Abortion issue still vital no matter what candidates say
I've been slacking on my newspaper reading.
I'll still glance at the New York Times on the Web every day, but I've started skipping over articles about the Cuban boy controversy and the upcoming presidential primary elections. Perhaps I'm not giving them enough of a chance, but I want to follow a candidate who says something new and says it from the heart.
Just past the anniversary of Roe v. Wade and 27 years of legal abortion across the United States, I am still not hearing anything new on the abortion issue from the 2000 presidential candidates. I'll ignore the Democratic primary, as Vice President Al Gore and former Senator Bill Bradley both staunchly support abortion. The 11 candidates initially entered in the Republican race ranged the political spectrum on the topic.
Most claimed to be pro-life, but many wanted to downplay the issue. To some extent, this makes political sense. The abortion debate can at times get very shrill and just boil down to the many slogans we already know. A candidate needs to appease a wide variety of people in order to get the money and the votes needed to win a national election.
But some candidates have done something worse than ignoring the abortion issue. I will spare names so as not to appear to be endorsing a particular candidate at this point. Some have said that the issue is no longer relevant, that the nation has already decided on legal abortion and so it is not something they are going to challenge.
This is wrong. Anyone who thinks that abortion is no longer an important issue of our time, or who thinks that a legal decision makes killing right should talk to the more than 100,000 people who march for life in Washington, D.C., every year. There one will find people of all ages, of all backgrounds, from all over the country who feel a passion for the gift of life and feel called to speak for those who cannot.
At the same time, let's hear the politicians spread the new and refreshing message that many pro-life organizations, including our own here at Notre Dame and Saint Mary's, are striving to advance. Let's respect life not just in our verbal position on abortion, but on other political issues and how we live. And let's talk about what we can do for those women who do give life to their babies. Adoption and parenting are not easy things to do, but they are honorable. It's got to take guts to run for president. It's going to take more to do the right thing. Think about it when you fill out your absentee ballots this spring.
Laura Antkowiak is a senior government major and co-president of Notre Dame Right to Life.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.
All Viewpoint Stories for Monday, January 24, 2000