Every four years, delegates from the Democratic and Republican parties descend on a pair of American cities, don silly hats and outsized campaign buttons, and nominate a candidate for president.
They also draft party platforms, documents notable for expressing lofty political goals designed more as a rallying cry for the troops than the basis for future legislation.
Such was, hopefully, the case this week with the Republican platform, which contains extreme anti-abortion language calling for a ban on the procedure without specifying exemptions for rape or incest.
This came less than two weeks after Missouri Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin claimed female victims of “legitimate” rape can “shut that whole thing down” when it comes to pregnancy.
The Republican platform opposes use of all public funding to promote or perform abortion, or fund organizations that do (read: Planned Parenthood). No exceptions.
While this newspaper has always been pro-choice, we recognize that reasonable people disagree about the morality of abortion. However, polls continually have shown the Jewish community overwhelmingly supports a woman’s right to choose whether it is right for her.
Why? It may have something to do with Torah and Talmud, which in example after example suggest that causing the death of a fetus is not tantamount to murder.
With halachah (Jewish law) ingrained in Jewish culture, it’s not surprising that Jews of all political stripes come down on the pro-choice side.
Unfortunately, as a minority within their party, Jewish Republicans have little influence on their platform’s draconian anti-choice views.
It’s too bad. The party appears to have taken a losing stance on the issue.
A poll taken last week by Public Policy Polling shows 75 percent of Americans oppose a constitutional amendment banning abortion with no exceptions for rape, incest or threat to the life of the mother.
Those who toss this off as a platform wish list should keep in mind that, according to GovTrack.us, Republicans have introduced 54 bills with anti-abortion language since January 2011, many of them advocating the no-exceptions policy.
Political parties have every right to weigh in on social issues. Politics are an extension of our selves. Issues such as abortion belong in the national political debate.
But we must chide the drafters of the Republican platform for advocating such an oppressive and unpopular policy as an across-the-board abortion ban. It’s not just unwise politically. It flies in the face of common sense.