For years the Religious Right has largely succeeded in convincing pro-life evangelicals to pledge allegiance to the Republican Party. Put us in charge, these allies said, and we will end the scandal of abortion. Partly because of this strategy, we have had for the past six years a Republican President, a Republican Congress, and a Republican-appointed Supreme Court.
So then, six years later, pro-life evangelicals might fairly ask a few questions.
Roe vs. Wade prevents states from enacting laws preventing abortions only during the first trimester of pregnancy. Why have Republicans done nothing to enact laws preventing them during the second and third trimesters?
A recent study by the Guttmacher Institute indicates that nearly 200,000 unwanted pregnancies which end in abortions could be prevented each year by including contraceptives in Medicaid coverage for low-income women. Why have Republicans failed to introduce legislation doing just that?
In the wake of welfare reform, low income mothers must get jobs in order to survive, but the federal minimum wage of $5.15 per hour is not nearly enough to support a family, especially where publicly funded daycare is unavailable. Therefore it is not surprising that poor women in America are three times more likely to have abortions than those with higher incomes. Why then have Republicans been so resistant to raising the minimum wage?
While the Religious Right has delivered plenty of votes to the Republican Party, it has become increasingly obvious that pro-life legislation is not high on the Republican agenda. Perhaps the Republicans are afraid of losing support among those fiscally conservative members of their party who tend to be pro-choice. Perhaps they think pro-life rhetoric alone is enough to appease their evangelical base. Perhaps the Religious Right has been hoodwinked by some politicians just playing politics.
In any case, it is high time pro-life evangelicals woke up to the fact that the countless Republicans they have elected over the years have given them practically nothing in return for their votes.
Of course, to be a truly pro-life evangelical, one must look at other issues besides abortion. The war in Iraq has killed hundreds of thousands of people, and ravaged the lives of millions more. The spiraling federal deficit will translate into even more death and suffering in years to come, unless we rein in our military spending and stop giving tax breaks to our wealthiest citizens. Corporate abuse of the environment threatens the very viability of life on this planet.
Remember when the old bumper sticker, "I'm Pro-Life...And I Vote" was just another way of saying, "I vote Republican"? Well, think again. Please.