Gualberto Garcia Jones has seen his share of politicians, like Congressmen Ken Buck and Mike Coffman, embrace personhood abortion bans, only to backtrack when they court the votes of a wider audience.
Jones, who’s now a vice president of the national anti-choice Personhood Alliance, is the author of Colorado’s failed 2014 personhood amendment, which was defeated overwhelmingly, like similar amendments in Colorado in 2008 and 2010.
In commenting on Colorado U.S. Senate candidate Darryl Glenn’s apparent efforts to backtrack on a pro-personhood stance he took during the primary, Jones points to what he sees as an unfortunate choice facing politicians who want to take a uncompromising anti-cholice stand–and he thinks the two-party system in America is partly to blame.
Here’s what Jones had to say to me via email:
Jones: I think the conundrum that Commissioner Glenn faces is incredibly interesting from a political perspective.
As a politician, he knows that a consistent 100% pro-life position will make it much more difficult for him to get elected to a statewide elected position in Colorado. We know from past personhood campaigns that support for a 100% pro-life position at the present time can get you around 35% of the vote statewide, however, with that sizable support comes 45% or more of ardent opposition. This political reality leads candidates for statewide office to do the primary-general two-step.
This dilemma is NOT unique to the pro-life cause, but is inherent to all fundamental questions answered by a two party system.
Abortion, or the right to life, is a fundamental issue. Therefore one of the two radical position has to be correct. If the developing human being is a person, then he or she MUST have a guaranteed right to life, if it is not a person, then the pregnant woman’s opinion should be paramount.
The problem is that the two party system does not deal well with absolutes. The constituency is not morally consistent and therefore neither are the parties. Ask a “pro-choice” democrat if he or she is willing to support partial birth abortion. The majority of “pro-choicers” will find a way to evade the question because they know that a big portion of democrats are not that radically “pro-choice.”
This country aspires to guarantee the fundamental principles, but from its very beginning has come up short. Government’s guarantees of the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are aspirational. Political realities delayed the right of black people to liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and political realities are keeping preborn human beings from enjoying the right to life.
Every politician has to make a call on fundamental issues. What call they end up making is simultaneously a reflection of the politician’s priorities (getting elected v. standing for a principle) and of the electorate who on fundamental questions such as the right to life is itself not consistent.
The uninspiring, “personally pro-life” answer that Commissioner Glenn gave is proof that the right to life is not a priority for him.