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Kudos to those Democratic members of the House of Representatives who broke ranks with their party leadership to join the vast majority of Republican members in voting against late-term abortions. As for the seven or eight Republicans  who joined Nancy Pelosi et al. in an effort to protect late-term abortions, the quicker they are defeated by pro-life Republicans in a primary or by pro-life Democrats in a general election, the happier I will be. (I know, I know, there are unusual circumstances in which support for a pro-abortion candidate even over a pro-life candidate is indicated in order to prevent control of the chamber from shifting from pro-life hands into pro-choice hands, but you get my point.)

It is, to me, a scandal that Republicans (fortunately, not many, and the number has diminished over the years) who would never dream of voting for a tax increase will support and protect the legal freedom to kill unborn children. Within bounds, questions of the proper level of taxation are essentially prudential in nature. That is not to say that they are unimportant. Nor is it to claim that questions of basic liberty and justice are never implicated in tax policy. But there is no more central or critical moral-political principle than the principle of the profound, inherent, and equal dignity of each and every member of the human family, and, corresponding to that principle, the right of every human being—-irrespective of age, size, location, stage of development or condition of dependency—-to the basic protection of the laws. That is a principle and a right that Republicans and Democrats alike should honor, however much they may (reasonably and responsibly) disagree on questions of taxation, economic and environmental policy, how best to fight poverty and promote upward social mobility, and prudential questions of every description. (Again, this is not to suggest that prudential questions are unimportant or do not often implicate issues of basic liberty and justice.)

Now, someone might ask: “Why condemn a few Republicans when the vast majority of Democrats have thoroughly embraced the abortion license and will defend it politically at almost any cost?” Well, yes. As an ex-Democrat, I’m appalled that the party to which I once gave my allegiance has thrown itself into the abortion abyss. When I was growing up in West Virginia, for me and my family, the Democratic Party was the “protector of the little guy.” Alas, that was a long time ago, and a very different Democratic Party. But now that I’m a member of the other party, I’ll leave it to my pro-life friends who’ve stayed in the Democratic Party to fight to turn around that enormous ocean liner. I wish them the very best. For my part, I want to make sure that the Republican Party beomes ever more fully and firmly the protector of (what the late Henry Hyde called) “the littlest guy of all.”

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