Only by perpetuating abortion as an issue can the Republicans hold captive a block of voters who find this practice abhorrent. Certainly, some Republicans sincerely believe abortion is a crime, have done all they can to combat this evil, and do not court popularity with callous disregard to the sanctity of life. But the party as a whole has been calculating and manipulating the Pro-Life voter. By perpetuating the notion that this issue is in play, the Republicans have held Pro-Life votes captive for thirty years.
Just last week, I had made a similar comment on my friend Karen's blog:
In this year's election, besides the general disregard of Church teaching across the board (which has become the norm for over a generation now), we had high profile Catholics making a case for the wider arc of life issues--and I think there was something else at work, too, as Catholics entered the voting booths this week. Even the most active Catholics may have come to the conclusion that the Republican Party was using the issue of abortion as a kind of carrot to keep stringing pro-life groups along, year after year, election after election, as they voted for Republican candidates in the hope of seeing right-to-life laws passed and justices appointed. Perhaps this year many just came to the conclusion that the Republican Party was not going to ever permit any definitive resolution of an issue that was so good at keeping the flock. Right to life victories may have been used like the bone that gets thrown to the hound every so often to keep it content with its leash.
Perhaps (and this is pro-life heresy, of sorts) we have focused too much on laws while the culture itself ran away from us. Now we have a patchwork of laws--and they have saved lives, to be sure--but what has the impact been on culture? What makes more of a difference in people's day to day decisions: the pertinent laws or the system of assumptions, priorities and values that make up the culture? If an Obama administration wipes away every legislative protection from unborn human life, do we start from scratch to rebuild the same structure? Perhaps this has just shown us which direction not to take: not to focus so intently on the political, but to give new impetus to the personal.
And to really get the message of the Theology of the Body out there in every possible way.