Michael Wear: “Democrats Shouldn’t Be So Certain About Abortion”


When it comes to abortion politics, Michael Wear, an evangelical Christian and member of Obama’s faith-based initiative team, is one of our most important voices.  His piece in today’s New York Times is one of the best things I have read on the subject.  Here is a taste:

According to some progressives, Democrats need to learn from Mr. Trump’s style of politics and name enemies, draw harder lines and callously stoke the animosities that roil Americans’ lives for partisan advantage.

This emulation of Mr. Trump’s flattening of our political discourse to its extremes is evident in many areas, but perhaps nowhere more clearly than on abortion. There were several examples of this just in the last month.

In the first presidential debate, Senator Elizabeth Warren was asked if there was any restriction on abortion she supported; she could not name one, and no other candidate on the stage tried to either. Joe Biden was berated by his Democratic competitors and others for his previous support for the Hyde Amendment, which bans federal funding for abortion, and announced that he would now oppose it. And yet a Politico/Morning Consult poll from June showed that slightly more Democratic women support the Hyde Amendment (at 41 percent) than oppose it (at 39 percent). Overall, 49 percent of registered voters support Hyde, compared with 32 percent who oppose it. It is not so much that Mr. Biden was out of step with the Democratic electorate, but that the 2020 Democratic candidates are out of step with American voters, even Democratic voters, on the issue of abortion.

Read the entire piece here.

3 thoughts on “Michael Wear: “Democrats Shouldn’t Be So Certain About Abortion”

  1. I was specifically referencing the 1990 PA gubernatorial election, which was the late Casey Sr. (not Jr., the current Senator), noting it was an outlier then and would be even more so now. Also noting how both parties (the parties, not most people) have evolved towards defining “pro-life” and “pro-choice” using the most extreme views of each (i.e. no-exceptions prohibition or total blanket approval, in all cases).


  2. Dave H.

    Pro-lifers who supportive few remaining pro-life DEM senator(s) are essentially wasting their votes. When there is a DEM president, he/she is going to nominate only extreme pro-choice candidates to the courts. The DEM senators will dutifully vote for those nominees. Furthermore, take a look at Casey’s vote on Kavanaugh and Gorsuch. Senator Casey might mouth the pro-life position, but practically speaking he stands with the abortion industry. His talk has little practical value.



  3. In Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial election in 1990, we had the unusual situation of a pro-life Democrat (Casey) facing off against a pro-choice Republican (Hafer). Even back then this was a real outlier, an oddity. Nowadays I think it would be inconceivable.

    It was interesting seeing how my fellow members in our evangelical church were tied up in knots by this race. They felt it was their Christian duty to vote for the pro-life candidate. And yet, even back then, it was also virtually an article of faith that evangelicals were required to always vote for the Republican candidate. Eventually most probably voted for Casey, but there was much hand-wringing over the electoral dilemma this posed for them.

    In the years since, both parties have become even more rigidly defined on this issue, across all levels: local, state and national, and pushed to the most extreme views on the issue. On one side, you have a push for virtually unlimited abortion rights beyond which significant numbers of voters can support. On the flip side, you have a push for blanket prohibition that extends to, “Life of the mother is in danger? Gee, that’s too bad.”


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