There have been concerns expressed about the Republican Party’s commitment to the pro-life cause, and even conceding such a position to
focus on other issues or gain more votes. The Washington Times has reported, however, that Reince Priebus, Chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC), recently announced he will be “delaying the start of the party’s annual winter meeting so he and other committee members can join the March for Life on the Mall[.]” This is reported as being “an unprecedented show of opposition to abortion,” in a move that may show that such concerns about the party are not necessary.
The March for Life has featured politicians in the past, who have spoken at the rally preceding the March, either in person or through telecommunication. Members of Congress from both parties have spoken, including Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL), co-chair of the Pro-Life Caucus, who spoke in 2013.
The pro-life issue need not be a bipartisan issue, and some do not even regard it as a political issue at all. It is, however, comforting to see such a top political official as the chairman of the RNC not only take a stance, but do something to show how committed that stance is. It is also refreshing to see that while one party may be vocally pro-abortion with its platform, another is doing something to show how vocally pro-life it can be and live up to its own platform.
The 2012 presidential election provides a good example of how one party seems to have been more committed to its platform stance than the other. For instance, at the Democratic National Convention, Cecile Richards of Planned Parenthood and Nancy Kagan, formerly of NARAL, participated in the convention, be it by planning it, speaking it, or holding side events. A rather thought-provoking article by Jill Stanek pointed out how the Republican National Convention, on the other hand, did not feature figures like Marjorie Dannenfelser of Susan B. Anthony List, which is a pro-life PAC dedicated to electing pro-life women to public office.
It is important for pro-lifers to recognize that it is better to elect a candidate who may not be perfect, but is still pro-life, especially when his or her opponent is not. It has often, but not always, been the case where the Republican candidate is more pro-life. However, as was the case with the 2012 election, presidential candidate Mitt Romney was not seen as pro-life enough by many, causing some voters to stay home.
However, the Republican Party, if this move from the RNC is noticed and taken seriously, may avoid that issue and be viewed as dedicated in its pro-life position. The Washington Times includes an excerpt in their piece from Priebus:
“I saw that there was a real interest among a significant portion of our members to attend and support the Rally for Life,” Mr. Priebus said in an email to The Times. “This is a core principle of our party. It was natural for me to support our members and our principles.”
Indeed, if the pro-life position “is a core principle of [the] party,” it is refreshing to see Reince Priebus live up to that commitment and interest to broadcast a message and dispel doubt that the GOP is not pro-life enough. With any hope, other RNC members, public officials, and voters will take note of this move and be inspired and encouraged in being pro-life.