The GOP must find a common ground position on abortion that appeals, at least somewhat, to the pro-choice voters. Historically this is an issue where common ground is very difficult. Most voters are either Pro-life Republicans who want virtually no abortions at all or Pro-choice Democrats who want abortion available to a woman at almost any time during the pregnancy. Common ground is very difficult.
Right now, the Dems easily win the majority of voters. They favor the strong pro-choice policy. Many of the voters may not completely agree with the Dems but they believe that they must vote against the pro-life position which eliminates abortion. Some analysts believe that abortion may be the most important issue for many voters in 2024. If that’s true, the Dems will have a sizable advantage.
To close that advantage the GOP must find a compromise position that can be accepted by both sides. Is a compromise position even possible?
I think the crucial issue is determining when life begins. None of us are murderers, so we wouldn’t want to end a human life. The pro-lifers argue that life begins at conception. And within a matter of weeks, a heartbeat from the unborn child can be heard.
The pro-choice group argues that life begins much later. Many believe life occurs at the time of birth. One said to me. “A person is alive from the time they take their first breathe until the time they take their last.”
Because of those extreme positions, finding a middle ground is difficult. But the way our system is supposed to work, compromise, that benefits the majority while never infringing on the basic rights of anyone, can be found.
Essentially, if we first admit that extreme positions are politically impossible, compromise can probably be found. One compromise position is to allow abortions up to when the fetus can sustain life outside the womb. That’s about 22 weeks, although as medical science advances, that’s likely to fall.
Some Republicans have suggested allowing abortions up to the 15th week. That might be an acceptable compromise that could appeal to the majority of voters.
The Supreme Court essentially said that abortion is not a right guaranteed by the Constitution. Each state will set its own abortion laws based on the majority view of the voters in that state. That means each state can set different laws. The debate will be at the federal level.
The debate will be about a federal maximum time. This is where the 15 weeks will be introduced. The tough questions will be in the states that want the maximum time to abort to be six weeks. And in the states that want the maximum time to be in the 30-week range.
Still, the GOP needs to take a position and it should appeal to the largest majority of voters. They did this very well when they negotiated the debt ceiling bill. Speaker McCarthy negotiated a deal that was approved by a vast majority in both the House and the Senate.
He realized he could never get legislation through a Democratic Senate and Democratic President that would satisfy the very conservative, even though the House had already passed a more conservative bill.
McCarthy concentrated on the more moderate members of both parties and won a large majority. The GOP should take a similar position on abortion.
It’s the old Ronald Reagan philosophy, “Half a loaf of bread is better than none.”
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