Beyond election denialism, the MAGA domestic agenda of Christian nationalism, government interference in gender preference and identity, and, most prominent today, anti-abortionism were never a part of the Republican view for America the beautiful.
The Grand Old Party ‘s stated values were fiscal restraint, deregulation, modest safety nets, one hundred points of philanthropic light, and pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps to achieve financial security with a libertarian streak when it came to social issues.
Republicans recognized the practicality of Eisenhower’s introduction of one nation “under God” and “in God we trust” to the pledge and the currency. The god fearing/godless rhetorical distinction was useful at the outset of the Cold War. Imposing evangelical Christian retrograde social norms backed up with the force of law was never in view.
And certainly Republicans were never going to go to the mat over interfering in a woman’s reproductive rights. This was reflected in Republican platforms passed at national conventions up until 2016 when candidate Donald Trump unilaterally declared that there would be no party platform at all.
Thus began the hollowing out of the traditional Republican Party by the forces of MAGA. I encourage people to see the Netflix documentary Get Me Roger Stone to appreciate the viciousness of the tactics applied to the Republican establishment.
The threat of violence to political actors and their families has been bedrock to the flourishing of MAGA. I doubt any unprepared political party in 2016 could have withstood the ruthlessness of such an attack.
Of all the issues MAGA has hung on the Republican Party, none is as dangerous to its viability as anti-abortionism. In every state where abortion rights were on the ballot, they chose to protect and preserve access most recently in Ohio and even in fully red states of Kansas and Kentucky. The disastrous outcomes for Republicans in the 2022 midterms are attributed to candidate’s stands on abortion rights.
The ultimate goal of the anti-abortionist machine was never just the defeat of Roe v Wade. It has always been a zero tolerance criminalization of pregnancy termination. The anti-abortion movement is a kind of relentless steam roller targeting women’s lives.
Americans have recognized this movement for what it is and don’t like what they see. Last Wednesday’s Republican Presidential Candidate Debate, following Tuesday’s very bad showing of anti-abortionism in state elections, showed a distinct change in position. One wouldn’t have wanted to get between these candidates and their new found opposition to any nationwide ban on pregnancy termination.
Besides the criminalization of abortion procedures, anti-abortionists are hard at work proliferating their own centers for pregnant women committed not to encourage, refer for, or provide abortion services. Having a clinic certification just means that licensed health care professionals are present, but they subscribe to the anti-abortion philosophy.
Republicans have always been for personal financial responsibility. They should know that these centers are in fact where women go in for free pregnancy testing and come out all signed up to embark on a life of Medicaid and public assistance. Instincts to wait to have children until the woman and her family can afford it are undermined at all costs.
According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology these pregnancy centers cause delays in accessing legitimate health care and use emotional manipulation and in particular ultrasound scans to prevent women from accessing timely and comprehensive patient centered care.
Talbot County’s anti-abortion pregnancy center is misleadingly called Choices Pregnancy Center to lure the unsuspecting woman into thinking that a complete range of health care options are offered. I find this intentional deception outrageous.
Reimbursement for these anti-abortion pregnancy centers is part of the MAGA agenda and will be a losing issue for Republicans for which this will be a matter of indifference.
The disentanglement of MAGA from the traditional Republican Party is essential for the vitality of our two party democratic republic.