The Republican big tent should include pro-choicers

Emphasizing our common ground against Democrats is a win for both the “no abortion” and “certain circumstances” factions, because both agree that there should be fewer abortions. Unlike the Democrats — who talk about keeping abortion “safe, legal, and rare” but never get around to working on “rare” — our coalition is prepared to make abortion, if not rare, at least less frequent. By comparison, a small tent Republican Party won’t make any dent in the abortion rate at all.

The “big tent” crowd also needs to think about their antipathy towards the social conservatives. A majority of Americans finds something disturbing about abortion — at least some abortions. Partial-birth abortions? Yucky. Abortion because your wedding dress wouldn’t fit as well? Yucky. Yet a majority accepts abortion for some really troubling situations: the 13-year-old impregnated by an adult, a fetus who is going to die an excruciating death soon after birth from Tay-Sachs Disease. There is clearly a widespread moral objection to abortion as backup, or sometimes primary, birth control. The “certain circumstances” crowd may not agree with the pro-lifers about the absolute immorality of abortion, but they do see it as morally troublesome.