[Note: This is part two of a three-part series exposing the leftist, pro-abortion goals of the Republican Liberty Caucus, an organization that claims to act as the libertarian wing of the GOP. For part one, please click here.]
In 2004, Bill Westmiller became the national chair of the Republican Liberty Caucus. Westmiller’s main claim to fame in the Republican Liberty Caucus is his authoring of the current language of the RLC Statement of Principles. In 2004, Westmiller submitted modified language to the National Convention that would put what they called a “neutral” position on abortion. At the time, Westmiller stated that “The neutral abortion plank is intended to avoid conflicting statements from state organizations and describe our motives.” Unfortunately for pro-life conservatives, Westmiller left out part of the story—and why not? The other founders of the RLC were die-hard libertarians, and as such were pro-abortion themselves. They already knew about the RLC’s pro-abortion roots because they designed them. The knowledge that Westmiller once compared an unborn baby to a flake of dandruff was no big deal. That’s how they felt too.
The text of the modified language, which the RLC currently holds as its official “position” on abortion, is as follows:
Abortion is a critical life and death choice for every pregnant woman. Whether government should intervene to influence that choice is dependent on the legal status of the fetus. We acknowledge that there can be honest and ethical differences of opinion on that status, the rights of the woman, and the proper role of government.
We favor civil discussion of this question, but take no position on the merits of conflicting legal, ethical, and religious viewpoints on either side. We believe this is also the proper position for the Republican Party.
We oppose any allocation of government funds or resources to facilitate abortions, advocate in the public discussion, or to jeopardize the right of any woman to defend her own life and health.
We support a resolution of this issue through the proper judicial and legislative channels specified in the Constitution.
Pro-life members, at least in the State of Washington, found this to be far from neutral. How can there be “honest and ethical differences of opinion” on abortion when the two sides are diametrically opposed? Either you believe that abortion is murder, or you do not. Either you find abortion an abhorrent practice, or you do not. In addition, the Republican Party has always held a pro-life position as part of their platform (even if many Republican officials no longer hold that view), which means that the RLC was already at odds with the Republican platform.
Members of the Republican Liberty Caucus of Washington were told by state leadership that they could not only take a stand on the defense of life within their county charters, but they were also welcome to push resolutions up the chain to National, and if they had a pro-life majority they could end up changing the National platform as well. What Washington pro-life RLC members and prospects didn’t know was that the RLC truly had no intention of ever changing their stance. Not only is the national RLC actually hardcore pro-abortion, but they had taken the “neutral” position for the express purpose of pulling in pro-life conservatives for the sake of numbers. (For details on that story, read an eyewitness account here.)
Bill Westmiller is widely known for his pro-abortion stance. In fact, according to this listing of site statistics, the top keyword for Westmiller.com is “legalize abortion.” In his definitive essay on abortion, “Should Abortion Be Legal?“, Westmiller writes the following:
A late term fetus looks very much like a real baby. But it isn’t…Even a dead skin cell, like a dandruff flake, has all the genetic potential, given the proper environment, to become a person. So, we can’t use “human” or “living” as definitive characteristics of a person.
Yes, you read that right. Westmiller just compared an unborn baby to a flake of dandruff. What makes a “person,” according to Westmiller, is the ability to reason. From another essay on abortion:
Until birth, a fetus is necessarily a physical part of the mother. It cannot breathe, eat, move freely — or even defecate — “on it’s own.” After birth, it does all those things and, in an instant, becomes an individual, distinct, and separate being from its progenitors. For the first time, it has the capacity to integrate complex sensory stimulation into concepts and apply reason. A newborn baby promptly recognizes external beings and things that are valuable and important to its happiness.
Apparently Westmiller hasn’t quite figured out that the reason a newborn can “promptly recognize” these things is because he already had the capacity for reason, before birth. But there’s far more. Westmiller uses the term “human-might-be” to refer to an unborn baby, advocating that a woman has the “right” to kill her child right up until the date of birth. As if this isn’t horrifying enough, he also uses a like term for those disabled by injury, illness, or mental defect to the point where he thinks they cannot reason. He calls these people “humans-used-to-be.” Terri Schiavo, in Westmiller’s opinion, was no longer a human. No longer entitled to the right to life.
Many pro-life conservatives have come to their position through a basis of religious belief. What does Westmiller think of that?
The proposition that a fetus is a person is flimsy, even on biblical grounds.
So what should be done about these pesky folks who do agree with the Biblical premise of life as beginning at conception? Westmiller has a lofty opinion for them too:
What the Republican party needs is a cool summer breeze flowing through it’s platform, clearing out the dead dust of ancient religious edicts.
