Tag Archives: Republican Party

Abortion debate: a secular case against legalized abortion

Unborn baby scheming about being only two months old
Unborn baby scheming about being only two months old

Note: this post has a twin! Its companion post on a secular case against gay marriage is here.

Now, you may think that the view that the unborn deserve protection during pregnancy is something that you either take on faith or not. But I want to explain how you can make a case for the right to life of the unborn, just by using reason and evidence.

To defend the pro-life position, I think you need to sustain 3 arguments:

  1. The unborn is a living being with human DNA, and is therefore human.
  2. There is no morally-relevant difference between an unborn baby, and one already born.
  3. None of the justifications given for terminating an unborn baby are morally adequate.

Now, the pro-abortion debater may object to point 1, perhaps by claiming that the unborn baby is either not living, or not human, or not distinct from the mother.

Defending point 1: Well, it is pretty obvious that the unborn child is not inanimate matter. It is definitely living and growing through all 9 months of pregnancy. (Click here for a video that shows what a baby looks like through all 9 months of pregnancy). Since it has human DNA, that makes it a human. And its DNA is different from either its mother or father, so it clearly not just a tissue growth of the father or the mother. More on this point at Christian Cadre, here. An unborn child cannot be the woman’s own body, because then the woman would have four arms, four legs, two heads, four eyes and two different DNA signatures. When you have two different human DNA signatures, you have two different humans.

Secondly, the pro-abortion debater may try to identify a characteristic of the unborn that is not yet present or developed while it is still in the womb, and then argue that because the unborn does not have that characteristic, it does not deserve the protection of the law.

Defending point 2: You need to show that the unborn are not different from the already-born in any meaningful way. The main differences between them are: size, level of development, environment and degree of dependence. Once these characteristics are identified, you can explain that none of these differences provide moral justification for terminating a life. For example, babies inside and outside the womb have the same value, because location does not change a human’s intrinsic value.

Additionally, the pro-abortion debater may try to identify a characteristic of the already-born that is not yet present or developed in the unborn, and then argue that because the unborn does not have that characteristic, that it does not deserve protection, (e.g. – sentience). Most of the these objections that you may encounter are refuted in this essay by Francis Beckwith. Usually these objections fall apart because they assume the thing they are trying to prove, namely, that the unborn deserves less protection than the already born.

Finally, the pro-abortion debater may conceded your points 1 and 2, and admit that the unborn is fully human. But they may then try to provide a moral justification for terminating the life of the unborn, regardless.

Defending point 3: I fully grant that it is sometimes justifiable to terminate an innocent human life, if there is a moral justification. Is there such a justification for abortion? One of the best known attempts to justify abortion is Judith Jarvis Thomson’s “violinist” argument. This argument is summarized by Paul Manata, one of the experts over at Triablogue:

Briefly, this argument goes like this: Say a world-famous violinist developed a fatal kidney ailment and the Society of Music Lovers found that only you had the right blood-type to help. So, they therefore have you kidnapped and then attach you to the violinist’s circulatory system so that your kidneys can be used to extract the poison from his. To unplug yourself from the violinist would be to kill him; therefore, pro-lifers would say a person has to stay attached against her will to the violinist for 9 months. Thompson says that it would be morally virtuous to stay plugged-in. But she asks, “Do you have to?” She appeals to our intuitions and answers, “No.”

Manata then goes on to defeat Thomson’s proposal here, with a short, memorable illustration, which I highly recommend that you check out. More info on how to respond to similar arguments is here.

Here is the best book for beginners on the pro-life view.

For those looking for advanced resources, Francis Beckwith, a professor at Baylor University, published the book Defending Life, with Cambridge University Press, 2007.

If Republicans are going to hold the House, they’ll need the votes of black Americans

Michigan Senate candidate John James
Michigan Senate candidate John James

I’ve been following the Michigan Senate race between Republican John James and Democrat Debbie Stabenow. James, a black conservative, flew attack helicopters in Iraq, and now runs a private sector business. You can’t get more rooted in reality than that. What I’ve noticed about James is his challenge to other blacks to vote for ideas and ideals.

