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Opinion: It’s time to name your price

The Roe regime of judicial policy-making obscured and diluted the connection between voting and abortion, but now the candidates we vote for will determine whether human life in utero is protected or not.


It’s time for hostage negotiations.

Following the overturning of Roe v. Wade, Democrats, led by ostensible Catholics Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi, have made imposing a radical pro-abortion regime the center of their appeal to voters. This pitch seems unlikely to save them in the impending midterm elections, but it does clarify the stakes. Voters who claim to oppose abortion can no longer use the Supreme Court’s usurpation of abortion policy as an excuse for supporting pro-abortion politicians on the grounds that elected officials can’t do much about it.

Now, abortion is on the ballot.

Of course, other excuses remain for voters who profess to oppose abortion but nonetheless support pro-abortion politicians. A common claim is that pro-abortion politicians are better on other issues. For instance, “faithful Catholic” Democrats will assert that the economic policies of the politicians they support provide more benefits for the poor and working classes, and therefore voting for them is, on balance, more truly pro-life. The moral calculus on this is dubious, with more than a whiff of hostage-taking to it (“Sure I’d love to protect babies from the violence of abortion, but we need universal preschool first”).

Still, if we take it seriously, I have a simple request for those who make this argument: name your price.

Please let us know how much money it will take for you to prioritize supporting those who will protect human life in utero. How expansive (and expensive) of a welfare state is required before you’ll stop voting for politicians who support taxpayer-funded abortion on demand until birth? Which set of economic policies would be enough? How much have decades of deficit spending and wars on poverty fallen short? What sort of deal would it take to get you to push hard for your party to restrict abortion, and to walk away if they don’t? Could we, say, give you an extra $100 billion in welfare spending a year in exchange for banning elective abortions in the second and third trimesters?

Such questions may seem fanciful in our polarized political climate, but they are practical and essential, with both policy and personal spiritual implications. On the policy front, there is a genuine movement on the Right, including some GOP officials, to provide more assistance for mothers, children, and families. Texas Republicans unilaterally led the way on this when they paired their “Heartbeat Bill” with tens of millions of dollars in funding to care for women and children.

It is not that conservatives have abandoned all skepticism regarding the welfare state, but that our general doubt about big government is not the same as a libertarian absolutism on the subject. And Republican officeholders tend to be less averse to spending than their rhetoric would suggest. There is therefore room for conservative scholars, such as my EPPC colleague Patrick Brown, to develop and promote practical pro-life and pro-family policies that avoid the worst boondoggle-and-bailout excesses of big-government liberalism—and GOP leaders such as Marco Rubio are listening. Hopefully self-styled pro-life Democrats are too.

The shifting of political coalitions further complicates the narrative that Democrats are the party that most cares for the poor and downtrodden. The Democratic Party is increasingly home to the Bigs of America: Big Business and Big Tech, Wall Street, Hollywood and academia. The material interests of the ruling class and its hangers-on and adjutants urge easy abortion as a substitute for helping poor and working families—businesses would rather pay for abortion than maternity leave. This disdain for helping poor families is illustrated by the attacks, rhetorical and physical, on pregnancy resource centers, which provide real help, and therefore real choice, for mothers. And the money Biden is spending on student loan forgiveness would buy a lot of everything from subsidized housing to car seats to diapers.

Additionally, the unilateral initiatives by Republicans in deep-red states suggests that there are purple-state opportunities for pairing abortion restrictions with increased spending to support children and families. The maximalist pro-abortion position makes even many Democratic voters squeamish, so cutting a deal for extra social spending in exchange for restricting late-term abortions makes sense and should be attempted—but that deal only works if some Democrats are willing to buck the abortion lobby.

That this bargain seems unlikely suggests a need for uncomfortable self-examination by voters who claim to oppose abortion yet vote for pro-abortion politicians. To be sure, candidates always fall short of the ideal, and politics necessarily involves compromise. And though the GOP is officially against abortion, it still has many faults and bad characters. Nonetheless, adherence to politicians and a party that are vehemently pro-abortion is increasingly difficult to justify, other than from a reflexive partisanship that has occluded any rational evaluation of the moral issues at stake.

