Saturday, January 10, 2009

Palin: The Explosive Abortion Issue

Picture of Trig Palin as a newborn . . .

I count myself as strongly pro-life, but I've argued for a pragmatic approach to the abortion issue. I know, you know, and Sarah knows there is nothing like a majority in the Congress -- or among the states (three-fourths of them needed) to pass a constitutional amendment outlawing abortion.

The last time a Human Life Amendment (see Wikipedia) was brought up in the Senate was 1983, and it failed to get even a majority, let alone the two-thirds vote it needed.

Justice Antonin Scalia, who is personally opposed to abortion, has said, "The Constitution does not permit abortion. The Constitution does not prohibit abortion." The critical point here is not whether one "agrees" with Scalia, but rather that what he says is true, which it is. (The implication in Scalia's statement is that the issue should go back to the states, which probably isn't going to happen. Things will stay as they are.)

Scalia is sometimes sniffed at by leftists as an "originalist." In fact, an originalist is someone who believes the Constitution means what it says. It doesn't mean what the latest Gallup Polls indicates a majority wishes it said.

Sarah's core group is anti-abortion. However, as her number of supporters grows, it will become more and more diverse. People will also come to understand that Gov. Palin embraces a combination of conservative, libertarian, and populist principles.

Her motto has been: "Serve the people." Her motto is NOT "Serve the people who believe exactly as I do." She has said she personally opposes abortion, but that she has no interest in "criminalizing" it. By the way, neither do I. Neither I guess would Scalia.

One of the chapters in my book on Sarah Palin will deal with feminists who support her, including Elaine Lafferty, Shelley Mandell (the head of the Los Angeles chapter of NOW who endorsed Sarah), and Camille Paglia. That chapter will deal with Sarah's obligation as a potential President to those women and others like them.

The key is a question of respect -- respect for those whose views differ from Palin's on one or more issues.

I've had discussions with some strong pro-lifers , including one woman who heads a pro-life PAC. She understands very well what I'm saying about abortion as an issue, that it's one of conscience and education, not laws, and she generally agrees. In time, I think most of the staunch pro-lifers on in Sarah's camp will also agree.

No one sound of mind wants to paint Sarah into a corner that would lead to her inevitable defeat. We can't ask her to run in an imaginary America; she has to run in the nation as it is. Sarah is a person who leads by example, not by barking out orders and using strong-arm tactics.

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