Upon hearing the news that the Food and Drug Administration approved
for use in the U.S. the controversial abortion drug RU-486 last week,
Republican presidential nominee George W. Bush called the decision
“wrong” and said, “I fear that making this abortion pill widespread will
make abortions more and more common, rather than more and more rare.”
As expected, his Democratic rival, Al Gore, “approved” of the FDA’s
decision and brushed off legitimate concerns about the safety of using
the drug by saying, in essence, if the FDA approved it and says it’s
safe then fine, it’s safe. End of story. Pretty hypocritical for a
politician that used to be pro-life.
Meanwhile, President Clinton, in announcing the FDA’s decision last
Thursday, said it wasn’t “political” and that it was made strictly as a
matter of clearing up the approval process for the drug, which had been
stalled for years while clinical trials and other “studies” were being
Personally, I don’t know if the FDA’s decision will cause more women
to have abortions. Similarly, I don’t know if the drug is or isn’t safe.
Neither of these two issues are important enough to spend time
discussing because, frankly, in the great scheme of the abortion debate,
they are irrelevant.
The pill causes death to an unborn child and that is wrong, no matter
what the cause. In a society that supposedly values all rights “of the
children,” it’s ironic that an administration would approve yet another
procedure that targets the most helpless of children — those
forming but not yet born.
Clinton’s “not political” proclamation, though, does bear some
discussion because first of all, the FDA’s decision indeed was
political; how could it not be? Abortion has been just about the
most divisive issue in American history since slavery and states’ rights
led the South to abandon the union 140 years ago.
It’s also not a stretch to believe that the White House likely
prodded the FDA to make its approval before Clinton left office
next January. Clinton has said time and again there are lots of
“unfinished” issues he’d like to clear off his presidential desk
(besides the memories of Monica Lewinsky) before he packs up and leaves
Additionally, Clinton is, has been, and always will be an arrogant
“in-your-face” kind of guy when it comes to his personal pet peeves and
issues. Abortion — again — is one of those issues, and for a guy who
behaves so sexually irresponsibly, it only makes sense that he’d want
women to be able to “destroy the evidence” if something unforeseen
However, this very political decision — which some analysts have
already said was designed to shore up support for Gore — may just
backfire this time. Arrogance, in the end, will do you in if you can’t
All sorts of recent studies on American culture, sexuality, and
behavioral norms have shown a couple of things:
- Abortion rates are falling and have been for years
- Sexual “misconduct” among groups of women most likely to choose
an abortion has also declined
- Though surveys show Americans about evenly divided on the issue
of legalized abortion, most disagree with it and wouldn’t choose
it as an option
If true, then these studies would suggest that most American
women have shunned abortion — or are beginning to — in lieu of
behavior that wouldn’t cause a woman to consider one in the first place.
So where is the expected electorate boost to Gore, the Democrats and, by
default, President Clinton supposed to come from?
Not very smart politically, if one of your campaign’s key
constituencies is women.
In fact another key constituency group traditionally “claimed” by
Democrats — Hispanics (many of whom are devout Catholics) —
certainly won’t be happy with the administration’s push to make
abortion easier, more accessible, and less problematic. And they are not
likely to be pleased with Gore’s endorsement of the FDA’s decision,
With the exception of the establishment press, the administration and
a few very vocal pro-abortion groups, the FDA’s decision, I believe, is
going to be less-well received by the voter groups the decision was
aimed at than the political hot shots who prodded and pleaded for it may
Bush said exactly the right thing about this decision to appeal to
most voters — especially women and mothers. He said that, as president,
he will work to create a culture of life in this country, rather
than continue to foster a culture of division and death.
With so much voter concern and awareness of inappropriate
entertainment industry marketing of materials to our kids, school
shootings, street violence, air rage, road rage, the breakdown of the
traditional family and a host of other social concerns, approving a
procedure that contradicts “life” and the sanctity of it right
now — less than six weeks before Nov. 7 — just wasn’t very smart.