John McCain Recommends the GOP Leave Abortion Alone

After the massive failure of Republicans to capture the most recent elections, party leaders are considering what it will take to take to win back the American people.

On Fox News Sunday, John McCain said the following, as quoted by Politico:

“We are going to give a much more positive agenda. It can’t be just being against the Democrats… You’ve got to be for things, and we have to give them something like the ‘Contract for America,’” he said.

While he was proud of his personal pro-life message, McCain said “as far as young women are concerned, I don’t think anybody like me – I can state my position on abortion, but other than that, leave the issue alone when we are in the kind of economic situation, and frankly, national security situation that we’re in.”

The former Presidential candidate also mentioned that they needed to get involved in immigration reform.

What do you think of McCain’s statement that the GOP would need to set aside the issue of abortion to move on to security and economic issues?

What do you think would win people back to the GOP?

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Comments

  1. JoAnne Dietrich says:

    Abortion is a personal choice between a woman and her doctor. Government should stay out of it. We need to focus on creating jobs and fixing the economy. I am not sure why republicans ar obsessed with controlling women’s bodies. If you are against abortion, don’t have one. Personally,I would never have an abortion. I would never take away a person’s right to one.

    • If you hold the view that a fetus isn’t a living person, then it makes perfect sense to frame the debate as being about women’s rights. But you need to understand that for those of us who believe the fetus is a living person, it’s not about the woman’s body or rights. It’s about the fetus’s right to live. We who oppose abortion view our efforts as protecting the fetus’s rights, not about controlling the woman’s body. Abortion is not my main concern, but I hope you can recognize that if a person believes that abortion is the murder of an unborn child, it could easily become an “obsession” for that person to protect those unborn children.

      I readily concede that given the way opponents of abortion argue, it sure does sound like their main concern is controlling women’s bodies. It would be helpful for the overall debate if opponents of abortion would stop using the “pay the price, hussy!” argument (which really just muddies the waters by making the debate about sex, instead of about life, as well as causing reasonable people everywhere to cringe) and instead offer constructive, non-accusatory alternatives. For example, I’d be all for a national DNA bank for all men over 18 (require registration like the draft as a condition for voting, driver’s licenses, etc.) so that paternity can be established and men can be on the hook for medical and childcare expenses. Sure, that means we men would lose a lot of privacy, but I think we’ve generally have forfeited those rights by our deadbeat behavior patterns. Such a national database would probably never come about, but surely we as a society can do something more to get men on the hook for the children they sire so that fewer women are incentivized by financial pressures to get abortions. That would be a, though certainly not the only, constructive approach: imposing greater responsibility on men as a means of disincentivizing abortions. Nobody in the GOP camp is offering anything of the kind. As far as I’m concerned, if the GOP can’t say anything constructive, they shouldn’t say anything at all. McCain is on the right track.

      • JoAnne Dietrich says:

        Bryce, you make some excellent points. If the GOP truly thought abortion was murdering a human being, they would make men more accountable. I also get aggravated with the ” pay the price hussy attitude”. There are many good pro-life people. Nasty hussy comments just hurt their cause.

      • JoAnne, I admire your initial comment and I stand behind your position (as much as a man, who can never have an abortion, possibly can). However, I really appreciate what Bryce has to say.

        Bryce, I don’t think I’ve ever appreciated a pro-life stance as much as I do yours. Not only do you frame your argument to make it about life, you also provided an EXCELLENT solution to hold men more accountable.

        I support a woman’s right to choose but even more than that, I support Bryce’s position to hold men accountable. Yes, it’s intrucive, but I think it’s very necessary.

      • There’s a whole lot more to a national DNA bank than just paternity. Think of what it would mean to subpoena that database. You’d have a little under half the nation’s DNA available for scanning – but not the rest. That’s a vast inequality and privacy breach right there, that goes way beyond accountability for children.

        • Duh, you can’t subpoena it, it’s not a person. Pardon the mistake.

        • I agree that there’d be a lot more to it than just paternity, which is why I’m doubtful that it could happen in practice. I mean, there could be a partition of some kind to keep the data separate from law enforcement agencies, so I think it’s technically achievable, but there’s almost certainly no way the public will accept it. Heck, it’s probably unconstitutional (unreasonable search and seizure, equal protection, self-incrimination, etc.). But in a perfect world, I’d love to see it happen.

      • John Anderson says:

        If you’re going to put together a national database of DNA, why wouldn’t you include women in the database? Since we’re throwing out due process rights when it comes to illegal searches, we might as well utilize it for solving crimes too. That way, if you find a baby in a dumpster, you’ll know who put it there.

