A Voice of Reason: Sane Views for a Crazy World

May 11, 2007

Rudy in Texas: “I support a woman’s right to choose”

From Newsday.com

HOUSTON — After a week of criticism over his ambiguous views on abortion, Republican presidential contender Rudolph Giuliani Friday directly addressed his views on abortion, gay rights and gun control, and forthrightly supported a woman’s right to choose an abortion.

Okay, are you all ready for the drum roll? Are any surprises about to come forth?

Giuliani, a New York Catholic who once considered becoming a priest, chose to make his stand before a conservative, anti-abortion audience at Houston Baptist University here, in an address that was arranged just last Wednesday.

Giuliani told the audience that the two most important issues in the presidential campaign were fighting terrorism and preserving the tax cuts, deregulation and privatization of the economy, and that the social issues were secondary.

Amen, though I guess my Evangelical upbringing is coming forth, as that is not typical interaction with Catholics, then again, he was speaking to Baptists, so perhaps I am covered.

He also downplayed his differences with conservatives on gay rights — saying marriage should be only between a man and a woman — and guns — saying the Constitution protects an individual’s right to having a gun.

But I want a bazooka! I NEED a gun capable of throwing 600 rds/minute downrange for “personal security”. Sheesh, I hope that this quiets up two of the nervous Nellies of the right of the GOP.

But he acknowledged many conservatives might disagree with his stand on abortion, which he described as supporting a woman’s right to have one, but also allows restrictions such as the late-term abortion ban upheld by the high court recently and restrictions on federal funding of abortions.

Don’t worry, because most Conservatives these days can’t even agree on what a Conservative is anymore. The
current ilk of Conservatives wouldn’t like Barry Goldwater’s (AKA the Founder of Modern Conservativism) views.

Seeking to clearly define his views on abortion after blurring them a week ago in a Republican debate, Giuliani described what he called “two pillars” of core belief.

“One, I believe abortion is wrong,” he said, adding he would counsel a pregnant woman to keep the child and put him or her up for adoption rather than abort.

And secondly, he said abortion supporters, especially women, are “equally moral, equally decent, and equally religious” and fervent in their beliefs as abortion foes, yet have come to a different conclusion.

“So therefore,” Giuliani said, “I would grant to women the right to make that choice.”

But he also stressed that he, like most thinking people, also had an evolving view of abortion, and proceeded to lay out a more nuanced position.

What heresy! You mean you dare to be conflicted about a moral issue and government’s involvement in a moral issue. Why, we “want” government snooping into ALL areas of our private life and choices, isn’t that what “Conservativism” is all about?!?! Furthermore, the heresy that YOUR beliefs shouldn’t always be translated into Federal law, why Mr. Giuliani, don’t you support the idea of ruling by caveat and the fiat of your will (to borrow a quote from John Calvin about – GOD). That people could actually see “shades of grey” in an ethical decision, why that’s just plain out too reasonable!

His belief in those two principles will guide his decision-making on abortion, he said.

“It means I am open to considering ways to limit abortion,” he said. “It means I’m open to seeking ways to reduce the number of abortions.

Afterward, some members of the audience conceded they admired his principled stand, even if they disagreed with it.

Robert Sloan, president of Houston Baptist University, afterward agreed that Giuliani’s appearance was a little bit like entering the lion’s den, both because he is Catholic and because of his views on social issues.

The last quote highlighted says it all, it’s called principaled LEADERSHIP. Now, I happen to share similar views to Mr. Giuliani, although they also have shifted, as once I was rabidly anti-abortion. While I still don’t like the practice, I realize that my likes and dislikes often are not best translated into national policy. I am more likely than ever to vote for Mr. Giuliani because of his reasonable position on a complex issue, and the guts he has to speak out about it.

That he is likely the only GOP contender who can win nationally, is just a bonus.

16 Comments »

  1. So Giuliani “would grant to women the right to make that choice.” How magnanimous, and how utterly ignorant of the concept of rights.