Here’s his latest ad:

The Washington Examiner notes:

“The Democratic business model is reliant upon keeping black folks dependent on the government,” James said in the ad. “Countless people have died for our right to think and to vote for ourselves, yet Democratic leadership asks us to outsource our voice on a straight-ticket ballot to a godless party that neither represents our values nor our economic best interests.”

“We’ve marched from Selma to New York, we’ve rebelled from Watts to Detroit, and ain’t nothing changed in 50 years,” he said. “The Democratic Party leadership cares more about the black vote than the black people. And it’s time to wake up.”

James, a West Point graduate who served as a commander in aviation missions in Iraq, released his new ad in Detroit on the same day that former president Barack Obama is set to visit that city to campaign for Democrat Debbie Stabenow.

James said in an interview, “The ad is not meant to divide or attack his fellow Michiganders. It is a criticism of the party leadership that took God out of its platform and left Detroit the most segregated city in America.”

Stabenow has consistently held a healthy double-digit lead over James, but has seen that cushion evaporate in the past month.

On Thursday, a Free Press poll conducted by EPIC-MRA of Lansing Michigan put her lead at 7 percentage points. That same poll showed her up 23 points in September.

On Oct. 29, Vice President Mike Pence will host a rally in Grand Rapids for James, who returned home from his military service to run his family’s business.

James is the first black Republican to run for statewide office in Michigan in four decades.

Why should blacks vote for a Republican? Black unemployment is at a record low (along with Hispanic unemployment).

USA Today noted:

September’s 3.7 percent unemployment rate, a nearly 50-year low, is helping all U.S. workers, but it’s especially beneficial to disadvantaged groups that have struggled to land jobs — like black teenagers.

The jobless rate for African-Americans age 16 to 19 fell from 20.1 percent to 19.3 percent last month, the lowest on records dating to 1972.

If blacks were just voting on objective criteria – raw numbers – they’d vote for Republicans.

Against dependency on the government

I also noted that James is a strong believer in male leadership, and that got him trouble with the anti-male left:

Right now, we have an epidemic in the black community where black women are choosing men poorly, and creating fatherless children in homes who are more likely to be dependent on government. As a non-white conservative, I find this upsetting, because it means that non-whites are arriving at different life outcomes from other Americans through their own choices. When poor choices are made early on in life, it’s difficult to recover even when you learn from your mistakes.

I don’t see how the black community is ever going to recover from a 70% out-of-wedlock birth rate unless they start shaming black women for having sex with men who are not willing to commit to leading a family before they have sex. There are single black men of good character who could have been chosen instead. Men who would commit before asking for sex. But if women make choices based on appearances and feelings, then the bad boys will get picked every time.

The Democrat party has an interest in making more people  dependent on government, and that’s why they favor government programs that incentivize making fatherless children. Democrats promote premarital sex and welfare programs to blacks, which discourages good black men from working and marrying. They also oppose school choice, so that parents are forced to put their children into failing schools staffed by unionized teachers who are unaccountable. If we’re going strictly on policy, then the Republican party has a lot more to offer black Americans than the Democrats.

187 House Democrats vote against banning abortions where unborn child feels pain

I'm Scheming Unborn Baby, and I approve this study
I’m Scheming Unborn Baby, and I approve this legislation

There is some good news for pro-lifers.

Life News reports:

The House of Representatives today approved a pro-life bill that bans abortions from after 20-weeks of pregnancy up to the day of birth.

The vote for the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act broke down on mostly partisan lines with Republicans supporting the ban on late-term abortions and Democrats opposing it. The House approved the bill on a 237-189 vote.

Should the Senate approve the bill, President Donald Trump would sign the pro-life bill  into law.

And I have to highlight one of the Republican lawmakers who made his stand for the unborn. This is to correct the view that Republicans don’t understand the pro-life issue, and don’t really support it. At least in the House, they are pro-life, for real.

Excerpt:

During the debate on the bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks, Congressman Sean Duffy gave what may be one of the most passionate defenses of the pro-life position ever seen on the floor of Congress. Duffy took on the claim often made by Democrats who support abortion saying they stand for the defenseless and voiceless.

