BY BENJAMIN WIRTZ
Photo by Gwydion M Williams; some rights reserved.
Mitt Romney and Barack Obama may seem to be different on many issues, but are they really different where it matters? In terms of where they stand on issues of life, we cannot simply take a candidate's word on something without looking at all the facts first.
Romney says he is pro-life, but is he really? Let us look at his record and see. When he was Governor of Massachusetts, he was not even remotely pro-life nor did he pretend to be. He openly admitted that it was of vital importance that women have the right to choose. He is also willing to compromise on the issue wherever he sees it as necessary. Even now, he claims exceptions for rape, saying, "My position has been clear throughout this campaign. I'm in favor of abortion being legal in the case of rape and incest, and the health and life of the mother." That is what he said this year, although he changes his tone depending on who he is talking to. He may be slightly better than Obama on the abortion issue, but he's still not that great, and the fact that he has been so inconsistent in his views is troubling. While Governor of Massachusetts, Romney put forward a healthcare plan very similar to Obama's. The fact that it had provisions for abortion should trouble any pro-lifer. He also said, as recently as 2007, that he thought it would be good to institute such a plan nationally. Romney hasn't presented any real hard evidence to support his claim that he has changed his view on abortion to a pro-life one.
Some may acknowledge Romney's troubling record but now find comfort in the fact he has selected the solidly pro-life Paul Ryan as his running mate. However, even this view is in error. First of all, the vice-president has very little power to affect policy, and Ryan has already said that although he doesn't believe in rape exceptions, he will go along with what Romney says anyway. He is effectively taking back his previous position of not allowing abortion except to save the life of the mother.
Obama has never claimed to be against abortion, but he has downplayed some of his views, views that a majority of Americans would find disturbing. While in the Illinois Senate he voted against a bill protecting babies who survived abortion, a bill known as the Born Alive Infant Protection Act. One of Obama's campaign staffers actually claimed Obama was in fact pro-life because his healthcare plan would save lives, while Romney-Ryan's plan would cut Medicaid, making it less pro-life. Coming to that definition of being "pro-life" is the biggest stretch of the term imaginable. The mere fact that he is more than willing to support abortions and force others to do so through his insurance mandate counters this claim thoroughly. There is nothing about Obama's policies that is remotely pro-life.
Joe Biden is Catholic, and so, if he were true to his faith, he would be pro-life. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Beyond going along with what Obama does, he has openly spoken out in favor of the one-child policy in China, which results in forced abortions whose victims are disproportionately unborn girls.
Obama's HHS mandate requiring insurance companies to cover contraception and certain abortion-causing drugs has been opposed by Catholics and many Protestants as a violation of their religious convictions. Religious leaders of different faiths even attended a congressional meeting to protest the matter. Obama has been pushing back hard against religious freedom, as well as the right not to be forced to pay for something morally reprehensible.
Both Obama and Romney have approved of unconstitutional and unnecessary wars despite neither one having military experience themselves. Obama continued Bush-era policies of nation building, and Romney would be likely to do the same, as he has stated his support for American exceptionalism. Obama is undeserving of the Nobel Peace Prize in every way, having gotten involved in undeclared wars in Libya and elsewhere. Although Obama campaigned on getting our troops out of wars, he has done just the opposite. Sure, he has removed the troops from Iraq, but he actually wanted to keep them there longer. In the meantime, he started an unconstitutional war with Libya and got involved in the Syrian conflict. Obama was assisting the Syrian rebels by helping them acquire military support, but not giving such support directly. There is some evidence to suggest that these same rebels may be supported by al-Qaeda. Finally, he has seriously been considering getting involved in a conflict with Iran.
Obama renewed the Patriot Act and signed the National Defense Authorization Act, which is similar to the Patriot Act, into law. Romney supports these pieces of legislation, and Paul Ryan voted for them. You might wonder what these have to do with the issues of life, but the fact is that they endanger Americans' freedoms directly relating to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and life is the most fundamental of all of these rights. Obama has also approved drone strikes, and Romney is not likely to reduce those significantly. On all these issues, both candidates have said amazingly similar things.
After the party conventions, the Democrats and Republicans put explicit wording in their platforms regarding abortion. The Democrats took a solidly pro-choice position, while the Republicans took a pro-life position. While the position the Republicans took publicly looks good, in practice the platforms are often seen by party members as guidelines rather than absolute rules.
If, after reading this, you wonder how you could vote, it's not for me to tell you outright, but you should consider carefully before you compromise on the important issues of life. Hopefully, this article has given you a better understanding of the two major candidates' views. Given the aforementioned information, voting for either of the two major-party candidates could be a big compromise. You may even consider candidates of a third party: research their positions to see if they are more in line with your view. Many people don't like that idea, claiming it will throw the election to one of the major-party candidates, but you do have to draw the line somewhere. The idea is to look at everything, see the bigger picture, and vote in good conscience for the best candidate to uphold the cause of life. The question we must ask ourselves as informed voters is, how much do we compromise so we can get someone who is slightly less bad than the other guy? It's true no one is perfect, but we also want to get the best we can get. Where do we draw the line? At what point do we say that we have drifted too far in accepting mediocrity? All this is not to tell you how to vote but to make you a more informed voter: do your own research and look into the records of the candidates on life issues beyond their lip service to the cause.
Kathleen Gilbert, "Romney: 'I'm in favor of legal abortion for health and life of mother,' Rape, Incest (VIDEO)," LifeSiteNews.com. http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/romney-im-in-favor-of-legal-abortion-for-health-and-life-of-mother-rape-inc. See also Pro-Life Super Pac, "Mitt Romney, Actions Speak Louder than Words," http://prolifesuperpac.com/.
Mark Hosenball, "Obama Authorized Secret Support for Syrian Rebels," Reuters, August 1, 2012. http://news.yahoo.com/exclusive-obama-authorizes-secret-support-syrian-rebels-010014457.html.
Benn Swann Reality Check, "Reality Check: One on One with President Obama, Why Is the U.S. Supporting al Qaeda in Syria?" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hrerl8EwqH0&feature=youtu.be.