“America’s mayor” finally stands up for what he believes.
I nearly puked when I heard John Kerry say about a vote regarding the Iraq War: “I actually did vote for it before I voted against it.” That, and a thousand other things, enabled the Republicans to label Kerry as the ultimate flip-flopper—just another politician who was willing to say anything to get elected.
John Kerry has nothing on the current crop of Republican presidential candidates. Mitt Romney used to be for abortion rights, before he announced he was against them. And, he used to be for gay rights, before he was against them.
But, leading the flip-flop brigade so far is “America’s mayor,” Rudy Giuliani. Rudy has been all over the map these days, both literally and figuratively, trying to find a position on abortion that he can articulate without getting lambasted.
Rudy’s problem is that he’s running in the Republican primary, where primary voters have shown zero tolerance for pro-choice Republicans since Ronald Reagan ran for president in 1980 on a Republican Platform. That included a plank to seek a constitutional amendment that “an unborn child has an individual right to life which cannot be infringed.”
Every four years since then, the Republican Party has endorsed a platform that has strengthened in its opposition to abortion rights, including restricting the use of public funds for abortion; eliminating funding for organizations that advocate or support abortion rights; and supporting the appointment of judges at all levels of the judiciary who value the sanctity of “unborn” life.
It is no coincidence that Dubya’s father, a.k.a. 41, was pro-choice in 1980 when he lost in the Republican primary to Reagan, a very vocal opponent of abortion rights. Forty-one learned his lesson though, and flipped on the issue of choice when he ran in 1988, announcing his opposition to abortion rights. His flipping paid off, and he was nominated and elected president.
When Dubya ran, he took a lesson from Reagan’s playbook and announced his opposition to abortion early on. The Republican primary voters ate it up. Dubya has given the “pro-life” movement everything he promised, including two United States Supreme Court Justices who are vehemently opposed to abortion and whose votes have begun to reflect that.
And then along comes Rudy.
Poor Rudy…a social moderate with a history of supporting abortion rights and gay rights running in the Republican primary, trying to woo the votes of the far right. You would think as long as Rudy has had to ruminate about the issue, he would have formed some cogent responses when asked about abortion. After all, this is a former mayor who has been vocal in his support of abortion rights for decades, saying in 1989 that he supported public funding of abortion for poor women, and announcing in the ’90s that he agreed with then-President Clinton when he vetoed the first “Partial-Birth Abortion Act.”
Surely, Rudy had to have known he was going to get questioned in the Republican primary about abortion. Still, he seemed almost surprised in the first debate when he was asked about abortion and Roe v. Wade. With regard to Roe, he said he wouldn’t mind if it were repealed. Then, he said it would be OK if it weren’t. Then he said he hated abortion but would respect a woman’s right to make a different choice.
After flip-flopping across America trying to simultaneously placate religious conservatives and reconcile his current statements on abortion with his prior acts, Rudy has finally taken a real position. After news reports surfaced reflecting that he had personally contributed to Planned Parenthood six times, Rudy stepped up. He decided it was time to be himself and state his true position.
He is pro-choice. He stated unequivocally at Houston Baptist University that while he believes abortion is “morally wrong,” he “would grant women the right to make that choice.” Irrespective of how he personally feels about abortion, Giuliani said he would leave the decision up to the woman. He is then—by definition—pro-choice.
In announcing his position on abortion, Rudy explained that there are bigger issues in this post-9/11 world. He is right. And if he really wants the American public to believe he will stand up to the terrorists of the world, he took a strong first step by standing up to the religious fundamentalists that have held the Republican Party hostage since 1980.
Writing from the liberal side, Houston attorney Daryl Moore has a general practice and is board certified in civil appellate law.