Democrats and Republicans running for office: Take the Tulsi challenge

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Rarely would the head of the largest pro-life grassroots student organization, the former head of Planned Parenthood and an abortion supporting political candidate agree on commonsense limits on abortion. But in a political season in which Democratic candidates for president have more to say on saving the planet for future generations than on the practice of ending those generations in the womb, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) has some advice for my family’s former party that Democrats really should consider if they want to win. 

At last week’s Democratic debate, Gabbard has had the nerve to state the obvious; that abortions in the third trimesters when preborn babies can feel pain, when the risks to women dramatically rises, and as babies can live outside the womb should be curtailed. While she stated her overall support for abortion, Gabbard said that she did not believe limitless abortion should be the goal. 

“I do, however, think that there should be some restrictions in place,” she said. “I support codifying Roe v. Wade — while making sure that, during the third trimester, abortion is not an option unless the life or severe health consequences of a woman are at risk.”

And just in case you think that only pro-life Americans would agree, consider that Dr. Leanna Wen, the former president of Planned Parenthood, tweeted her support: “I don’t agree with @TulsiGabbard on a lot, but do appreciate that she brought up the third rail for Democrats: that abortion should be ‘safe, legal, and rare,’” she wrote. “We should reduce the need for abortions by investing in prevention.”

 Honestly, if Democrats were smart, they would listen to Gabbard and not ignore her. 

While what she proposed, limiting only third trimester abortions, is not enough, it’s a place to start. The policy would be seen as a realistic compromise blue collar Democrats could get behind.

But sadly, the Democratic Party has already been bought and paid for by Planned Parenthood and the rest of the abortion lobby, so Gabbard won’t get the attention or money from the powerhouse Democratic Party donors. 

However, if they were looking at swing state demographics, the Democrats would adopt this view, re-embrace “safe, legal and rare,” as Gabbard recommends, and try to appear as compromisers.

The abortion extremist rhetoric that celebrates abortion even post-birth, infanticide for babies born during an abortion, appeals to almost no one, despite the cheers in New York for abortion through all 9 months or the platitudes of Virginia’s Governor who wants babies to be comfortable as they die.  

Voter in the rustbelt, in the heartland, and in the parts of America sometimes sneeringly called fly-over country, don’t see abortion, as do Democratic Party operatives. 

Since 2016, the Democratic Party platform supports abortion through all 9 months, for any reason at all, and with taxpayer subsidies. In fact, buried in the “Medicare for all” mantra repeated by many presidential contenders is the goal of full-abortion funding. 

Polls repeatedly show that Americans support abortion limits and don’t want to pay for abortions with tax dollars. A Marist poll earlier this year found that 3 out of 4 Americans would limit abortion to the first three months of pregnancy. Almost two-thirds in that same poll believe that the Supreme Court should allow limits on abortion. Also in SFLA’s polls, 65 percent of Millennial wanted to vote on abortion-related policy, rather than leaving it in the hands of a few judges. 

But rather than trying to make common cause with the majority of Americas, the current Democratic debate showed just how extreme the party has gone with the candidates endorsing a number of proposals to push the limits of abortion, including packing the Supreme Court with more abortion-supporting justices, putting the extremism of Roe into law, expanding the government’s advocacy for abortion through tools like an Office of Reproductive Freedom and Reproductive Rights and opposing the rights of voters to pass abortion laws at the state level.  

Where does it end? As politicians nationwide ask for votes in 2020, I hope the electorate will ask them to take the Tulsa Challenge. 
Candidates should be asked what abortions they would limit. Where do they draw the line? Do they oppose aborting viable babies, infants targeted because of their sex or genetics, infanticide for babies born during abortion, full-taxpayer funding of abortion, or forcing abortion into citizen’s health-care policies? Do they support conscience protections for health-care workers who don’t want to end pre-born lives or for Americans who don’t want to fund life-ending drugs or abortions? 

So far, only Gabbard has been brave enough to tell America what she thinks. It’s time to know where all candidates stand on the human rights issue of our day.  

Kristan Hawkins is president of Students for Life of America, with more than 1,220 groups on college, university and high school campuses in all 50 states. Follow her @KristanHawkins.

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