Are GOP Candidates Pro-Life, Pro-Choice, or Pro-Grift? Here’s an Objective Metric

By Jason Scott Jones Published on May 2, 2023

Is the candidate you’re supporting, for the White House or for Congress, in favor of protecting innocent life in the womb? Does he share that profound, fundamental conviction that rises from the founding principles of our nation, which we read in the Declaration of Independence? Is he part of the community of basic human decency, unified by a grateful embrace of life?

Or does he have a darker, narrower, cynical view of life as merely a means to an end? Does he grab the pro-life banner when it suits him, but secretly believe something like this: “I’m pro-life, with certain exceptions — those exceptions being any issue where it might hurt my chances of winning”?

Pro-Life or Pro-Grift?

My friend John Zmirak characterized this stance as not pro-life but pro-grift, since it amounts to a bait-and-switch con played on sincere pro-lifers — many of whom have dedicated decades of their lives to defending unborn children. Plug in some other issue and you’ll see what he means: Imagine a candidate who said he was for civil rights, except for interracial marriage or integrated swimming pools (if those issues played badly with his voters). How much credit would you give his “civil rights” position?

Now that the Berlin Wall of Roe v. Wade has been dismantled, we need to know such answers. Happily, pro-life hero Rev. James Harden, who runs a pro-life pregnancy center regularly attacked by pro-choice vandals, has stepped forward to help. He created an objective metric that measures how sincerely and comprehensively pro-life a candidate’s positions really are. It’s chillingly simple: What percentage of babies currently unprotected by law would gain protection if this candidate had his way? What percentage, and how many, would die?

As Harden writes:

The new Harden Abortion Compromise Scale (HACS) reveals the practical consequences of a candidate’s abortion policy position in terms of babies killed by abortion.

It combines the most recent CDC abortion surveillance data with the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute’s Abortion Provider Census to determine the number of abortions occurring by gestational age. It then takes the candidate’s policy and measures the number of preborn boys and girls that the policy would allow to be aborted.

Nikki Haley’s Jumbo Nothingburger

As Harden noted, “On Tuesday, April 25 in a speech at the headquarters of a pro-life group, