by Cal Thomas. This article was received from C-NEWS, June 13, 1996.
Last week, the news media made a big deal over Bob Dole restating his support for a constitutional amendment to ban abortion except in cases of rape, incest or threat to the woman's life. The fuss came because Dole also said he wanted to include in the platform language a declaration of tolerance for those with different views so they would feel welcome in the Republican Party. Although some pro-lifers would prefer a declaration welcoming the unborn to the human family, Dole's expression of tolerance is probably a rhetorical compromise pro-lifers can make, if it is enough for the pro-choicers. Of course, no one is talking about accommodating Republicans with different views on big government, higher taxes, more spending or racism. But why be picky? There is a way for Dole and his party not to be trapped by the abortion mines even now being planted to explode in August in San Diego. Dole and his fellow pro-life Republicans should stop taking the bait from the pro-choice media. Instead, when asked about their political approach, they should say something like this: "You know, (Peter, Dan, Tom), there is insufficient support for a constitutional amendment banning most abortions at this time, so what my administration will be about, in cooperation with pro-life Democrats and independents - and even pro-choicers who believe there are too many abortions - is to stop as many abortions as possible while working and waiting for attitudes and the law to change. "We intend to increase the number of crisis pregnancy centers in America and help them become full-scale medical clinics so that no woman will be without access to one. We also would like to see sonogram machines available in every clinic so pregnant women can see what is growing inside them. "Those who say offering such information insults the intelligence of women should be reminded that it is no more insulting to give a pregnant woman facts about her unborn child than it is to give her facts about the contents of food containers at the supermarket. "We Republicans and other pro-lifers also intend to launch a national advertising campaign that will not condemn anyone, but will show pictures of babies inside the womb at various stages of development. We will offer a toll-free phone number for any woman with an unplanned pregnancy to call for free help. It will include assistance in finding a place to live, counseling and financial aid clothing for the baby and other necessities, before and after the child's birth." Such an approach by Dole and his party would blunt much of the criticism and reluctance to discuss abortion by some Republicans. And it would return attention to where it should remain focused: on the unborn child and on helping the woman. It is a positive response, not a negative one. It would empower women and children and give Republicans an edge in the compassion wars that liberals and Democrats have claimed largely for themselves. Anyone who opposes this proposal favors censorship, preventing women from making an informed choice. This plan would pay political dividends and - more important - reduce the number of abortions, which many pro-choicers agree is too high. It is also a way to restore some civility to the debate over human life, which has moved on from the unborn and now threatens the unwanted elderly, the sick and the handicapped. Cal Thomas Los Angeles Times Syndicate Times Mirror Square Los Angeles, Calif. 90053