Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Abortion, the Democratic Party, and Single-Issue Voting

Blue States, Red States
Last week I posted the following on Facebook:
If you're thinking about voting Democratic, or when you try to get talked out of the dreaded "single-issue voting," just remember that you're voting for someone in a party that has backed killing babies ("fetus" being the standard euphemism) in the name of "unwanted pregnancies." The innocents killed in all our recent wars pales in comparison. If that's someone you can trust, then go for it.
In this post I want to follow-up and first address what the Democratic Platform is with respect to abortion.  Then I offer a few remarks on single-issue voting.

Here is the 2012 Democratic Party Platform (the next platform is due in 2016) on abortion with analysis, noting what it does and does not say:

Protecting A Woman's Right to Choose. The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman's right to make decisions regarding her pregnancy, including a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay. [TB: How could a woman have an abortion if she cannot pay?  One way is through taxpayers paying for it--even those opposed to abortion.  Another is by forcing companies to pay for it, like Hobby Lobby.  Democrats are all over the internet as supporting taxes for abortion and decrying the Hobby Lobby decision.  Democrats also like to talk a lot about choice.  But of course Roe egregiously and on the basis of terrible arguments took away the rights of states to choose to have laws on beginning of life issues (such as when a human organism has a legal right to life.)  Before the decision, states had the legal right to decide abortion issues.  In the name of choice, that choice was rescinded.]

We oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right.
[TB: Notice the "any" and "all."  This would then include opposition against people being taxed to pay for abortions.  It would include protesting outside an abortion clinic or having women view an ultrasound of the baby before making a decision.  Again, notice the "any" and "all" not "most" or "unreasonable."]

Abortion is an intensely personal decision between a woman, her family, her doctor, and her clergy;
[TB: Notice there is no mention of a man or husband.]

there is no place for politicians or government to get in the way. [TB: There are to be no laws restricting this "right" to kill a human being whatsoever.]  

We also recognize that health care and education help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and thereby also reduce the need for abortions. [TB: It is noteworthy
 that the phrase that it should be rare is strikingly absent. Here is the old 2004 Platform which included that abortion "should be safe, legal, and rare." The phrase was intentionally dropped in 2012.  Why?  Because it places a stigma on abortion.  If there is nothing wrong with abortion, why should it be rare?  This never made sense in the old platform.  The current statement does not say anything about what should or should not be.  It simply states that Democrats note a boring empirical fact.]

We strongly and unequivocally support a woman's decision to have a child by providing affordable health care and ensuring the availability of and access to programs that help women during pregnancy and after the birth of a child, including caring adoption programs.  [TB: Adoption is one option Democrats support (that's good) but it's one option among others.  And there is no statement that abortions should be restricted--on the contrary, the Democratic Party is against "any" and "all" efforts to weaken or undermine the "right" to abort another human.]
Single-Issue Voting

What is it?  Is a single-issue voter someone who only votes for state amendments if they are about a single issue, say, abortion?  Is a single-issue voter someone who is in a party that is only for or against a single issue?  There are some obscure parties that only have a platform on a single issue.  I suppose someone in that party might be said to be a single-issue voter.  But the Republican and Democratic parties are not such parties and the phenomenon of "single-issue voting" is never raised in the States in virtue of single-issue parties.

I think most often it is in the discussion over abortion that the phenomenon of single-issue voting is raised.  And more often than not, it seems to me, the issue is raised by Democrats.  Why?  Because it is polemically useful in deflecting attention from the horror of abortion and how it does not fit with the sensibilities of ordinary citizens who do not take time to think about the issue.  Labeling someone as a single-issue voter can make the person feel stupid and out of touch with the complexities of politics.  It is useful to distract attention from an issue of immense moral and political consequences and minimize the psychological impact of abortion on the average voter. 

In reality, there probably are no single-issue voters in any meaningful sense.  People vote because of numerous issues about which they are concerned.  But the practice of abortion--which kill millions of innocent lives each year--is a defining issue.  Other issues pale in comparison.  And I for one cannot vote for someone who is uncompromisingly pro-abortion.  For such a person is either deeply confused or has moral sentiments so out of touch with reality that they cannot be trusted to make and execute laws. 

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