It’s such an obvious idea that it’s surprising more evangelicals haven’t embraced it yet.
Eric Sapp, writing at the Christian Post, makes the welcome argument that pro-lifers — especially those who vote as if that’s the only issue that matters — should vote for Hillary Clinton.
(To be fair, this is not the publication itself giving an endorsement, just a guest contributor. Furthermore, to buffer any pushback, they offer a response from Dr. Richard Land, the Post‘s Executive Editor.)
But let’s get to a portion of Sapp’s argument:
Here’s the question pro-life Christians must ask: do we care more about talking about the unborn, or do we actually want to do something to prevent abortions?
Want to guess which political party is more effective at reducing poverty and unwanted pregnancies? I’ll give you a hint. It’s not the “pro-life” Party that in this last Congressional session alone fought to cut medical care for poor mothers and children, food programs for kids, and contraception coverage and access for women.
That by itself is an excellent reason the anti-abortion crowd should support Clinton.
If you want fewer abortions, then the best way to achieve it is to prevent unwanted pregnancies. That means making contraception widely available and putting programs in place that will help poor families cope with the new addition. Trying to ban abortion wholesale — which is all Republicans ever seem to talk about — is almost certainly not going to happen.
Sapp, however, goes off the track at times. His argument against voting for a Republican on this issue is that they’re not anti-abortion enough. By allowing exceptions for rape and incest in their anti-abortion bills, they’re sending the hypocritical message that abortions are sometimes okay. Pro-choice politicians don’t harbor that hypocrisy, he says:
I want to be clear, and we all need to be honest. No presidential candidate or party leadership advocates for protecting all unborn children. But at least “pro-choice” politicians who believe the fetus is not a child are being morally consistent.
I would argue those exceptions from Republicans are a way to buffer themselves against charges of complete cruelty and disregard for women and an attempt at passing through some restrictions even if they can’t get all of them. (Not that it makes their position much better.) It’s pragmatism, not hypocrisy of belief. If they could ban all abortions, they would.
Sapp also argues that Republicans, when they had control of Congress, the Presidency, and the Supreme Court, didn’t put an end to abortion rights, which is why Christians shouldn’t trust them now. As if they were lazy or not committed to the cause… rather than keenly aware of just how problematic that position was and how there would surely be a political price to pay if they forced women to go through with their pregnancies no matter what.
But at least he gets these statistics right:
Abortions rose steadily during the tenure of the first “pro-life” Republican President, Ronald Reagan. They reached their highest level under President H. W. Bush. Abortions then dropped dramatically under President Clinton, falling to 60% of the high under his pro-life Republican predecessor. That downward trend stalled during most of President W. Bush’s tenure, and remained basically flat until the final two years of his term when Democrats retook Congress. And then abortions plunged again under Obama, falling to their lowest point in 40 years.
So let’s go back to his main argument: Is Hillary Clinton better on helping the poor? Is she more committed to making sure people have access to contraception and health care? Is she doing everything she can to prevent women from being in a position where abortion might become an option?
If the answer is yes, and you want to see fewer abortions, then she’s your candidate.
Trump is all talk. Trump knows so little about the conservative stance on the issue that punishing women for having abortions seemed like a logical move at one point. Trump would make life harder for the poor, work to undo the Affordable Care Act, and has shown throughout the campaign that women only have value to him depending on how well they meet his standard of beauty.
But if they were really committed to their principles, even on the abortion issue, then Clinton would be a simple and obvious choice.