Worried about a backlash from voters after the Supreme Court's overturning of Roe v. Wade, Republican politicians this midterm season are moderating their opposition to abortion. Some Catholics and others involved in the anti-abortion movement say they are skeptical and angry about the apparent softening on the issue ahead of the Nov. 8 midterm elections. Following are NCR reader responses to this reporting. The letters have been edited for length and clarity.
While reading the article, I went to see if the usual Catholic uber rightwing rhetoric was there. I wasn't disappointed. They continue incorrectly using the term "pro-life" rather than "pro-birth." This is important because if they put as much time and effort into defeating state sanctioned murder (death penalty) as they have ensuring every fetus is born, they would earn the right to be called pro-life. They don't, so they're not. The religio-political rhetoric used by the one issue culture warriors continues with no end in sight.
That Republican politicians have scrubbed their websites and retreated from their whole-hearted support of the pro-birth movement is to be expected because they don't personally believe it. If they did, they wouldn't flip flop on their public position.
How is this different from President Joe Biden and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi saying they personally are pro-life (they are against the death penalty) yet, respect the right of a woman to make medical decisions in her own best interests? Yet, Biden and Pelosi are attacked by the U.S. bishops' conference for their stand. This is the highest degree of religious hypocrisy.
How can these people, clergy included, expect to ally themselves with Democrats on urgent issues such as climate change, immigration reform and universal healthcare? The obvious answer is these issues aren't on their radar so it's not an immediate concern. The underlying concern is how can Republican Catholics strongly opposing Democrats on one issue realign their thinking as well as their visceral emotional feeling in order to effectively cooperate on other important issues?
MICHAEL J. McDERMOTT
The posturing of the Republicans in this election season should surprise no one. The past 60 years have been marked by rhetoric designed to appeal to one element with the express purpose of generating turnout in the elections to support the Republican Party ostensibly since they were the pro-life party. What recent events have told us is that hypocrisy is rampant among those who profess to be pro-life.
The quote attributed to the president of Students for Life of America is sophomoric at best since any reading of the polls, as well as the results of elections such as in Kansas, show that the voters do not want draconian restrictions on women's agency. Most Americans recognize that abortion is the wrong choice but also do not believe that choice belongs to politicians whose own track records on other social justice issues is wanting.
At this point it is anyone's guess how the Dobbs ruling will galvanize the electorate for the election of 2022. The Republicans seem intent on turning the focus away from fundamental rights of privacy, agency, and citizenship which they and their judges have already diminished and have the electorate, or key sections of the electorate, focus instead on an exaggerated impact of inflation.
Compared to the early 1980s, our economy today is robust even though inflation is higher than it was a few years ago. The supply chain issues, the pandemic, higher demand for fewer goods, have all factored into these circumstances. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with the economy but if the far-right wing of the Republican Party seizes power what is now a normal economic equation will become an economic disaster.
CHARLES A. Le GUERN
I share the shock and anger of the pro-life movement toward Republicans who are softening their stances against abortion so they have a better chance, as they see it, to win their midterm elections. Whoever heard of a (Republican) politician abandoning his/her principles (that word really doesn't apply here) just to win an election?
Time to wake up and smell the coffee, ladies and gentlemen of the pro-life movement. This is what you get for mixing faith and religion with politics. These politicians are playing you like a fiddle. "Protecting life" is hardly their primary interest. Winning is. And you fell for it thinking these folks really are on your side.