    Rights are inherant — nobody can GRANT them. The role of government is to PROTECT/GUARANTEE rights. Individuals possess rights — groups do not. If this statement reflects his understanding of the concept of rights, we are in trouble. Just as GWB has anointed himself “The Decider,” is Giuliani taking on the mantle of “The Grantor”?

    Comment by Mark — May 11, 2007 @ 10:14 pm | Reply

  2. I didn’t read that into his statement, and I read the text.
    I also believe that people can reasonably disagree on the SCOTUS decision that said abortion was a right. In that way I wouldn’t care if Roe was upheld or overturned and returned to the states to let them hash it out. It’s not like abortions would be banned or that abortion clinics would be offering abort one get one free days if Roe is challenged and upheld.

    From the 9th Amendment I think thatstates hashing it out would actually be the best option, but to me this is not a huge issue.

    Comment by avoiceofreason — May 11, 2007 @ 10:34 pm | Reply

  3. That isn’t principled leadership, that is a waffle phrase.

    If abortion doesn’t kill an innocent human being, then there is no reason to be against it.

    If abortion does kill an innocent human being, there is no reason for it to be legal. It is the height of absurdity to claim to be personally against killing innocent humans while wanting others to have a choice about the matter.

    If you aren’t sure, then err on the side of life.

    Rudy says he is personally against them. Why?

    Comment by Neil — May 11, 2007 @ 11:41 pm | Reply

  4. Because perhaps one’s own feelings about an issue have to be weighed against the aspect of choice. The other major point is that this issue is in the hands of the courts. Reagan who was arguably the most “Pro-life” President nominated three judges, and two of whom were key in the Casey ruling. The Executive role is not a key factor other than in judicial appointments, and Guiliani has stated he would nominate types like Justices Alito and Roberts. However, which way they will go on this issue is an unknown. Both Kennedy and O’Connor were thought to have been pro-life Justices, as well as Justice Souter, and look how that turned out.

    Comment by avoiceofreason — May 12, 2007 @ 6:48 am | Reply

  5. Hi Voice – I don’t think you followed what I said.

    Rudy says abortions are “morally wrong.” Presumably that is because an innocent human is being murdered.

    I’m just pointing out how nonsensical that political position is. He is basically saying, “Abortion is murder, but people should have the choice to murder.”

    I agree that his main role would be judicial appointments. Signing in blood (heh) that he would only appoint Alito/Roberts clones will probably help him win and would accomplish what pro-lifers really want.

    Still, his political statements about abortion are incoherent.

    Comment by Neil — May 12, 2007 @ 1:46 pm | Reply

  6. I concur with Neil, here. While I respect Rudy’s (so far) tough stance on foreign policy, this man is not showing a lot of guts in the abortion issue. Makes one wonder what he would do when faced with tough opposition on constitutional judges, and things like the Patriot Act.

    Comment by thelonedrifter — May 12, 2007 @ 3:50 pm | Reply

  7. I don’t see how the two are related.

    He never said it was murder, he said he is opposed to it.

    This is an issue that it is hard to carve out a middle ground for a lot of people, so we’ll have to agree at least that I think we all wish this didn’t happen.

    Comment by avoiceofreason — May 12, 2007 @ 6:54 pm | Reply

  8. why would he personally oppose it unless he viewed it as murder is what I beleive drifter and neil to be saying. And I agree with it. If you oppose it it is most likely because you see it to be taking a babies life away… could you offer other reasons to be oppose abortion? Open to hearing.

    So if you oppose abortion because it is murder, than supporting pro-choice is supporting what you believe to be murder. really makes no sense. That is why it is argued to be inconsistant to be ‘personally pro-life’ but as policy believe in choice. We don’t choose to murder as murder is not allowed.

    I agree with that stance. Though if Juiliani were our republican candidate I would take him over the socialists running on the democrat side. HOWEVER, As I posted on brit and grit… i have a serious problem with his wife. She came of horrible in a barbara walter interview, that could be a serious threat to his chances as I do feel the american public wants a first lady (or man i suppose) that they feel represent the US well to forieng dignitaries.