“I’ve listened to the floor debate day after day .. about how they fight for the forgotten, they fight for the defenseless, they fight for the voiceless. And they pound their chest and stomp their feet. You don’t have anyone in our society that’s more defenseless than these little babies,” he said. “And we are not taking — I believe in conception. I know my colleagues can’t agree with me on that. Can’t we come together and say we are going to stand with little babies that feel pain, that survive outside the womb? Ones that don’t have lobbyists and money? Don’t we stand with those little babies?”

“If you stand with the defenseless, with the voiceless, you have to stand with little babies. Don’t talk to me about cruelty in our bill — when you look at little babies being dismembered, feeling excruciating pain, if we can’t stand to defend these children, what do we stand for in this institution?” he added.

Sean Duffy is a Congressman from the great state of Wisconsin. I don’t think that any pro-lifer would be more passionate. I was not able to find a video of this speech. If anyone does, please let me know so I can update the post.

Although the medical consensus is that the unborn feel pain after 20 weeks, some experts think it is even earlier:

Another bombshell dropped during the hearing came from Dr. Maureen Condic, who is Associate Professor of Neurobiology and Adjunct Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Utah School of Medicine. She testified that the unborn child is capable of reacting to pain as early as 8-10 weeks. This is when most abortions in America take place.

A while back, I blogged about a case where a woman killed her 20-week old unborn child. Yes, this really is happening. Something to think about.

Is a 22-week unborn child “viable”?

The Stream has an article up about a child that was delivered at 22 weeks and is doing very well.

Excerpt:

At 22 weeks and four days along, Danielle Pickering gave birth to her baby boy Micah.

Now 5 years old, Micah has become a face of the late-term abortion debate.

On Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, a bill that would ban abortion after 20 weeks, the point when “pain receptors (nociceptors) are present throughout the unborn child’s entire body,” according to the legislation.

Video:

Deliver the child, and put her up for adoption! It’s the right thing to do. Plenty of married couples out there looking to adopt.

Let’s be practical about this

Even if this bill doesn’t pass in the Senate, it will be useful to see who doesn’t vote for it. Any Republican who doesn’t should be primaried by a pro-life Republican candidate. And primarying fake pro-lifers actually works: remember what happened to Renee Ellmers after she blocked pro-life leglislation? I blogged about it here. Ellmers was replaced in the primary with someone much more conservative, who was also endorsed by the National Right to Life. He had a 100% pro-life rating from 2014 from Project Vote Smart. And he won the general election against the Democrat. His current Heritage Foundation conservative score is 89% conservative. And he voted for the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act that is the subject of this post.

This is what we have to do – force the votes, primary the fake conservatives, win the elections.

Republican platform stays pro-marriage, pledges to defund Planned Parenthood

Ted and Heidi Cruz have a plan to simplify the tax code
There’s always 2020 to run a conservative Republican candidate for President

Although it is a mistake to run a lifelong Democrat clown as the Republican nominee for President, at least the party platform of the Republican Party as a whole is conservative on social issues.

The Daily Signal reports:

A dramatic effort to change the GOP’s stance on LGBT issues ended with a whimper Monday as the Republican National Convention kicked off officially.

The document, adopted Monday on the floor of Quicken Loans Arena, codifies the traditional definition of marriage and denounces the administration’s school bathroom directive.

“It’s the most conservative platform we’ve ever adopted,” Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., platform committee co-chair, told The Daily Signal. “It’s absolutely pro-marriage. It’s a wonderful platform to unite all Republicans and all Americans.”

Last week, it wasn’t clear if the platform would be agreed to at all.

Delegates and operatives associated with American Unity Fund, an LGBT lobbying organization bankrolled by billionaire Paul Singer, mounted an operation to completely scrap the party’s platform supporting traditional marriage in favor of a shorter document that didn’t include any language about marriage.

The plan hinged on a parliamentary measure known as a minority report. It would trigger a messy debate on the floor of the convention if just 28 of the 112 delegates signed onto the measure.

Last Wednesday the minority report had 37 signatures, CNN reported.