        • Well, the idea would be not to use the DNA for criminal prosecution, since that’s when the gravest concerns about individual liberty and constitutionality arise. Since it would only be for establishing the parent for purposes of financial accountability, it doesn’t seem necessary to include women, since the hospital will record who birthed the child.

          • John Anderson says:

            What if the child isn’t born in a hospital?

            • I’m certainly not opposed to including women. If enough women opt to give birth outside of a hospital, birthing center, or other facility, it might be worth the expense of collecting their DNA, too.

  2. John Anderson says:

    If I were a GOP strategist, I’d try to win the Asian vote. Most Asians are socially conservative (not social conservatives), Asians haven’t benefited from affirmative action and many feel that they were victimized by it. Asians are also the highest paid ethnic group in the U.S so there is an economic synergy. Asians are the second fastest growing minority in the U.S. so that should balance Democratic gains especially if the GOP can suppress some minority and women’s votes.

    Luckily, I’m not a GOP strategist.

  3. Dear GMP mods,

    Bryson is on to something here:

    “I’d be all for a national DNA bank for all men over 18 (require registration like the draft as a condition for voting, driver’s licenses, etc.) so that paternity can be established and men can be on the hook for medical and childcare expenses. Sure, that means we men would lose a lot of privacy, but I think we’ve generally have forfeited those rights by our deadbeat behavior patterns. Such a national database would probably never come about, but surely we as a society can do something more to get men on the hook for the children they sire so that fewer women are incentivized by financial pressures to get abortions.”

    This discussion would be an excellent feature.

    • I’d love to see a discussion of how to hold men more accountable for their child-bearing. Tobias and I (above) don’t really think my idea is feasible, but I’d love to draw on the hive mind for other ideas. And if others disagree with Tobias and me and think my idea could happen, I’d of course love to hear how they think we could do it.

    • I’m all for giving men financial abortion options, your idea may have some merit but the DNA database would need to target everyone and not just men. Isn’t it a better idea to just provide better welfare to parents whilst trying to track the father? Making more jobs that are accessible to parents would be a great start too. But not everyone wants to be a parent, so either we need abortion or at least some way to give the child up no questions asked whilst increasing sex education n funding for contraceptives. It’s not an easy issue to handle…

      “Sure, that means we men would lose a lot of privacy, but I think we’ve generally have forfeited those rights by our deadbeat behavior patterns.”
      Oh joy, misandry. Let’s punish the good men for the actions of the few.

      • I wouldn’t consider it a punishment to have my DNA in a paternity database. The only ones who are punished are the ones who will no longer be able to engage in their wild oats-sowing behaviors.

        And part of the reason I’d like to hold fathers more responsible for their children is so men will have an incentive to take greater precautions. I doubt that most abortions are the result of failed contraception. It seems much more likely that more unintended/unwanted pregnancies occur because the guy refused or “forgot” to wear a condom. Put that guy on the hook for child support and medical expenses, and see how well he remembers to wrap it up.

        • Most I hear about from friends is they don’t use a condom, and her birth control fails. I actually think early abortion as a way of contraception is ok but prefer people to try their best to avoid it in the first place. No one should be forced to be a parent, nor give birth especially since birth can kill a woman.

  4. The Wet One says:

    “What do you think would win people back to the GOP?”

    Less crazy, more nuanced reason. A bridge too far? So far as I can tell, yes. But I don’t vote in the U.S. anyway, so who cares what I think?

    The Wet One.

  5. McCain’s on the right track on this issue. Perhaps he’s channeling the past giant of Arizona politics and conservatism Barry Goldwater. The conservative back then bears little resembelance to today’s bunch. It was more Libertarian and believed in indiviualism. That government should solve problems , sure, but it shouldn’t dictate how people live. In short, no government agancy has the right to stop you from praying in school, but neighter do they have the right to tell you that you HAVE to pray!

  6. John Anderson says:

    So let’s say that we create this database for paternity. Would this be in exchange for banning all abortion? I think this is Bryce’s position. Let’s say men buy into it in exchange for requiring a father’s consent before allowing an adoption. There would be no more excuses as to I don’t know who the father is or can’t contact him. You get the consent or you’re stuck with the kid. You guys realize that it has the potential to hold women accountable too.

    That will change the whole adoption equation. That will mean that women who don’t want to support a child would only have one option that would guaranty it after a pregnancy, an illegal abortion or killing or abandoning a child after birth. So I would suggest that we include women’s DNA in this database also and it would probably be a good idea to allow law enforcement to access the database if any fetuses or dead new borns are found as long as we’re holding parents accountable.

