Tea Partiers are More Pro-Life Than Their Republican Counterparts

Timothy Carney, senior political columnist for The Washington Examiner, notes an interesting distinction between the fiscally libertarian Tea Partiers scoring upsets in political races across the country and their defeated, standard-bearing Republican counterparts:

The economy, taxes, spending, health care, and bailouts dominate the headlines and Tea Party rallies this year. But just beneath the surface, another issue is helping shape the midterm elections: abortion.

The Tea Party insurgency catapulting anti-bailout, anti-Obamacare, and anti-tax hike Republican outsiders past their establishment-backed primary rivals is also helping to eliminate pro-choice Republicans. Meanwhile, on the Democratic side, the pro-choice money is flowing in.

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Lisa Murkowski, Mike Castle, Charlie Crist and Arlen Specter are the four highest-profile victims of the Tea Party insurgency. All four were pro-choice, with particularly contentious records on abortion. All four lost to staunch pro-lifers.

While the primary focus of the Tea Party movement is on other issues, the revelation that Tea Partiers are more pro-life than old guard Republicans is a hopeful one. 

I’d love to know their policy positions, but I imagine it’s safe to assume, based on their small-government message, that they believe the answer to the abortion issue lies in the hands of the people, through the 10th Amendment. Not everyone in the pro-life movement is on board with that approach – in fact, from personal experience I’d estimate that a majority still want to see a top-down, federal solution. Whatever the case, fresh blood, fresh thinking, and an understanding of the way government is supposed to work (which does not include making up rights that don’t exist in the Constitution) can’t hurt the stalled pro-life political cause.

I also appreciate that these candidates are committed to the right to life without beating the big, empty “pro-life” drum that the Republican party has so long used to rally voters without ever delivering real results. As Carney admits:

In 2010, abortion certainly isn’t the driving factor behind Tea Parties, but the Tea Party’s Senate lineup is 100 percent pro-life. Every insurgent GOP Senate candidate who bucked the establishment to win the nomination — Miller, Rubio, O’Donnell, Toomey, Ken Buck in Colorado, Sharron Angle in Nevada, and Mike Lee in Utah — is dedicated to the pro-life cause. The Senate ringleader of this rowdy bunch is DeMint, a passionate pro-life conservative. The only establishment pick to survive the Tea Party surge this fall was Kelly Ayotte in New Hamphire, whose name was on that state’s lawsuit attempting to undo some Supreme Court precedent protecting abortion.


The Tea Party’s issues have some fairly obvious overlaps with the pro-life cause — for instance, Obamacare’s subsidization of abortion — but mostly taxes and deficits seem unrelated to unborn babies, making it tough to explain why Tea Partiers and pro-lifers are so closely aligned.

But on Capitol Hill, the divide between fiscally conservative and socially conservative is a theoretical one. Almost without fail, the strongest advocates of limited government in Congress are pro-life, and vice-versa. Think of DeMint and Tom Coburn in the Senate and Ron Paul and Jeff Flake in the House — they top the scorecards of the National Taxpayers’ Union and also have perfect scores from National Right to Life.

Anger about bailouts and Obamacare and concern about deficits have powered this year’s conservative surge, but below the surface is also anger about abortion and concern for unborn babies.

For those of us who are vocal advocates third party and dark horse voting, this is encouraging news. Making the safe vote for the guy who can win, even though he’s almost as bad as the opposition, is no way to move public policy. Vote your conscience, pray for your country and its leaders, and things can change for the better. We’re not remotely out of the woods, but the momentum that’s building against this nation’s downward slope is an unmistakably positive sign.



  • Steve Skojec

    Steve Skojec serves as the Director of Community Relations for a professional association. He is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, where he earned a BA in Communications and Theology. His passions include writing, photography, social media, and an avid appreciation of science fiction. Steve lives in Northern Virginia with his wife Jamie and their five children.

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