But four of those delegates told The Daily Signal that they were lied to about what they were signing. They thought they were signing a short statement of principle authored by Utah delegate Boyd Matheson.

“When we found out about it, we alerted the people who signed it that the one page ‘statement of principle’ didn’t contain support for traditional marriage and family values,” Indiana delegate Jim Bopp told The Daily Signal.

By the time the convention convened Monday, more than half of the 37 delegates who had signed the minority report removed their names, delegates Bopp, Matheson, and Ben Marchi told The Daily Signal. The loss of signatures killed the initiative.

[…]Marchi, who described the minority report tactic as “the filthiest thing I’ve ever seen in politics,” said the episode should put conservatives on alert.

Not only is the party platform still pro-marriage, (and therefore pro-child), but the party platform is the most pro-life ever.

March for Life reports:

Today the Republican National Convention voted to pass the most detailed pro-life Platform ever – in direct sharp contrast to the draft Democratic Platform which is the most pro-abortion Platform ever.  On the ground in Cleveland to assist the pro-life delegates was March for Life Action Vice President Tom McClusky.

[…]“The delegates deserve a lot of credit for creating this document which, in great detail, explains what the pro-life movement is for and just how radical the pro-abortion position is,” said March for Life Action Vice President Tom McClusky.  “For the first time ever the Republican Platform calls out abortion giant Planned Parenthood by name and says tax dollars should not go to subsidize the death industry.” In addition support for bans on dilation and extraction abortions as well as bans on sex selection and abortions based on disability are, for the first time, in the Platform.

Language defending the conscience rights of individuals and institutions was included as well, fitting after the successful vote on the Conscience Protection Act in the U.S. House of Representatives.  In addition, the Republican Platform calls for protection against attacks on the Hyde Amendment.  Since the 1970’s the Hyde amendment has been the firewall preventing certain tax dollars being used to pay for abortions.

I know that a lot of people who claim to be pro-marriage and pro-life vote for the Democrat party because they are dependent on the government for handouts. But the truth is that if a person is consistently pro-marriage and pro-life, then they ought to be a Republican. I just assume that when someone tells me that they are a Democrat, that they are anti-marriage and pro-abortion. If you’re pro-marriage and pro-life, then you vote Republican. Period.

Will there be a contested convention in Cleveland? Will Ted Cruz win it?

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, and Heidi Cruz
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, and Heidi Cruz

A lot of people are asking me what Cruz chances are to defeat Trump and win the nomination. I’m going to look at three columns, one from radically leftist CNN, one from the radically leftist Washington Post, and one from National Review. I found both of these stories at the Conservatives 4 Ted Cruz news aggregator, by the way. I check that site at least twice a day, and so should you.

The first one is from David Gergen at CNN. David Gergen is a senior political analyst for CNN and has been a White House adviser to four presidents. A graduate of Harvard Law School, he is a professor of public service and co-director of the Center for Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School.

His headline is “Ted Cruz: Now the odds-on favorite”:

With his decisive victory in Wisconsin, Sen. Ted Cruz has not only shaken up the Republican presidential race, but heading into the homestretch, he has suddenly become the odds-on favorite to win the nomination in Ohio.

With 16 primaries and caucuses remaining, Donald Trump has to win 70% of the delegates to secure the 1,237 needed to win a first ballot at the Republican convention. Several states are coming up that are more favorable territory for Trump than Cruz, especially New York and Pennsylvania where Trump still has significant leads.

Even so, winning more than two thirds of the remaining delegates is a daunting challenge for him. In the 36 primaries and caucuses leading up to Wisconsin, Trump won only 46% of the delegates. And now he heads down a tough homestretch with Cruz seizing the momentum.

In a year crammed with surprises, no one can say for sure what will unfold in Cleveland, Ohio. But there are two likely outcomes: First, Cruz and Trump have each vowed to vote against a change in the GOP’s Rule 40. That’s an obscure provision that requires any candidate to win at least eight primaries and caucuses before he or she can be nominated.

