With the political Left’s abortion extremism be given prominent display in Charlotte this past week, it’s time for another round of the annual debate that goes back and forth among Catholics. Some of us decline to vote for a candidate who won’t grant legal protection for the unborn. Others agree—or at least claim to agree—on the policy goal—but move into a condescending lecture about the importance of “not being a single-issue voter.”
And you know what? I agree. What I don’t agree with is that the question of fundamental human rights is just an “issue.” Whether the top marginal income tax rate should be moved up or down by a few percentage points? That’s an issue. Whether U.S. foreign policy should include greater reliance on international institutions or move to a more unilateral approach? That’s an issue. A baby on an operating table, and we’re going to decide if it has a right to life or not? I’m sorry, that’s more than an “issue.”
A true “issue” has certain defining characteristics. There’s generally at least some merit on both sides and the best possible solution involves a mix of different ideas, and the process of national politics involves determining what direction that mix should lean. There is, by definition, of a few shades of gray.
Where, pray tell, is the gray area in deciding whether a human being has a fundamental right to existence? Requiring that a candidate acknowledge these basic human rights and use the power of the government to protect them does not make one a single-issue voter. It simply means they recognize what cannot be compromised on and what can.
Dan Flaherty is the author of Fulcrum, an Irish Catholic novel set in postwar Boston with a traditional Democratic mayoral campaign at its heart, and he is the editor-in-chief of TheSportsNotebook.com