    Comment by mommyzabs — May 13, 2007 @ 3:24 pm | Reply

  9. I’m actually glad to see Rudy defending abortion rights, although I disagree with him completely. The reason is that his pro-choice record is well documented, and his noncommittal answer at the debate came off as insincere at best. Now, we have here a man who is saying to the people “I support the right to choose abortion. I don’t like it, but I don’t my personal opinion on a highly contentious matter with a lot of room for argument is reason enough for government to outlaw it. If this is a deal breaker for you, then I should not be your president.” He’s finally acting like a leader, not a campaigner trying to pander to certain members of the GOP base.

    Comment by Pink Elephant — May 14, 2007 @ 4:32 am | Reply

  10. I agree with Pink Elephant: full disclosure/informed consent is a great thing. We know what we would be getting.

    To me, abortion is a lot like rape. No one would say that making rape illegal infringes on a man’s fundamental right to decide when and with whom to have sexual intercourse; rather, we make it illegal because the exercise of such a right involves committing a horrible crime against an innocent person. We recognise that there are moral ways to exercise that right, so we legislate against the immoral ones.

    Likewise, there’s a lot of other ways for a woman to exercise her fundamental right to not be pregnant against her wishes and to plan her family. Those ways are various forms of birth control and abstinence. If birth control fails, we don’t allow her to abort because it harms another person, even though it interferes with the exercise of one of her basic human rights. Likewise, if a horny frat boy can’t find a girl who will sleep with him, we don’t allow him to date-rape the next girl he sees, even if that is the only way of exercising his right to self-determination.

    That’s a long way of saying that abortion is not the logical extension of the right to bodily integrity and family planning. We have the right to not have the government force us to have children (a la Ayn Rand’s Anthem) or to force us to abort (e.g. China), but have no right to abort.

    The fact that Guiliani fails to understand this, to me, indicates that hes’ not going to appoint strict constructionalists to the bench.

    Comment by theobromophile — May 15, 2007 @ 7:12 pm | Reply

  11. I don’t agree with the analogy, Theo, but I understand it.
    I have to come out and say that theoretically, I am more aligned to Rudy’s position than no abortion ever. I don’t view it as a murder, as I don’t believe a person is alive until they take “the breath of life”. We don’t as a society have funerals for when a woman miscarries, nor is the mourning for such a tragic typically as severe as the death of an infant, and there is a simple reason. One is a potential human being, the other “is” a human being.
    I feel abortion is tragic and happens too often. I also feel that it is easy to talk in platitudes about it and that is understandable. From a legal perspective, I don’t think that Roe was correctly decided, but I am not sure if it would be overturned as it is precedent for over 30 years, which is a significant amount of time.
    Women have been having abortions since they could bear children. Every culture reports this – even the Judeo-Christian cultures of antiquity. Simply put, it will be practiced one way or another, and I’m not convinced that it is felonious activity by a longshot.

    Comment by avoiceofreason — May 15, 2007 @ 8:24 pm | Reply

  12. A few quick points:

    1) Plessy v. Ferguson was good precedent for about sixty years before Brown v. Board. If it’s bad law, it’s bad law. The effect is also not minimal: Miranda, for example, is lousy constitutional law, but is actually a pretty good way of dealing with things: cops like the fact that if they give the Miranda warnings, then they are good to go, and arrestees like the fact that they are given. Roe, OTOH, is horrible law that is not functional in our society. Medicine is a state issue, not a constitutional one; the language also prevents states from all but the most rudimentary of restrictions on abortion.

    2) I’ve blogged about the abortion through the ages thing, but here’s the quick round-up: this isn’t 1973. We have birth control. We have social services for pregnant moms. We have mandatory child support. Marital rape is illegal. Read the early feminists: they hated abortion and were convinced that its horrors would end when women were given enough agency to control their own bodies. Now, we have that agency, but people still think that we “need” abortion. Almost no one who aborts was using redundant forms of birth control and is of an age to have sex and deal with the consequences.

