Not surprisingly, in the immediate aftermath of President Obama’s win over Mitt Romney last week, many Republicans bared their fangs at the social-conservative wing of the party, either subtly or not so subtly, blaming the loss on those who vote our values. Now, more than ever, our party needs to hold onto our pro-life, pro-human-rights values. In fact, the Republican Party should become more fiercely aligned to the pro-life position than ever.
Despite what you may have heard from the Democratic National Convention, it’s not an unpopular position. More than half of our country identifies as pro-life, including the majority of women and young people. Hispanics, Latinos and blacks are overwhelmingly pro-life and support traditional family values. One of the major problems of the Republican Party is our infrastructure. The relationships to large minority voting populations, which ironically support many conservative social principles, are not in place, and in the end, that severely hurts the conservative movement.
During the months before the election, I traveled to many college campuses and talked to young people about voting according to their pro-life convictions. My organization, Students for Life of America, works with more than 700 groups on campuses across the United States. Our team travels most of the year, forming key relationships with these human rights leaders, getting to know them and their members and training them in how to be effective grass-roots activists. They know how to talk to other students about the issues they care about and how the life issue in particular is of utmost importance to their future and the future of the nation.
We believe ending legal abortion in our lifetime is possible, and we hold the great abolitionists of the past, such as William Wilberforce, an English politician who led the movement to abolish the slave trade in Great Britain, in high esteem and aim to mimic their fighting spirit in the midst of seemingly impossible adversity.
The Republican Party, my party and former employer, was badly beaten on Nov. 6. Leaders of the party need to do a whole lot of soul-searching. Maybe some need to step aside and let others step into the spotlight and be the new, strong voices of this generation. The leadership of the Republican Party got its nominees in 2008 and 2012. Unlike the Democratic Party’s strategy, the “mainstream” Republican Party leaders and donors wanted a moderate candidate, someone “electable.” They wanted someone who could straddle the fences and appeal to a majority of Americans. They actively opposed the candidates who were solidly pro-life and wore their values on their sleeves.
The GOP does not need any more moderate candidates. We don’t want someone who sticks to the middle ground on social issues. Just ask one of the millions of Republicans who sat out this election because they could not stand behind a moderate candidate.
Our nation is in crisis, not only financially, but also morally. While our nation is more pro-life than it ever has been, according to Gallup, Planned Parenthood still gets more than $1 million a day in taxpayer funding to kill 900 babies daily. Moreover, secular business owners and churches are being forced to fund drugs that kill newly formed human beings.
Where is the William Wilberforce of our day?
The Republican Party can either stand for nothing and eventually expire like its predecessor, the Whig Party, which crumbled over slavery, or it can dig in deeper and decide to proudly defend the preborn and their mothers from the raging and corrupt abortion industry.
Now is not the time to step away from our most deeply held beliefs in the sacredness of human life. Doing so would mark the beginning of the end of the current Republican Party.
Kristan Hawkins is president of Students for Life of America.