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National Legal Summit
Created Equal: Reflections on the Unalienable Right to Life

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Will Republicans Put “First Things First”?

By Thomas A. Glessner, J.D.
August 11, 2010

Public opinion polls and the political pundits seem to now agree that if the November elections were held today the Republican Party would win an historic landslide victory. Indeed, the agenda of the Obama administration has been dominated by far left policies that have deepened the current economic recession and has pursued a radical social agenda, which includes a steadfast commitment to abortion on demand.

Public discontent with these policies is intense and the winds of political change are blowing mightily throughout the nation. The Tea Party movement has galvanized political dissension against the Obama agenda from all segments of society, and political commentators are telling us that the stage is being set for a political tsunami in November that sweeps out the old and brings in the new.

The Republican Party is confidently gearing itself up for taking over the reins of power in Washington D.C. and thus, bringing about corrective change that will reverse the present course of the country. However, the prolife movement must inquire of the Republicans if legal protection for the fundamental right to life will be on the forefront of these political changes to come. Will the Republicans who are swept into power because they espoused correct political rhetoric turn their backs on the prolife movement once political power is obtained?

Recent comments from Indiana's Republican governor Mitch Daniels leaves one with an unsettling feeling that a Republican assent to power may not guarantee significant changes to protect innocent human life from abortion and euthanasia. Daniels is a successful conservative governor who is being mentioned by the pundits as possible presidential timber in 2012. Indeed, his current record from a conservative standpoint is impressive.

Limited government, decreased government spending, and lower taxation on businesses and individuals are clearly being achieved in the Hoosier state under Daniels' watch. His commitment to a sane economic policy is clear and he seems to have an economic game plan to save the country from its current ruinous advance towards economic collapse. And, of course, his public political rhetoric has clearly been on the pro-family/prolife side of the moral issues including abortion. Yet, recent comments from Daniels raise serious questions about his commitment to the moral issues — particularly on the right to life.

Daniels was recently quoted as saying that there needs to be a "truce" in the country on moral issues such as abortion. When asked a few days later in an interview with Fox News anchor Chris Wallace to explain these comments Daniels defensively emphasized that his prolife credentials should not be questioned. He went on to say that because our economic situation is in such dire straits the government must put "first things first", downplay our differences on moral issues like abortion, and come together for the good of the country on economic policy.

Such a position amounts to a surrender to the status quo that favors abortion on demand and results in the deaths of 1.2 million unborn children a year. To call such a truce, as Daniels suggests, not only guarantees the deaths of millions of more children to abortion, but also means that the abortion industry will have achieved final victory in this cultural battle.

How can we in good conscience ever agree to such a truce? And how can we ever support a candidate for president who advocates such a position? One who truly believes that abortion is the ultimate atrocity occurring in this nation today, as I do, cannot call a truce on the issue in order to put "first things first."

In 1980 the nation elected President Ronald Reagan in the midst of a deep inflationary recession. Reagan was brought into office through the votes of millions of concerned prolife citizens who wanted to see an end to the abortion madness. Once in office, however, Reagan's advisors told social conservatives that work on the life issue would have to wait because reviving the economy was the top priority of the administration. To his credit President Reagan fought as a leader for the right to life throughout his presidency despite the advice he received from advisors to downplay social issues, particularly abortion, and put "first things first."

President Reagan was a true hero to the prolife movement and did much to advance the cause of life. But many of his advisors, like Governor Daniels, viewed the prolife movement as simply part of a political coalition that only need be placated with political rhetoric but not with solid political action. Reagan disagreed and his administration accomplished much on behalf of the right to life, notwithstanding the advice he was receiving.

As we approach the upcoming mid-term elections and the 2012 presidential sweepstakes the prolife movement must not budge on its fundamental principles. We must insist that all political candidates whom we endorse be committed to ending abortion in the country once they are elected. Candidates of the Governor Daniels stripe must be wholeheartedly rejected.

Of course, the state of the economy is critical to our survival. However, a commitment to the pursuit of a sane economic policy should not preclude a strong commitment to simultaneously ending abortion. Forty million abortions have occurred since President Reagan was elected. Calling a truce in this matter will guarantee that millions more unborn children will be added to this grim statistic. This is simply unacceptable.

Putting "first things first" should clearly mean that the destruction of innocent human life in our nation must come to a screeching halt. The question to ask the Republican Party and its candidates in the coming elections is simply: "If elected, will you put first things first?"

Copyright © 2010 by Thomas A. Glessner. All rights reserved.

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