Establishment Republicans Want the Pro-Life Movement Dead

Just a few days before Christmas, departing Ohio Governor John Kasich decided to play a disappointing Santa and put a massive lump of coal in the pro-life movement’s stocking. He vetoed a bill that would have made it a felony for a doctor to perform an abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected. Mercifully, he did at least sign a second bill which bans the most common second trimester abortion procedure, the dilation and evacuation—“D&E”—also called a “dismemberment” abortion, during which a fetus is ripped apart and extracted piece by piece.

Is any political constituency as regularly swindled and abused as are pro-lifers?

From their promises to defund Planned Parenthood to their assurances that Roe v. Wade is very soon to be on the chopping block, establishment Republicans are masters at talking a big game but doing nothing at all to advance the right to life of the unborn.

Too many Republican politicians either are cynical grifters or outright liars who don’t care a whit about the 14th Amendment’s promise of “equal protection of the laws” to all persons or the Declaration’s teaching that “all men are created equal” and “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights”—chief among them being the right to life.

Cowardice on Parade
Kasich’s spineless decision should prompt all pro-life citizens to reevaluate their unflinching support for “GOPe” candidates—or at least certain of its squishy establishmentarians who have been housebroken by a hostile media and browbeaten by feminists into complying with aspects of a radical “social justice” agenda. Kasich’s signing statement is an example of this cowardice par excellence.

He opens with an obligatory paean to the moral force of pro-lifers’ worldview, the very least he could do in the face of all the political support they have given him over the years. To which pro-lifers can only reply: Your words are nice but not enough.

Kasich goes on to say that the “central provision” of the bill is contrary to the Supreme Court’s abortion precedents and, because of that, it “will likely be struck down as unconstitutional” by lower federal courts, which are bound by the high court’s rulings. So what?

The whole point of signing such a cutting-edge bill is precisely to effect a challenge in the courts and thus set abortion on the path to extinction. We all know the law permits abortion. But presumably one supports such a bill both because one believes such a barbaric practice deserves to be consigned to the ash heap of history and because one thinks the law—which is a teacher—should be changed to secure that outcome.

Cynical Political Calculus
So, why did Kasich sign the bill that bans D&E abortions, even though it likely won’t fare any better than the heartbeat bill he vetoed?

After all, eight of the 10 states that have banned D&E abortions have seen those laws (temporarily) blocked by the courts; further, a ban on the most commonly used second-trimester abortion procedure almost certainly constitutes an “undue burden” under Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992) and ultimately will be struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court under that governing precedent. Therefore, Kasich’s justification for refusing to sign the heartbeat bill is nothing more than a transparent attempt to avoid having his name attached to a law that strikes directly at the heart of the “right” to abortion.

But fret not! Kasich is more than content to tinker at the margins, perhaps even to regulate boldly the death chambers’ cleanliness—but only if the courts permit him to do so, of course.

Amazingly, Kasich goes on: “The State of Ohio will be the losing party in that lawsuit and … will be forced to pay hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to cover the legal fees for the pro-choice activists’ lawyers. Therefore, this veto is in the public interest.” That’s an absolute doozy.

First, how could Kasich be sure Ohio will lose? Particularly given that the GOP just spent vast amounts of political capital elevating Justice Brett Kavanaugh—who supposedly is more of a rock-ribbed originalist than his old boss, retired Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Second, what are legal fees compared with the 20,893 babies slain in Ohio in 2017 alone (42 million worldwide in 2018)? Is Ohio secretly governed by Ebenezer Scrooge? Talk about penny wise and pound foolish.

No Guts, No Glory
Republicans, it’s past time for you to deliver for pro-lifers. No more bait and switches. No more false promises. No more feeble yelps of, “We don’t have the support yet.” The millions who have attended the March for Life each year for the past 40 years or so strongly beg to differ, as does the 2016 Republican Party platform, the “most pro-life platform ever.” The Democrats blew up their supermajority in Congress from 2008-2010 for something they believed in: Obamacare. Such political courage changed the political landscape for at least a generation; after all, who is still talking about repealing and replacing Obamacare?

Trying to convince the Supreme Court to overturn Roe is a lame attempt to avoid the hard work of politics and doesn’t count because it won’t work; the chief justice has made that very clear—twice now.

Does the GOP even have the guts to blow up a majority over anything other than tax cuts for corporations? These corporations, by the way, are the same ones that happily spearhead the nascent totalitarianism of progressive “social justice” and now push for increased illegal immigration, which undermines our sovereignty and harms American workers, particularly black American workers. Count on them, however, to run back to the GOP in a heartbeat, tails between their legs, begging for economic protection from freshman U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s socialism-obsessed wing of the Democratic Party when the time comes.

Republicans, it seems, are good at saying all the right things, but they’re unwilling to do the work necessary to protect the most vulnerable among us: the unborn. In so doing, they betray their venerable heritage as the “Party of Lincoln” and its Declaration-sourced commitment to equality before the law for every American. They trade that legacy for a mess of pottage—a brief delay in the operation of the progressives smear machine—even as they must know they will be hated by Progressives no matter what they do because the only good Republican to them is a dead Republican.

Is the GOP the “stupid party”? Well, if the boot fits. . .

Photo credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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About Deion A. Kathawa

Deion A. Kathawa is an attorney who hails from America’s heartland. He holds a J.D. from the University of Notre Dame and a B.A. from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. He is a 2021 alumnus of the Claremont Institute’s John Marshall Fellowship. Subscribe to his “Sed Kontra” newsletter.