Why U.S. Republicans are obsessed with abortion - Macleans.ca

Why U.S. Republicans are obsessed with abortion

In the era of Tea Party politics, Republicans have been focused on one issue—and it’s not taxes or spending


Rodger Mallison/Zuma/Keystone Press

When the Tea Party movement led to a Republican landslide in 2010, giving the GOP control of the majority of governorships and state legislatures, it seemed inevitable that the newly empowered Republicans would concentrate on economic issues. Instead, state-level legislation has been dominated by abortion.

According to a report by the Guttmacher Institute, 205 new abortion restrictions have been passed since 2011, compared to only 189 in the whole decade before that. In addition to typical abortion roadblocks such as parental-consent laws and requiring women to get an ultrasound image of the womb, several states moved to tighten the laws on how and where abortions can be performed. In North Carolina, formerly a Democratic state, the new Republican legislature required abortion clinics to meet the standards of an outpatient surgical centre, causing all of the state’s remaining abortion centres to shut down. Critics argue that these standards, passed in many states and awaiting review by the Supreme Court, are less about health and more about requiring clinics to make expensive renovations or close. So important is the abortion issue to state legislators that the governor of Texas, Rick Perry, called a special legislative session to pass an abortion-restriction bill after facing a filibuster from a Democrat opponent last year.

Why has abortion become the number 1 topic at a time, and to a group of people, that were thought to be all about taxes and spending? Partly, it has to do with timing. The Supreme Court’s 2007 decision in the partial-birth abortion case Gonzales v. Carhart upheld a federal ban on a specific kind of late-term abortion procedure, and was seen by many as a significant reversal of abortion rights. The Kermit Gosnell case, meanwhile, has given ammunition to those who argue for more stringent regulation of clinics. The Philadelphia abortion doctor was found guilty last year of murdering three babies in botched late-term abortions.

But the biggest factor may simply be the importance of religiously oriented conservatism to the Tea Party faithful, and the rise of a new, more true-believing type of Republican. In Kansas, always a mostly Republican state, the Tea Party revolts of 2010 replaced more business-oriented conservatism with a more religious breed of Republican, and elected a new governor, Sam Brownback, a conservative Catholic eager to sign any and all curbs on abortion into law.

Though the Republican legislatures have also passed their share of laws on issues such as gun control (against) and unions (also against), abortion may turn out to be the real legacy of the Tea Party revolution. And in what the conservative Washington Times called “an unprecedented show of opposition to abortion,” Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus announced that he would delay the party’s winter meeting to allow members to attend the anti-Roe v. Wade March for Life on Jan. 22.

With Republicans likely to make more gains at the state and federal level in this year’s midterm elections, abortion may become the issue by which all office-holders are judged. They can’t do much about repealing Obamacare, and the federal deficit appears to be shrinking without their help, but Tea Party voters can expect their representatives to make it harder to obtain an abortion.


Why U.S. Republicans are obsessed with abortion

  1. Racism….the same as it’s always been.

    • Seems more like sexism to me. Like their counterparts among fundamental islamic extremists, Tea Partiers seem prepared to demonize, objectify, and abuse half the human population.

      You’d think they’d figure out the math, which isn’t conducive to electoral majorities.

      • Well it’s certainly about controlling ‘lady parts’….but you’ll notice they don’t mind bombing brown people. Pregnant brown people. It’s only white babies they’re so protective of.

        The US was built on slavery….and the news in the south is that whites are now outnumbered in many places….and about to be in others.

        So they aren’t doing all this to get more brown and black babies.

        • It’s about selling individual liberty for votes to secure political clout to ensure that the greediest of the wealthiest of the investor employer class who are the actual owners of the GOP brand are served by government rather than have government serve the majority employee class.

          • It’s about racism.

          • I’ll grant you that religion has very often been used an excuse for racism, but racism and religion are only tools the powerful use to keep their power, including the power of their wealth.