    Let’s say we allow an exception for rape. Well we know who the accused rapist is, but what if he didn’t rape her and she just wants to terminate the pregnancy? That would be a false rape accusation that isn’t a vague one with no identifiable victim. It would have a face and a man would pay the price. Do we increase penalties for false rape accusations to equal what rapists would have faced? Would she have to prove it first before being allowed an abortion and should she be charged with murder as well as a false rape accusation if it was found to be false after the fact?

    I’m a staunch MRA and I really could get down with this idea as long as women were held accountable for their actions also.

    • John Anderson says:

      There should also be no safe haven laws if we’re holding people accountable. That’s another reason women’s DNA would need to be in a database. What would stop her from leaving the kid at a church or police station and sticking the father with sole responsibility for the child when they trace the kid back to him?

    • I was actually proposing the database to coexist with abortion rights. Women could still get abortions, but hopefully they’d have fewer incentives to do so.

      I hadn’t thought about how women abandoning their children fits into this equation. That seems like a much rarer circumstance, but if the data were to show that women were abandoning their children on a large scale, I suppose that would justify including women.

      As for law enforcement access, I just don’t think you can allow it, even in the narrow circumstances you mentioned. Not only does it smack of self-incrimination, but I also just don’t want law enforcement anywhere near everyone’s DNA. I appreciate law enforcement officers and I want them to do their jobs, but full access to every adult’s DNA and the power to tie that to criminal punishment? That’s just too much power, and it’s begging for abuse.

      • “I was actually proposing the database to coexist with abortion rights”
        Then men who are approached to be financially responsible simply out out of parenthood if they wish, removing the responsibility. Or did you mean only women get abortion rights?

        • Only women get abortion rights, because men can in almost all cases opt out of parenthood through either abstinence, condoms, or pulling out. Men would retain a vestigial amount of risk (the condom breaks and it’s too late to pull out), just as women do (even if they opt for abortions, they have to be pregnant for a while and undergo the abortion itself). It’s not perfectly equitable, but I think it’s closer than the current setup.

          • Women can wear condoms, use birth control, remain abstinent. So why do only women get abortion rights? Nearly every argument made against male abortion rights can be used against women’s abortion rights yet I so often see people who support women’s abortions rights use the arguments to deny men theirs when they would cry foul if someone used it against them!

            • “Nearly every argument made against male abortion rights can be used against women’s abortion rights…”

              You answered your own question. A woman might have similar contraceptive measures available to her, but when she chooses to have sex, the ultimate decision about whether semen enters her body lies with the man. Law often places greater responsibility on the party who could more easily have prevented the harm, and in this case, it seems reasonable to me that men are in a better position to avoid conception than are women and thus bear greater responsibility.

            • Then she should be at fault for not detailing her exact cycle to the partner to know the best n worst times for when an egg is en route n ready to be impregnated then. Your argument fails miserably. She could also choose to have oral sex instead with him. Both can choose to get fixed…

            • Perhaps I wasn’t clear: Assuming, as seems safe, that sex is going to happen between men and women, it is much easier for men to completely avoid a pregnancy than it is for women. It doesn’t take surgery, or meticulous calendar-watching, or changing the type of sex engaged in. Because I believe it is easier for men than for women, I’m okay with imposing greater responsibility on men. I’m fine with agreeing to disagree.

            • John Anderson says:

              “the ultimate decision about whether semen enters her body lies with the man.”

              Interesting argument. It’s the first time I’ve heard it, but even if you’re correct, the man should only be responsible for the actual harm done the woman. That is pay for the abortion or delivery. Her decision to keep the child is up to her. Also, if she provides him the condom and it proves faulty and breaks, how should she compensate him for essentially stealing his sperm?

            • John Anderson says:

              I think under tort law he would actually only be liable for paying for the cheapest way to remedy the problem so he would have to give her what it would cost for an abortion.

            • John Anderson says:

              “Women can wear condoms, use birth control, remain abstinent. So why do only women get abortion rights?”

              Because under feminism or at least certain versions of it, only women get rights, period.

          • John Anderson says:

            “they have to be pregnant for a while and undergo the abortion itself). It’s not perfectly equitable, but I think it’s closer than the current setup.”

            Giving men abortion rights wouldn’t be perfectly equitable either, but it would be more equitable than not. 18+ years of child support and possibly giving up medical privacy for congenital illness, etc. is a bit more substantial than undergoing an abortion, which I heard is actually statistically safer than delivering.