Westmiller and his ilk have no respect for the pro-life crowd or religious right, but the hardcore Libertarians needed to find some mainstream relevance. They needed numbers. Ron Paul was staunchly pro-life, and as a past chairman of the RLC, he brought with him a number of pro-life members who believed in his integrity and pro-life stance, even if they didn’t agree with the rest of the hardline Libertarian platform. This is why the RLC needed to modify its language. As one member in the discussion put it:
If we came out solidly in favor of pro-choice, we would lose 90% of conservatives. And if we came out solidly in favor of pro-life, we would lose 90% of libertarians.
Interestingly enough, another member corrected this statistic, pointing out that the libertarians in the RLC were largely pro-life, and had come on board because of Ron Paul’s hardline pro-life position:
my guess is you have to be way off on the 90% of libertarians in favor of abortion. Ron Paul is certainly pro-life and my guess is that by far most of the libertarians in the RLC are pro-life as well. The right to life, liberty…
This member had figured out what the leadership already knew: the pro-life, small government conservatives looking for a return to liberty needed a home. The RLC wanted to be there to snag them up—even though they actually derided their members’ pro-life views, especially if those views were faith-based. The 2004 “neutral” position on abortion targeted the pro-lifers, hoping to bring them into the fold—as long as they didn’t actually rock the pro-abortion boat that the RLC leadership had built and were sitting in. While the libertarians flooding into the RLC membership rolls at the local and state level were overwhelmingly pro-life, the RLC leadership and core were staunch pro-abortion.
12. What is the RLC’s position on abortion?
Neutral. We have both pro-lifers to pro-choicers, and in between. As far as libertarian groups go, you’ll find that we are probably the most “tolerant” of the pro-life viewpoint.
Tolerant of the pro-life viewpoint. How…nice of them.
In 2009, Dave Nalle replaced Westmiller as the RLC National Chair. Nalle is also pro-abortion up until the day of birth, and wrote in 2006 that partial birth abortion “serves a legitimate medical purpose” and should remain legal as such.
Sensible people would carefully define the term [partial birth abortion] and allow a “mother’s health” exception. But sensible people are in short supply in abortion arguments.
Who are these sensible people? Well, those who are pro-abortion, of course. In this article, Nalle throws social conservatives and all religious-based conservatives in with the likes of the Westboro Baptist Church and Randall Terry, opining that “more and more mainstream Republicans are fed up with the fanaticism of the religious right,” because yes, all members of the religious right believe the same as Fred Phelps and Randall Terry. This is certainly not even remotely true, but it’s a clever turn of phrase that resonates with the reader, who certainly would want to be considered a mainstream Republican. Since probably 99.9% of America thinks Fred Phelps is a disgusting human who is not in any way representative of them, and Randall Terry is pretty much wacky, this entire sentence—and most of the article—is a very targeted piece meant to harp the belief that pro-life Republicans are really just extremists.
This was also borne out in a conversation Dave Nalle recently had with Mark Buse, pro-life advocate and active Republican in Washington State, in which Nalle claimed that “As for the religious right, they’re harder to work with and more of a political liability than social moderates. Also harder to move in a more sensible direction.”
According to the Republican Liberty Caucus, those who use their faith to dictate their code of values and by extension their political views are extremists, they’re insensible. They’re slaves to dusty, dead religious edicts. Pro-lifers are, according to the RLC, totally unenlightened as to the issue of abortion. In fact, Nalle says “they make themselves so unpopular that they become a political liability which no party can afford to get involved with.” They’re good enough for the RLC to co-opt for numbers, though, aren’t they?
Doug Parris explains what the RLC means by liberty:
RLC “Rights” (things no one can stop you from doing)
Speaking your mind
Assembling with others to organize politically
Keeping and bearing Arms
Engaging in Sodomy
Being, hiring or pimping a Prostitute
Having consensual sexual relations with a child
Having sexual relations with an animal
Producing, and marketing heroin, crack cocaine, or cream-filled cupcakes.
Conversely, the RLC has no problem with someone doing this to you:
Items the RLC will not construe as “rights”(things that can legally be done to you without objection by the RLC):
Being Dismembered, alive; your arms, legs and head cut off
Being slowly devoured by acidic fluid over 18 hours
Being punctured, at the base of your skull, living, conscious, and having your brains scooped out
Being thrown, living, struggling for breath, into a bag of bleach, smothered with wet towels on a stainless steel table or
Being held without water until you die of thirst.
The Republican Liberty Caucus is not pro-liberty. It is, however, pro-killing babies, right until the minute they breathe their first breath outside the womb. If you’re pro-life, the RLC is not what you’re looking for. It’s what you’re working against.