          • ‘Let’s have a revolution said the Bolsheviks.’ 1918

          • Those fearing the internet empowering the masses are actually talking about starting such a war but not to free the masses; instead, they believe it will mute objection to the status quo and unite most of the nation, at least initially.

            A recent ruling enabling internet providers to charge higher rates for higher speed and leave the impoverished masses w/slo-mo internet, which, potentially, could limit access — censorship — will do nothing less than make the internet like the world’s physical communities: slums vs. gated communities shutting out the poor riff-raff.

          • DO stop talking 1918 drivel…..

          • It would be helpful if you could grow up, mentally and emotionally and intellectually. If you are unable to engage in calm and reasoned debate, perhaps you should post at all.
            The drivel which is religion dates back much farther. If humanity is unable to outgrow these primitive myths, their SELF-FULFILLING “prophecy of Armageddon” is a potential threat to the very survival of humanity as a species.

          • It would help if you learned some manners, Miss.

            Oh….and did some research before you blatted nonsense.

          • So, you’re racist?

          • LOL….and you’re a turnip.

          • Research what? Your opinion?
            So, you have no manners and are reduced to name calling when your argument fails. The bias of your own racism must weigh heavily on your own conscience.

      • The sexism is about appeasing religious zealots who believe women should be subservient; the use of religion to do so is because it is a well worn and proven man-made power tool fueled by fear and need and greed.

    • No– it’s about the pursuit of power via the pursuit of money using that proven man-made power tool fueled by fear and need and greed: religion.

      • I was talking about abortion is particular…not religion in general.

          • There is no plot going on. No one is out to ‘get you’. Left and right have been dead since 1989. Women are freer now than they ever have been in history.

            Future Shock seems to be flourishing though.

          • While I certainly agree that there is no one out to get me, individually, there are those that are out to have POWER and there are those who are religious — and the religious are, by their own choice to follow in blind faith the teachings of long dead men, nothing if not FOLLOWERS — well organized followers that brainwash successive generations to be followers.
            Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Religion — every flavor of it — is a man-made power tool fueled by fear and need and greed. Religion is a tool that has absolute all or nothing dogma — heaven vs. hell. Politicians pushing the buttons of the follower class is nothing new.
            I certainly have no objection to a woman wearing a scarf — I own quite a few for cold weather myself. Given the current “terrorist” climate and for security concerns, it is not at all unreasonable that some hiding of the face should reasonably be able to be limited in some public places. Mostly such “traditions” are a part of keeping the flock having a group think mentality.
            For the sake of individual liberty and equal right under law — freedom itself — enabling those that seek to limit the rights of women based upon religion is abhorrent.
            I cannot help but believe that, at least in the heat of summer, some more modern Islamic women might actually welcome a legal prohibition against some Islamic traditional garb so that they could forgo that tradition without being ostracized by their family and community.

  2. The Teahaddists only care for the fetus. Once its’ born the kid is on its own, in fact they’re doing everything they can to ensure that it’s life is as ignorant and miserable as possible. They must want the company.

    • “They” want cheap labor. The GOP appeases the religious zealots to enable government to service the wants of the greediest of the wealthiest among us to the detriment of the rest of us..

  3. the new Republican legislature required abortion clinics to meet the
    standards of an outpatient surgical center, causing all of the state’s
    remaining abortion centres to shut down.

    Do you seriously have a problem with an abortion clinic meeting the health standards of an outpatient surgical center? What exactly do you think they’re doing there?

    The Kermit Gosnell case, meanwhile, has given ammunition to those who argue for more stringent regulation of clinics. The Philadelphia abortion doctor was found guilty last year of murdering three babies in botched late-term abortions.

    If you think Gosnell was an isolated case, think again because it isn’t. Here’s another.


