First we had Giuliani and his Washington state supporters aping Reagan with this line — “My 80% friend is not my 20% enemy” — a line falsely attributed to Reagan. Now we have Romney claiming that his change of heart on abortion is similar to Reagan’s. Romney says his position is, “exactly what Ronald Reagan did. As governor, he was adamantly pro-choice. He became pro-life as he experienced life.” Washington state republicans took up the same line in favor of Romney at the Evergreen Leadership Conference earlier this year and continue to try and sell it to us to this day as Garry Pagon says in this post — “Ronald Reagan signed the most liberal abortion law in the nation when he was governor of California, and only later changed his mind to become a champion for the right to life as President. If we cannot rally and welcome new converts to the cause, we will never have the political strength we need to change the law.”
Like the Giuliani 80/20 line, this revisionist history defies reality and takes advantage of the electorate’s short memory or ignorance of the public abortion debate pre Roe v. Wade.
When Reagan signed California’s abortion law there was no “pro-choice” movement, just a pro-abortion movement. With the sexual revolution of the 60’s the demand for abortion increased, especially on the part of men. There were many doctors doing abortions illegally who saw the huge money making potential in legalized abortion. This was the situation here in our own state of Washington. Planned Parenthood of King County (Lee Minto who filed I-20) partnered with politicians (Dan Evans, Joel Pritchard, Slade Gorton) and local doctors performing illegal abortions (Dr. A. Frans Koome) and came up with a legislative strategy to legalize abortion. The marketing slogans of “choice”, “women’s health”, “women’s liberation”, “every child a wanted child”, etc. were conjured up to put words in the mouths of politicians and the public so they could mindlessly pin a smiley face on abortion. The slogan “Saving Children is Statist” wasn’t invented until 2007.
Reagan was not part of this movement.
Conversely there was no pro-life movement. The right to life was something that most American’s had taken for granted up to this point. Recognizing the abortion movement for what it was — a radical attack on the human person emanating from the nation that had liberated Hitler’s death camps — was a new concept that the public still can’t seem to get their minds around. Hence, the desperate and emotional attachment to the word “choice”. To this day it’s as if the entire nation has come to suffer from a communal case of Stockholm syndrome.
It is understandable that in this environment — a nation proud of its human rights achievements, freedoms, and superiority; with a well financed, organized, motivated, politically savvy pro-abortion movement; combined with a pro-abortion drum-beat from a media, political, legal, and medical elite hell-bent on legalization, no pro-life movement, no knowledge of where abortion would lead the country — Reagan signed the law he did. He was anything but “adamantly pro-choice” and from the sound of it confused and conflicted. He had neither full knowledge of the intent of the bill or the carnage that was to come. Furthermore, he was under incredible pressure to act so that it appears he could not have given full consent of the will.
We also need to remember all the promises made by the abortion industry: less abortion, wanted children would mean less child abuse, healthier women, healthier children, better relations between men and women, more freedom, better sex, more better sex, oh and don’t forget really great sex. Promise Americans better sex and they’ll practically kill their first-born to get it.
Romney can claim none of these mitigating circumstances.
Thirty-five years after Roe and none of the abortion movement’s promises have come true. Thirty-five years after Roe the number of abortions is approaching 50 million in the US alone. Thirty-five years after Roe we know that abortion is not safe. Thirty-five years after Roe we can see a human child developing in the womb. Thirty-five years after Roe and AG Christine Gregoire gives nurses free reign to hand out RU-486 so a women can lie alone in a back-bedroom abortion while her dead child bleeds from her body. Thirty-five years after Roe a band of nobodies called the WA state board of pharmacy decides to take the Constitutional right not to participate in the killing of another person from the pharmacy profession. Thirty-five years after Roe the former Governor of Washington, Booth Gardner, begins an attack on the old and infirm and defenseless through legalized euthanasia. Thirty-five years after Roe and the Washington State Superintendant of Education is about to unleash on school children the idea that killing a child is equal to the act of giving life to a child. Thirty-five years after Roe and the University of Washington begins breeding humans for the express purpose of harvesting their body parts. Thirty-five years after Roe and the nation’s scientists begin cross-breeding humans with animals for….what?..better sex?
That’s the environment in which Mitt Romney now wants to play footsie with the pro-life movement. That’s the environment in which Mitt Romney wants to “send it back to the states.” That’s the environment in which he wants to claim he’s just like Reagan. Real converts to the pro-life cause know and understand what is at stake. We welcome converts to the cause but they need to have the will to act if they are going to be given the power to act.
Mr. Romney you sound like a well-meaning man who wants to do the right thing but 35 years after Roe it’s later that you think.