The Blog

When Life Begins

A new story in Time bolsters the pro-life case--and points to why President Bush should press for a partial-birth abortion ban.

11:00 PM, Nov 13, 2002 • By LEE BOCKHORN
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In this sense, bringing up the partial-birth abortion ban for a quick vote early in the new Congress would not only be the right thing to do, it would also be shrewd politics, for two reasons. First, the abortion issue was a real factor in the GOP's success last week. To take a specific example: Exit polls from the Missouri Senate race showed that abortion ranked second only to the economy as the issue voters said was most important in determining their vote--and among those voters, Republican Jim Talent beat Democrat Jean Carnahan by more than four-to-one. Meanwhile, NARAL, the nation's leading abortion lobby, lost 18 of their 19 designated "key elections." And the partial-birth ban is an easy winner: In recent years it passed Congress with near-veto-proof majorities, only to be vetoed by Bill Clinton.

But the more important reason is this: Like the war resolution on Iraq, a vote on partial-birth abortion would reveal a deep division within the Democratic party, and once again forcibly expose the party's utter confusion on matters of clear moral principle--whether it is the forthright defense of America from its avowed enemies, or the defense of late-term, unborn children from an abortion method for which the term "barbaric" is insufficiently strong.

Certainly the Bush administration must choose its battles prudently over the next several months, and focus on accomplishing goals with broad public appeal that will help the GOP augment its majority in 2004. In that regard, the White House's top priority should be a continued, relentless prosecution of the war on radical Islamic terror both at home and abroad--including the defeat of Saddam Hussein's maniacal regime. Nevertheless, on the domestic front, the White House and congressional Republicans should not shrink from moving boldly on issues that will continue to put the Democrats on the defensive, and partial-birth abortion is a perfect example. When your enemies are demoralized and on the run, you shouldn't give them time to regroup merely for the sake of observing the pieties of "bipartisanship."

Lee Bockhorn is associate editor at The Weekly Standard.