    3) As for mourning: I disagree. I’ve known women who have aborted or miscarried late in pregnancy, and they feel as if they have lost a child. The anniversaries are difficult; they cry for decades afterwards; they hate Mother’s Day; they become depressed, suicidal, and feel as if they had neglected their duties to their children. Yeah, there aren’t funerals, but there’s a lot of women who hurt, very silently, while we ignore them.

    4) Insert “person” for “human being,” and you are closer to a good argument. (Not one that I agree with, but it’s more sound.) Biologically, the offspring of two members of one species is always a member of that species: ergo, once sperm meets egg, biologically, you have a human.

    5) As for a felonious activity: that’s a public policy issue, one that is different from a legal or moral argument about “rights.” Does that make sense?

    Comment by theobromophile — May 15, 2007 @ 8:46 pm | Reply

  13. Excellent point obromophile. Could you go argue the overturn of RvWade to the supreme court for us?

    I have heard a lot lately on the history of planned parenthood that I find interesting. Have you blogged on that? I may snoop around your blog for that one.

    As far as women who miscarry… We may not have funerals, but women grieve this very deeply and as bridget sais, often silently. Our society misunderstands grief in many ways. Therefore, If we were to measure that grief by how our society handles it I believe we would often be off the mark. Many woman that miscarry feel pressure to bottle up their emotions since most don’t view that baby as a “human being”. This can cause them much confusion on how they are “suppose to feel” and how they should act like they are feeling. Our society is completely disfunctional in the area of grief.

    Comment by mommyzabs — May 16, 2007 @ 1:13 am | Reply

  14. I had the misfortune of my wife miscarrying two times. It was sad, but it wasn’t the same grief that friends of mine suffered when their one year old child died. It wasn’t the same ball park and it wasn’t the same sport.

    I don’t believe that a zygote is a human life or a person, it is a group of cells. If it is, then the IUD should be outlawed, while I respect those who would not use an IUD, certainly it is a stretch to say that is a “murder”.

    I also love it when people want to protect the “right to life” and then are against social programs that so many of these children if born will need.

    Comment by avoiceofreason — May 16, 2007 @ 4:30 am | Reply

  15. Yesterday’s Dear Abby column was very appropriate for this topic:
    http://www.uexpress.com/dearabby/?uc_full_date=20070515

    Voice: you are right that a zygote is a group of cells – although it is a group of human cells. The zygote stage lasts for about a week; after that, its’ an embryo. Fetal heart beat can be detected a week or two after the first missed period.

    If there is less grief, it is the grief of not knowing someone, but not the grief of not having lost a young life. I get upset when I hear about young people who die, but it is nothing compared to the grief I felt last year when I lost a friend in his teens. It is not that his life is more human, but that I knew him better and such grief is amplified.

    Comment by theobromophile — May 16, 2007 @ 6:38 pm | Reply

  16. If we are going to base any of this on amount of grief we need to take some things into consideration.

    1. grief is relative. Because someone has grieved before does not mean that they understand someone else’s grief. we all do it differently. There is also the variable of how in touch people are with their feelings, what other griefs they have suffered in the past. what that person or embryo meant to them etc…..

    2. grief is hard to quantify. how do you measure something like grief?

    Most of us know grief. Most of us have grieved someone, something or many someones and somethings. Some people react to death in a numb fashion. Some push it away because they feel like they just have to go on with life. Some christians don’t let themselves grieve because “that person is in a better place”. Some people grieve interally and don’t show it.

    My mom died, it sucked, it still sucks, and some days it sucks more than others.
    My parents lost a 17 month old to SIDS. I know this completely sucked for them.
    My one girlfriend had a couple miscarriage and it was looking like she was not going to be able to concieve a healthy baby at all… it really sucked. she grieved very hard.
    Another woman I know had 10 miscarriages. NEver had children. She grieved this on many occasions.

    Aside from the fact that Grief is a really difficult thing to quantify and base any arguement on…

    We shouldn’t determine right and wrong based on our feelings anyway. There are psychopaths that have no bad problem raping and murdering someone, but that doesn’t make it right.

    When we judge any action on right or wrong on something as subjective as feelings we end up in trouble.

    Comment by mommyzabs — May 16, 2007 @ 7:59 pm | Reply


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