However, perhaps because it's not his strong suit, I think he fumbles the issue of abortion. Within this episode of his Stratosphere Lounge podcast, he covers how he sees abortion as a public policy issue, beginning at about the 53:00 mark and ending at about the 1:02:44 mark. He's devoting about ten minutes to it, and I want to respond.
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He begins by noting that he believes that conservatives and libertarians need to hash out and find a defined area of stands which we agree on based on our core principles on the role of government, and that we need to whittle that area down and find "the smallest raft that we can all fit on."
He also observes that conservatives can't win elections without evangelicals. The way he addresses abortion will lose the evangelicals totally. They will never support or vote for a candidate who advocates what Whittle does, which is either a "personally opposed prochoice" or a "reticent prochoice" stand. (You can find definitions of these terms in James Davison Hunter's phenomenal article, "What Americans Really Think About Abortion.") I hope that from the pragmatic grounds alone he gives some consideration to what I'm going to say. He does note that he might be wrong. As you would expect, I believe that on this issue he is.
Rather than tackle his statements in chronological order, I'm going to tackle first the pragmatic issue that I think he will agree on, but has never through through because abortion simply isn't his thing.
There are many ways that we could put the principle of small government to work when it comes to the federal government's policies and practices on abortion. I think that Mr. Whittle would find the following proposals palatable, and hope that he gives them due consideration as he speaks out:
- No federal money -- either domestic or as foreign aid -- should go to pay for, promote, or endorse abortion. That includes providing federal funds for organizations that perform or promote abortion.
- Abortion surveillance activities at the Centers for Disease Control must be halted for two reasons. First, abortion is not a contagious disease and thus falls outside the intended purview of the Centers for Disease Control. Second, since its inception the Abortion Surveillance Branch and subsequent abortion surveillance activities have served as de facto advocates for Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Rights Action League, and in 1978 they became de facto advocates for the National Abortion Federation as well. Advocating for the social and political agendas of independent, private organizations is not within the Constitutional purview of the federal government.
- All other activities within federal agencies that serve to as de facto advocacy for abortion rights organizations should be identified and halted.
- Federal laws regarding abortion must be repealed. I realize that this will be unpopular on both sides. Prolife citizens will be outraged that the Partial Birth Abortion Ban is repealed. Prochoice citizens will be outraged that the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act is repealed. However, until we reach a consensus as to whether or not human beings are federally recognized as persons prior to emerging from the womb, these are state matters and should be decided at the state level.
- Regarding the federal Baby Doe and Born Alive Infants Protection Act, they will stand as clarification that 14th Amendment protections against being deprived of life without due process apply regardless of disability or circumstances of birth.
- Regarding transport of minors across state lines in order to evade parental involvement laws, this falls under federal kidnap statues which shall be enforced. The fact that the girl is consenting to or even initiating such transport does not grant her the federal legal status to do so. If the underage girl suffers injury or death due to this violation, federal penalties will be imposed accordingly.
- The United States Congress shall not hold hearings or investigations regarding abortion-related matters that do not fall within the federal purview as delineated in the Constitution. Permissible investigations or hearings could include the matter of whether human beings do or don't classify as persons entitled to equal protection under the 14th Amendment, as well as into whether or not prohibited abortion advocacy activities are being carried out with federal tax dollars.
These measures, while removing the federal government from the promotion and facilitation of abortion of course fall far short of ensuring that the 14th Amendment protection of all individuals are being appropriately protected, but they would be an excellent start.