STAR PARKER: Republicans must lead abortion debate
This year, as every year, I will be joining the hundreds of thousands who will be arriving in Washington, D.C., for the March for Life. March for Life notes the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, Jan. 22, 1973, which legalized abortion on demand in our country.
The event has taken place every year since 1973 and will continue to take place every year until this disastrous and destructive decision is reversed.
Those who come to Washington express the breadth and depth of the resolve they hold for enshrining respect for the sanctity of life as part of our national culture.
They often brave the hostile elements of winter in our nation’s capital. And have also braved many different political climates.
Fortunately, this year, the pro-life political climate has dramatically improved.
Operation Rescue, one the nation’s leading activist pro-life Christian organizations, has named President Donald Trump its Pro-Life Person of the Year.
Last October, the House passed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. This legislation prohibits abortion after 20 weeks, the point at which it’s estimated that the unborn child can feel pain.
Trump has indicated that he is ready to sign the bill into law. In order for this to happen, it must pass the Senate. However, there is considerable doubt that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell can muster the necessary 60 votes, particularly now that the Republican count in the Senate is down to 51.
Nevertheless, the push should be made in the Senate, and there are indications that the vote will take place.
Today’s political landscape is characterized by increased partisan polarization, and abortion is no exception.
According to a 2017 Gallup poll, 71 percent of Democrats self-identify as “pro-choice” compared with 36 percent of Republicans — a difference of 35 percentage points. Sixteen years ago, in 2001, the gap between Democrats and Republicans on this issue was 26 points. The 71 percent “pro-choice” figure among Democrats in 2017 was the highest it’s been in the last 17 years.
The nation’s highest abortion rates are among black and Hispanics, both of whom vote disproportionately for Democrats. So, as in other areas, these minority communities are not getting the leadership they need in the Democratic politicians they vote for.
It’s why Republicans should push for floor votes on abortion. It provides an opportunity to push Democrats and raise awareness among their constituents about this issue.
Black women constitute 6 percent of our population, yet they account for 35 percent of abortions. How can Democrats possibly be serving this community by supporting and encouraging this disaster?
It’s vital for blacks, and for all Americans, to understand that abortion is not an issue that can be viewed in isolation. Lack of respect for the sanctity of life spills over into other critical areas of human behavior.
Thus it is no accident that the years since the Roe v. Wade decision have been years in which the American family has collapsed.
In 1960, 73 percent of all children were living with two parents in a first marriage. By 2014, this was down to 46 percent.
In 2014, 54 percent of black children were living with a single parent. Seventy-one percent of black babies were born to unwed mothers in 2014 compared with 40 percent in 1960.
Research is overwhelming regarding the centrality of a healthy family structure to success in life. There is little question that the deep issues in black communities today tie to family collapse.
And at the core of that collapse is the absence of reverence for the sanctity of life.
There is no issue more central to our national moral, physical and fiscal health than abortion. And the partisan implications are clear.
Republicans must help lead blacks and Hispanics out of the darkness in which the Democratic Party is holding them hostage.
Star Parker is an author and president of CURE, Center for Urban Renewal and Education.