    • In Texas, the width of a hallway was one “standard”. Older buildings often did not have wide enough hallways and Planned Parenthood was putting money into much needed prenatal and other medical care rather than renting or buying or building fancy buildings. My main concerns would be cleanliness, competence of staff, and the right equipment for the right task. That is NOT what the Republicans cared about. The Republicans have swapped support for individual liberty and equal right under law with regard to some of the most personal and most important decisions anyone can make in exchange for the votes of the “values” voter — evangelical zealot — votes because otherwise the actual owners of the GOP brand – — the greediest of the wealthiest of the investor class — would otherwise be a permanent minority and the Republican Party would not have the political clout needed to ensure that government continues to best serve the wants of the business community’s most rich and powerful — to the substantial detriment of the employee class. If the status quo worked economically, there would not exist the ever-widening wealth gap that is nothing less than a defect in the very fabric of human society that threatens to rip any semblance of civilization asunder.

  4. The greediest of the wealthiest of the investor class, who are the actual owners of the GOP brand, and who would be a permanent minority without a gullible herd of follower class voters that could be tuned up and turned out on election day by a single hot-button issue ad campaign, decided to abandon any real support for individual liberty and equal right under law with regard to some of the most important and personal decisions any human can make as compensation for the least expensive votes they could buy: an already organized group of people who have proven they will love and worship a mass-murderer (Noah’s ark) and a terrorist (end times promises of plague and self fulfilling prophecy of Armageddon) and who have been brainwashed from birth to be “meek” as long as someone strokes their firm belief that their flavor of lunacy is absolute gospel — and who will do so without regard to the adverse consequences of any other policy on the nation and the majority of its people: evangelical zealots.

  5. Probably has something to do with the fact that they view it as the killing of a human or potential human and think they have the moral imperative to prevent what they see as mass murder. Just as other view it as a woman’s choice and think they have the moral imperative to preserve that choice. It is not sexism or racism. No more than democrats like killing babies.

    • Let’s talk ” mass murder”: The Republican Party leadership and masses are, supposedly, the “values” voters — the religious, supposedly moral folk. These are the same religious zealots that profess to love and do worship a mass murderer — Noah’s ark myth — AND that same beloved mass murder has threatened eternal torture — hell — AND that same beloved mass murderer has, supposedly, promised to return to earth and dump numerous horrific plagues on earth AND that same beloved mass murderer has promised to lead its favorite flavor of zealot in a global war, literally a war to kill every man, woman and child that will not bow to its flavor of zealotry.

  6. Republican focus on abortion because abortion is murder in its cruelest disguise. Any society that allows it is barbaric. How can anyone even start to worry about economic issues with so many defenseless souls being slaughtered?

    • And while I don’t usually mind the lack of the respect the left has for others opinions, their blind hatred of the right is infuriating. They believe its sexism or racism or some other ism. They trot out the argument “they just care about the fetus but not the child”. Its disgusting because we know exactly what it is: their selfish desire to have sex without “consequences”. And its enraging because while we have these childish arguments, the most innocent of us are slaughtered.

      It is true that it is more important than economic issues. And in our country we’re so damn immature, selfish, and completely unjustistifiably self-righteous we can’t even discuss it. If there’s one thing that Canada does worse than anyone in the world it is this.

    • Not to worry, Newt Gingrich a great Republican says that the disembodied spirit of a deceased person lives forever!

  7. Yet another abortion debate… great smokescreen to draw attention away from the real issues — unemployment, increases in the cost of living/food and necessities of life, industrial/chemical pollution of natural resources etc.

  8. Maclean’s, would you please rejig your comments format so that annoyances like the thousands of words here between EmilyOne and suezbell can be folded up and opened if desired rather than forcing us to scroll down page after page? Check out the Globe, for example. (I’ve written about this before but so far no soap…)

  9. To ask why is to imply that there is no moral problem with abortion or that babies are not being butchered. Or, the writer is hurling a vile accusation that Republicans are incapable of sincere moral revulsion at the killing of over 50 million babies by Democrats. I might also add: perhaps some of us at least are frightened by the prospect of Divine wrath upon this nation and world for the callous disregard of the life of innocent babies created in the image of God.

