Whigs and the Abortion Issue

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October 16, 2012 by southdakotawhig

I am going to step out of my comfort zone here and delve into a “culture war” issue: abortion. The Modern Whig Party has been very clear that it values service and solutions apart from ideology. This is a position I support wholeheartedly. The problem with that is, what does one do with a “culture war” issue where this is not clearly a middle, centrist way. Either one is for abortion rights or one is pro-life. Abortion is a topic that is hard to ignore or have no opinion of one way or the other. 

The official stance on the issue from the Modern Whig Party website is this: 

“Our members are split on this subject just like the rest of the country. And if you are starting to understand what the modern Whig philosophy means by encouraging independent thought and respecting others opinions and perspectives, you might correctly guess that modern Whigs represent a diversity of both pro-choice and pro-life voters. Why? How can we? The bottom line is that this one particular issue should not be the sole basis for which political party people affiliate with.

“On one level, it points to a deeper Constitutionally-based issue. On another level, it is one of the most deeply divisive issues facing America. Yet, it is not an issue that can find much common ground. This would seem to tell us that abortion ought not be debated at the national level, as the issue is too divisive for the Republic to stand. It should be handled at more local levels of government where common ground might be more easily found. It is time to end the trend of having this one issue become a deal breaker. Each state can determine its course of action like any other public health issue that revolves around medical procedures. The federal government should not get involved or regulate such items as the less involvement by the government in our private lives, the better.

“In addition, we encourage states to consider additional funding for greater access to adoption for people wishing not to keep a child and for qualified couples or individuals wishing to become parents of adopted children. Responsible safe-haven laws also give people an additional option beyond abortion. We support all policies giving couples additional options beyond abortion, making this practice even more rare.”

I was reading a blog earlier that made me bring this up. It is written by a Catholic priest who is pro-life, but I think he gave a very Whig-like response. In essence he said that parties take stances on this not because they necessarily believe in the party platforms, but they give answers that they think will pander to the most number of voters.

I loved his summary comment at the end, “If more of the electorate were seriously informed with consciences that were intelligently formed we’d find that politicians would soon have to change their tune.

“Instead of pandering to the masses they would have to appeal to an informed, intelligent and involved electorate, and that would give all of them pause.”

I think that is right. As Whigs, we don’t vote as “one issue” voters. We prize individual thinking and respecting those with whom we disagree. 

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