            • Just because the abortion is relatively safe doesn’t reduce the discomfort and expense borne by the woman. More importantly, we have to remember to discount the burden imposed on the man by the likelihood of it happening against the man’s will. Since the man can very effectively and reliably avoid conception, the burden and thus the inequity borne by the man is dramatically reduced.

              Another reason giving men abortion rights is unacceptable to me is that I’m looking for a way to disincentivize abortion so we can leave abortion rights in place while hopefully lessening the number of abortions performed. Giving men abortion rights would destroy all incentives for men to avoid conception, so for me it’s a non-starter.

            • John Anderson says:

              “Since the man can very effectively and reliably avoid conception, the burden and thus the inequity borne by the man is dramatically reduced.”

              I disagree, there are significantly more options for a woman to avoid conception than a man. A man can’t know if a woman has taken contraceptives, but a woman can easily tell if a man is wearing a condom. Women have contraceptives including the option of implantable contraception mitigating the chance of forgetting. Women have the option of emergency contraception (plan B). Women van use spermicides and finally women can abort. Both genders can opt for sterilization.

              Since women have many more options available to them and since the primary option for men is readily visible to the woman, while virtually all and I’d suggest effectively all the options for women are not verifiable by the man, women have the greater opportunity and responsibility to avoid conception.

      • John Anderson says:

        “but if the data were to show that women were abandoning their children on a large scale,”

        So a dad on hook for the kid all by himself is just SOL because not enough guys are being abused so women don’t have to have their privacy violated like numerous men who either aren’t going to or can’t father children. If you can make a guy give up his DNA even though he had a vasectomy, why wouldn’t you demand DNA from women? Should men be able to get their DNA expunged?

        • That’s a good point. Maybe it does make more sense to just require it of everyone. That’s certainly easier to administer.

      • John Anderson says:

        @ Bryce

        “As for law enforcement access, I just don’t think you can allow it.”

        What happens if an underage girl gives birth to a child? If you access the database, you could find that the father is an adult male. Does he get immunity for the statutory rape? When do you gather the DNA. Underage boys can father children also and if you find that he was the victim of rape, what then?

        Are we to require men to pay their rapists child support? Will there be an exception for men who are raped? Why would a man who was raped have to provide his DNA and be outed as a rape victim? I think if you’re asking all this from men, you should be able to expect the same from women.

  7. John Anderson says:

    @ Bryce

    I don’t want it to seem like I’m picking on you. I think your suggestion has merit, but I think it has merit if expanded to the largest possible outcome. In other words, I think you’re all in or all out.

    This is why you can’t separate it from law enforcement. A woman is raped. She doesn’t know who her attacker is and can’t identify him in a line up, but she knows it was a member of the hockey team. She discovers she’s pregnant and decides to keep the child either because she doesn’t believe in abortion or to discover the identity of the rapist. She has the child and discovers the identity of the rapist. Can he get a fair trial? What if she doesn’t report it, but decided to after his identity is known? Does he now get immunity for the rape?

    There was a controversy with women om public assistance not receiving any additional money for additional children unless they could prove they tried to get child support from the father or asserted that they reported a rape to the police. There were concerns that now they were going to be forced to interact with their rapists. Just another thing to consider.

    If you were to create an exception for male rape victims, what standard would you use? Would he need to get a conviction against her or just assert that he was raped? If we don’t want to traumatize female victims of rape, why is it accepaible to traumatize male victims?

  8. Hey guys, I’m going to stop responding to critiques and questions on this thread. I hadn’t intended to place myself in a position of defending my idea in the first place, but it’s been fun to have to face your challenges and hone my ideas and reasoning. Unfortunately, I just don’t have the time/energy to keep contributing to the discussion. Thanks again for entertaining my harebrained thought experiment for a while!

  9. The GOP of 2012 should go the Shaker way- stick to their principles and fade from glory….
    The Shakers still influence design and craft despite being history.
    We’re the
    GOP candidates playing popularity games vis abortion or expressing their heartfelt opinions?
    Will they offer us wolves in sheep’s clothing next election, simply to exercise market share?

  10. The Republican Party can’t afford to drop the abortion issue; they’re propped up by hardcore evangelicals, and whining about gay marriage alone isn’t enough to keep them showing up at the polls.

    The fact that no Republican official actually cares about abortion or intends to lift a finger to stop it is irrelevant. The ‘base’ doesn’t care about that. They just want to hear the right WORDS. And without them, the GOP leadership has no votes, and they know it.

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