Trump and Cruz will be the only two people in Cleveland with that distinction. They should also have enough delegate strength between them to block a rewrite of Rule 40. In other words, potential candidates like John Kasich, Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney won’t be eligible even if many delegates think them likely to fare better against Hillary Clinton — the race could narrow to Trump vs. Cruz.

If Trump then falls short on the first ballot, there will be a donnybrook. But it is now becoming apparent that Cruz is much better prepared to win that fight. Trump has run a campaign long on the outside game of televised rallies but short on the inside game of quietly piling up delegates.

By contrast, Cruz has been superlative playing to the inside. Just look at how craftily he captured delegates away from Trump a few days ago in North Dakota. (The capacity of the Obama team to play the inside game so well helped to propel them past Hillary Clinton in 2008.)

In a first ballot, delegates must vote for the candidate to whom they are pledged but thereafter, of course, may vote for someone else. Signs increasingly point to the fact that Republican party regulars pledged to Trump are ready to bolt on a second or third ballot. With Cruz the only other man in the race, that almost certainly means they will drift — rush? –toward the Texan, and he will take the crown.

That’s an accurate analysis. The most likely scenario now is that Cruz capitalizes on his momentum to deny Trump the delegates he needs to get to 1,237 before the convention, then wins the nomination on round 2 or later, when the GOP delegates from each state become “unbound”. And Cruz is already reaching out to the delegates to make sure that they choose him in round 2 and later rounds, as they free up.

Can Cruz win a contested convention?

 

Now, I’m going to balance that with something hilarious from moderate conservative Pulitzer Prize–winning syndicated columnist George Will, writing in National Review.

Will’s column is entitled “Ted Cruz Is Surging by Design”:

People here at Ted Cruz’s campaign headquarters are meticulously preparing to win a contested convention, if there is one. Because Donald Trump is a low-energy fellow, Cruz will be positioned to trounce him in Cleveland, where Trump’s slide toward earned oblivion would accelerate during a second ballot.

[…]For months Cruz’s national operation has been courting all convention delegates, including Trump’s. Cruz aims to make a third ballot decisive, or unnecessary.

On the eve of Wisconsin’s primary, the analytics people here knew how many undecided voters were choosing between Cruz and Trump (32,000) and how many between Cruz and John Kasich (72,000), and where they lived. Walls here are covered with notes outlining every step of each state’s multistage delegate-selection process. (Cruz’s campaign was active in Michigan when the process of selecting persons eligible to be delegates began in August 2014.) Cruz’s campaign is nurturing relationships with delegates now committed to Trump and others. In Louisiana’s primary, 58.6 percent of voters favored someone other than Trump; Cruz’s campaign knows which issues are particularly important to which Trump delegates, and Cruz people with similar values are talking to them.

[…]Usually, more than 40 percent of delegates to Republican conventions are seasoned activists who have attended prior conventions. A large majority of all delegates are officeholders — county commissioners, city council members, sheriffs, etc. — and state party officials. They tend to favor presidential aspirants who have been Republicans for longer than since last Friday.

Trump is a world-class complainer (he is never being treated “fairly”) but a bush-league preparer. A nomination contest poses policy and process tests, and he is flunking both.

Regarding policy, he is flummoxed by predictable abortion questions because he has been pro-life for only 15 minutes, and because he has lived almost seven decades without giving a scintilla of thought to any serious policy question. Regarding process, Trump, who recently took a week-long vacation from campaigning, has surfed a wave of free media to the mistaken conclusion that winning a nomination involves no more forethought than he gives to policy. He thinks he can fly in, stroke a crowd’s ideological erogenous zones, then fly away. He knows nothing about the art of the political deal.

The nomination process, says Jeff Roe, Cruz’s campaign manager, “is a multilevel Rubik’s Cube. Trump thought it was a golf ball — you just had to whack it.” Roe says the Cruz campaign’s engagement with the granular details of delegate maintenance is producing a situation where “the guy who is trying to hijack the party runs into a guy with a machine gun.”

Cruz graduated at the top of his classes at Princeton and Harvard Law. He clerked for Court of Appeals Justice J. Michael Luttig and Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist. Insofar as this primary election is a contest based on hard work and preparation, Cruz will win it. And then he’s going to beat Hillary.