Politics of Appeasement

Commentary by Judie Brown

A few days ago I joined with several pro-life leaders in signing an ad that focused attention on Dr. James Dobson and other Christian leaders who had celebrated the Supreme Court's decision in the Gonzales v. Carhart case. We did so because it is of specific concern to each of us that the facts contained in the actual Supreme Court decision and its ultimate impact on our struggle to end abortion are not clearly understood by some-and perhaps intentionally distorted or ignored by others.

While not surprising, it is of some concern that those who lashed out at the ad's signers are in a state of denial, and in this particular case, that condition could be more costly to the babies than anyone can imagine. Allow me to explain.

Regardless of the wide variety of opinions on the court's decision, the effect of that ruling on the future well being of preborn children and their right to life is nil. In the long run, not a single preborn child will be protected under this ruling. We tried to make that case in the ad.

In addition, one simple fact-that the justices gave credence to the concept that abortion is acceptable as long as a certain procedure is no longer used-should have horrified great men like Dr. Dobson rather than leading him to celebrate the ruling. As we pointed out in the ad (and will be doing so again as the ad continues to run in other publications), "This wicked ruling does not even prohibit aborting partially born children. It is not a ban, but a partial-birth abortion manual. These 'pro-life' justices give instructions on what can be called the Navel Birth Abortion, only a four inch variation from a textbook PBA [Partial Birth Abortion]."

Pointing out to Dr. Dobson and others that the celebration of such a sad, cruel Supreme Court ruling is a "mockery of the goodwill of rank-and-file pro-lifers" is not an attack on Dr. Dobson but rather a wake-up call. Asking Dr. Dobson and those who agree with his position to repent of their support for this sad, cruel Supreme Court ruling is in fact a sincere plea based on our respect for them and, more importantly, our respect for the truth.

The truth in this case is not a matter of opinion but rather an honest assessment of reality.

The sad fact-and the reason the ad was prepared in the first place-is that moral relativism (political correctness, if you will) has crept into pro-life politics and blinded many from seeing the difference between fact and fiction.

As someone who has been involved in efforts to expose the hypocrisy of the partial-birth abortion charade for years, I can assure you that there have been plenty of opportunities for Dr. Dobson and others to re-examine their support for this deceptive "ban" and to expose it for what it really is ? a legislative proposition created for political reasons. As such, the alleged ban has never had any actual effect on the overall goal of restoring absolute protection to every single innocent preborn baby.

Once the ad ran, groups such as the National Right to Life Committee came to Dr. Dobson's defense, calling the ad an "attack" on him. Nothing could be farther from the truth; but there is no way that National Right to Life, the architect of the so-called ban, is going to admit that perhaps its proposed strategy and the resulting Supreme Court decision are in error. While the NRLC claimed "complete disagreement" with the ad, their spokesman went on to perpetuate the lie by stating, "It's the first time that the court has allowed the legislative branch to outlaw a specific abortion procedure."

It would seem that either NRLC has not read the actual decision, which bans nothing, or it has chosen to stick to the story it has been telling for the past fifteen years. The partial birth abortion "ban" never was a true ban, but rather a regulatory measure; nothing more and nothing less. That fact has never changed, yet it has always been denied by the legislation's ardent supporters. There has been nearly unanimous refusal to point out that the partial birth abortion law permits the very procedure it claimed to ban in cases where the life of the mother is purportedly at stake.

Some years ago, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher said, "The wisdom of hindsight, so useful to historians and indeed to authors of memoirs, is sadly denied to practicing politicians."

I would suggest to all those who insist on calling the Gonzales v. Carhart decision a victory that they take the time to analyze the precise wording of that decision and weigh its effect on the struggle to restore personhood.

Mrs. Thatcher once reminded her countrymen that when consensus among a particular group of people becomes more important than the principles upon which that group of people claims to stand, "abandoning all beliefs, principles, values and policies" is the result. Such appears to be the case among those who have for so long supported a politically-motivated effort that has resulted in nothing of substance.

The entire partial-birth abortion campaign of these past many years has simply been an exercise in political appeasement. And frankly, this attempt to appease politicians by offering them opportunities to do nothing of value, while claiming to be working hard at ending abortion, has resulted in preborn children paying a terrible price: the loss of their lives. The politics of appeasement has gotten the pro-life movement nowhere. Not convinced? Then just take a look at the current pathetic malaise among presidential candidates regarding their positions on abortion.

It seems to me that by pacifying the very people who should be steadfast and crystal clear in their actions and words on the basic question of whether it is ever permissible to murder an innocent preborn child, the pro-life movement as a whole has produced nothing of actual substance for the babies. Politics as usual is simply not the answer.

It's time for all of us to repent of our political inertia, heed the words of Christ and resolve with renewed vigor to abandon all else; we must follow Christ, focus on Christ, heed His truth, preach His truth and leave behind all that is not of Christ. It's time to take a stand with courage, without apology and with renewal of commitment. It's time to agree that we will never participate in any political or legislative campaign that in any way emphasizes what is politically attainable rather than what is morally correct.

Release issued: 4 Jun 07