A surprising result of Roe, of course, is the effect it has had on the Catholic American voter.
“It would have required a lot of prescience to predict in 1965 that American politics, for so many decades based on economic divisions, would soon split over social issues and, especially, abortion. But not even a very prescient observer could have correctly predicted which party would take which side in the coming battles. On abortion, in particular, it looked obvious which way it would break: The Democrats were the party of Catholic Northerners and Southern whites, the party that believed in using the power of government to protect the weak; the Republicans were the party with historical ties to Planned Parenthood. Somewhere along the line, the parties switched places, with consequences—including the Democrats’ loss of their durable majority—that are plain to see.”
That’s Ramesh Ponnuru, author of The Party of Death, reviewing Mark Stricherz’s Why the Democrats Are Blue: Secular Liberalism and the Decline of the People’s Party. The review is in the March issue of First Things—which we’re sending to the printers tomorrow and you should receive in two to three weeks.
But in the meantime, consider this lament in today’s Washington Post from a Catholic couple describing themselves as “Political Orphans in 2008” and asking: “Is There Space for Our Pro-Life Ethic?”
They write: “But as we came of age politically, we felt orphaned by the Democratic Party, whose pro-life positions on war, poverty and the environment did not extend to the life of the most weak and vulnerable, those not yet born.” Meanwhile, “the Grand Old Party’s move to the right, including its hardening, dominant positions on the Iraq war, access to guns and the death penalty, among other issues, have made it an inhospitable place for us to dwell permanently.”
And they conclude: “If the Democratic Party could adopt a much less disdainful, more welcoming, perhaps even “pro-choice” stance toward those under its tent who have conscientious objections to abortion, we would be much less squeamish about supporting its candidates, and we know that we are not alone in that conviction.”