people who love children and women and families can meet.
No woman should think her rape wasn’t rape. Or that her baby isn’t hers to have a parenting plan for — which, certainly, could mean adoption.
We need to find a way to band with the Cori Bushes of the country to make sure that no man we support in order for one party to hold a majority in the Senate makes her feel like abortion is her only option.
This is a time for creative opportunities to support life. Please, let’s not miss it by getting lost in a numbers game.
Kathryn Jean Lopez is a senior fellow at the National Review Institute and editor-at-large of National Review.