The Roe regime of judicial policy-making obscured and diluted the connection between voting and abortion, but now the candidates we vote for will determine whether human life in utero is protected or not. This is why anyone who supports pro-abortion politicians while claiming to oppose abortion should name their price. It is incumbent on them to explain, to themselves and others, what is more important than directly protecting innocent human lives from the violence of abortion.

To all the “faithful Catholic” Democrats out there: please just give us your demands so we can negotiate. And for the love of God, stop killing the hostages.

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About Nathanael Blake 22 Articles
Nathanael Blake, PhD, is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. His primary research interests are American political theory, Christian political thought, and the intersection of natural law and philosophical hermeneutics. His published scholarship has focused on Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Alasdair MacIntyre and Russell Kirk. He is currently working on a study of J.R.R. Tolkien’s anti-rationalism. He writes from Virginia.


    • Unfortunately so true. Also unfortunately many “faithful Catholics” will sell their vote for the free stuff (30 pieces of silver) promises of the Dems.

    • Well, I don’t know. Our governor is prolife & a Democrat. So are some of our best state senators & we have absolutely no clinics open now that commit feticide. Nada.

      I realize that’s kind of unique but so are a number of other things here: drive thru bars, minors can drink alcoholic beverages in restaurants under their parents’ authorization, Napoleonic estate laws, etc., etc.

    • Richard Blanchard, by the same reasoning, to all the “faithful Catholic” Republicans out there ”One cannot be a faithful catholic and a republican.
      There are aspects of real life that will bring the “faithful Catholic” into conflict with governing bodies “of the world” and we as followers of Jesus are called to be ‘not of the world” No matter who we vote for we must remain set apart as is defined by following the character and the way of Jesus. To politicise one faith issue such as the issue of abortion has been, is to allow our faith to be co opted for a political agenda! Of politics in general, everyone wants a piece of Jesus to legitimise their agenda while neither ‘side’ wants the whole Jesus. Jesus came to make us whole.
      We have three things at our disposal, us humans; Truth, Reason and for those who choose, Faith.
      Think about it.

    • Bullsheet. Once can certainly be a Catholic and be a Democrat. I do marvel that any Catholic can vote for a party that nominated and still support a traitor and criminal like Trump though.

  1. I am a Republican and pro-life.

    With the mid-term elections baring down on us, the Republican
    ‘ princes’ have become violent and toxic.
    Some issues I find difficult to understand…

    0) Above the law by Ignoring their oath to protect our Constitution.
    0) Failing to defend our democracy by confiscating confidential/top secret documents and denying the fair 2020 election.
    0) Storming the Capitol attempting a coup to overturn the 2020 presidential election, killing Capitol Police.
    0) Aligning itself with extreme right-wing violent gangs, (Proud boys, Oath keepers, Qanon, etc.)
    0) Threatening violence against the families of anyone who disagrees, (loyalty).
    0) Using the media to propagate false and misleading claims.
    0) Promoting voter suppression.
    0) Attempting to influence the state Electoral College process by assigning false state electors.
    0) 0) 0)…
    I find it hard to vote Democratic… How could anyone vote Republican with this track record? What is their platform?
    God save the fetus and the union!

    • Based on the content of your post, you are not a Republican in any sense of the word. Republicans aren’t doing any of the things on your list. Those are all Democratic strategies. Stop posturing please.

      • Then Athanasius, given your repudiation of morganB’s statement, would you be so kind as to define for this Australian observer, what it is to be a Republican? Please as best you can defer to truth and reason.

        • Given your repeatedly false, malicious, and unreasonable accusations against Cardinal Pell on this site in the past, this American owes you no explanation regarding any issue of the day. We haven’t forgotten about that. Put your own moral, spiritual, and intellectual house in order first, then you might have a measure of credibility to participate in the important discussions.

          • Athanasius, by your reckoning, what must I do to put my own moral, spiritual and intellectual house in order so i may again participate in the important discussions?

