Strong Pro-life affirmations the watchword in last Republican debate before Monday’s Iowa Caucuses

By Dave Andrusko

2016GOPdebate88Does it not say something hugely significant that pro-abortion Democrats Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders raise the ire of the Abortion Establishment for saying nary a word about abortion in a recent debate while pro-life Republicans continue to proudly, unabashedly, unswervingly make the case for life, as they did again in last night Des Moines debate?

How many times have we been lectured by NARAL and Planned Parenthood and EMILY’s List that the public is in their corner–overwhelmingly so. If that be the case, why are its standard bearers, Clinton and Sanders, so afraid of the “A” word, preferring to wrap abortion in the rhetorical gauze of “reproductive health?”

Not so last night for Republicans, in both the “undercard” and the main event. Please forgive me if I omit anyone.

Former Senator Rick Santorum, to judge by the polls, is not faring nearly as well in Iowa as he did in 2012. But to question his pro-life commitment because he did not attend this year’s March for Life, as did Martha MacCallum, is, to be polite, a head scratcher.

Santorum’s response was as good as it gets:

Not only have I talked a good game on life and I’ve done some things. But I’ve also lived it. You know, one of the things Saint Francis said was, you know, if you preach the gospel, then if you have to, speak. The bottom line is, that twice in my life, we were counseled to have an abortion, one with our son Gabriel and one with our little girl Bella. And neither time did Karen and I for a moment think about it because we know that life begins at conception.

A moment later, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, added with a mixture of controlled anger and indignation, “It is outrageous frankly, that Fox News, and you, would question the pro-life credentials of Rick Santorum.”

Fox News moderator Bret Baier asked New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, “[Y]ou talk a lot about entitlement reform, and you say that that’s where the federal government can get savings needed to balance the budget. But can you name even one thing that the federal government does now that it should not do at all?”

Christie responded, “Yes. You want one?” Yes, Baier answered.

“How about one that I’ve done in New Jersey for the last six years. That’s get rid of Planned Parenthood funding from the United States of America.”

Baier asked, “Anything bigger than that?” To which Christie answered

Bigger than that? Let me tell you something, when you see thousands upon thousands upon thousands of children being murdered in the womb, I can’t think of anything better than that.

Kentucky Sen. Ron Paul was asked directly about abortion. His answer was that he supported both a federal approach and one in which “these issues would be left back to the states.” Paul pointed out that “If you had the court reverse Roe v. Wade, it would become a state issue,” a truth that is often overlooked. “[S]o the more states that we have that made abortion illegal, the better, as far as trying to save and preserve lives.”

Baier asked Fiorina if she had any regrets about speaking out so forcefully about what the undercover videos taken by the Center for Medical Progress revealed. She responded

…But, look, the facts of Planned Parenthood have not changed, folks, and I will not be rendered silent on this issue or any other issue. …

The reality is, most Americans find this practice horrific. Most Americans find horrific that Hillary Clinton’s position on this is it’s not a life until it’s born. Most Americans find horrific Hillary Clinton’s position or the Democrat party’s position, that a young woman does not need her mother’s permission to get an abortion.

But if you are 13 years old, you can get an abortion, but you can’t go to a tanning salon without your mother’s permission. A president Fiorina — in a president Fiorina budget, there will not be one dime for Planned Parenthood, although there would be a lot of money for women’s health and we will finally pass the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.

I will always stand for life and religious liberty…

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz closed the debate by insisting that the issue was trust and that he could be trusted to defend life and religious liberty.

As we look to the future, there’s one additional thought worth mentioning. The Washington Post’s Philip Bump politely ripped Gov. Christie for his forthright criticism of Planned Parenthood.

“Christie’s fervor on this issue is relatively new to his repertoire,” Bump noted condescendingly. (Christie has never denied that at one point he was pro-choice.)

“Christie apparently became opposed to abortion rights after hearing his daughter’s heartbeat, according to various interviews,” Bump wrote. “Clearly, based on his response in the debate, that transformation has been complete.” (Emphasis mine.)

Two quick points. Christie’s turnaround on abortion is not something he’s talked about only in interviews. He spoke at a pro-life rally in New Jersey, has deftly made the case that support for life is a political asset, not a liability, and has repeatedly reminded audiences that he was the first pro-life governor elected in New Jersey since Roe v. Wade was handed down.

If Mr. Bump is unable to understand how Gov. Christie, like so many others, can be completely turned around on abortion by what he saw on an ultrasound, that’s on him, not Gov. Christie.