    • YOU are frightened….so everybody has to follow your beliefs.


      • Murderers and those who encourage murder ought to be frightened also. The wrath of God is an awful and you are only a breath away from it.

        • It’s a sheep-herders campfire tale from the Bronze Age…there is no god.

          • You hope.

          • If the only reason you ‘believe’ is becaue you’re afraid not to, then you don’t have much of a god.

        • God only helps athletes win. It doesn’t do anything unambiguously. A burnt piece of toast is always just a burnt piece of toast. But I can see how some would think it a miracle. Unborn babies aren’t high on its list of cares. It would need to have a list.

    • Well, your God aborts more babies than supposedly the Democrats, how come you still support this construct?

  10. It’s because of the gruesome and immoral nature of abortion.

  11. One big issue would be the continual reinforcement of the idea that certain citizens have no rights – the more it’s ‘OK’ to discriminate against some groups, the more the idea of democracy (equal rights, treatment and opportunity) is destroyed.

    Another is that if the Republicans take the ‘right’ to intrude into other people’s people’s very bodies and most personal decisions, (even where voting isn’t involved,) democracy itself is destroyed.

    They’re battering Americans back into the Stone Age, and where they can literally be stoned to death if Authority doesn’t like anything they do or say.

    Look up the Dominionists.

    Google ‘Dominionists stoning’.

    They’re serious, they’re psychopathic, and they’re part of the right-wing seeking power.

  12. The Republican Party: the greatest force for evil in the world today. A boil that needs to be lanced.

  13. Please. The reason is that abortion-motivated voters are single issue voters who don’t care what else you do as long as you’re on the right side of that issue. Since Republicans routinely discard their small government principles once they are in office, it’s a handy way to maintain a voter base (without having to give up any of that tax money they still collect and dispense to their cronies). I’ve noticed that among gay people, for example, the corollary is gay marriage. Among liberal women, it’s abortion rights. They won’t debate the proper role of government in a free society – all they know is that Republicans are against their pet issue, so they’ll keep voting for the kleptocrats in the Democratic party even if on balance, a less stringently governed society would be better for them.

  14. 40% of abortions in America occur in the black community which accounts only for 12% of the total U.S. population. Abortion is decimating the black community. The biggest proponents of it are phony white liberals. You pretend to care but you stab the community in the back. Abortion is demographically screwing with black numbers but you have no problem with it. There are almost as many black babies aborted in NYC as are born. I never hear any white liberals saying that it is a bad thing(White liberals say abortion anywhere anytime is a okay. The reason is the more abortions the less blacks and the easier to control them.
    The same goes for things like school vouchers. Keep the black masses uneducated and down so that they are forced to take your handouts unquestioned. Stick them in failing schools while white unionized teachers put their own children in higher performing public and private schools.
    Or how about guns? The gangs in Chicago can get their hands on any gun. However, if you are a law abiding black man who wants to protect himself forget about it. Rahm Emanuel and his crew in Chicago will do everything to keep you from getting one. The truth is that the Democrat Party( like many parties of the left want to screw minorities ). In the U.S., the Democrat Party(the party of slaveowners and segregationists) works with phony race hustlers to keep blacks under their thumbs(and dependent on their socialist Policies). The Liberals in Canada do much the same way with aboriginals. These white leftists need non-whites to stay down so that they can use false promises to keep minorities addicted to big government programs that these white liberals control and make a living off of. Then, they sit back like Emily and talk about how they really “care” and are helping us poor inflicted non-whites. You want to see bigotry look in the mirror! You are just as bad as the KKK except that you smile

  15. Funny how the people for abortion are alive.An Eagles egg illegal to destroy with a 250 thousand dollar fine and 2 years in prison.Where a human Being is legal to kill for any reason and the taxpayers will pay for it.