      • Your comments are fake news. Republicans, sadly, are doing all of those things. It is so sad to see otherwise good Catholics confuse lies with the truth. Who knows how many Republicans, like Mr Walker, are personally in favor of abortion abut politically opposed? It’s a real Matthew 21:28-32 moment, eh?

    • Wow. 100% of what you posted is false. I dont know where you get your news but you need to get it someplace else. All you have posted are fake DEM talking points and inaccurate propaganda geared to helping the DEMs spin reality. . Voter suppression? Use of media for propaganda? ATTEMPTING A COUP???? That would be hysterically funny if not for the fact that so many ill informed people believe it. For everything you posted, insert the name Democrat and you will be on track. The democrats have been pushing defund the police, allowing illegals into the nation by the millions and thus have directly caused the deaths of 100,000’s of Americans.They have proposed ending the filibuster, packing the court and adding Puerto Rico and DC as STATES so they can be in the political majority FOREVER. They make appointments by skin color and not ability. We have already seen the results of one party rule in California and NY , haven’t we? They are dangerous cesspools run by incompetents. I wouldnt vote for a Democrat at this point if my life depended upon it.

  2. My price? The immediate shuttering and shutdown of all Catholic news sites. Mail me a screenshot of the dead webhost and then we’ll talk. Thanks Nathan!

  3. “To be sure, candidates always fall short of the ideal, and politics necessarily involves compromise.”

    This is – largely – nonsense. Imagine if we allowed people who murder to do so during permitted “murder-immunity” times. Murder would only be a crime if committed during certain times.

    There are some things in politics that can involve a matter of compromise (e.g. taxes), but basic moral principles aren’t some of them.

    The fact is that no person – moral or natural – has a right to do wrong, so government must secure the natural rights of – primarily – individuals.

  4. I’m interested in Mrs. Cracker’s comment above. We shouldn’t despair of the Democrats becoming more open to pro-life. (Despair – one of the sins against hope – Baltimore Catechism).

    • It’s funny, I just did an interview with a journalist who wanted reactions about the midterm elections. I told them I really have never felt like a Republican and would much rather vote Democrat but I haven’t been able to do that in good conscience in a federal election for decades.
      Maybe on a local level Democrats can return to their roots. You know back in the day it was more often the GOP that supported things like eugenics and the Democrats were the party of Catholics and the working class.

  5. As one can readily see from too many of the posts, we are very rapidly becoming a pro-choice Church. All made too easy because we have a pontiff who mouths pro-life but over and over again prefers choice and selects pro-abortion advisors. With him are numerous US Cardinals and Bishops, who declare themselves pro-life but prefer pro-abortion Catholic politicians to lead. Our nation is in trouble. Our Church is collapsing into a religiously garbed wing of western progressivism. Soon it shall be thrown on the path to be trampled under foot. Their party’s platform having served as their catechism and conscience, Cupich, Tobin, Gregory, McElroy, Farrell and the rest of the hirelings will have achieved their goal, as they smugly sit there with their french cuffs and belly crosses (which, by the way, used to be placed near the heart … but no longer and oh so telling).

    Mr. Blake, your offer should be made to those who have led us here.

  6. RE: The supposed “coup” of Jan. 6. It’s presented as a hard coup attempt, which would have entailed still president Trump employing the military and the state taking over the radio and tv stations, for starters. It was in fact a mostly peaceful demonstration with a handful of less peaceful ones going too far. It was ugly and wrong, but an explanation for its inspiration is woefully incomplete without talking about Pelosi going too far by ripping up a sitting president’s State of the Union speech, Maxine Waters looking right into a camera broadcasting to the nation saying: “this is an illegitimate president” and urging people to accost Republican members of congress in restaurants or Adam Schiff weaponizing the impeachment process so Trump “can’t run again because he might win” – all these things were the truly disgraceful sullying of the hallowed halls of Congress and a threat to democracy yet they weren’t even censored for it when by rights they should have been expelled from the chamber. These actions led to extreme frustration which boiled over. It was indeed a sad day, but all the incessant harping about it and insisting it was a hard coup attempt which it never came close to is breathtakingly cynical when a four years long soft coup, which proved successful, goes completely ignored.

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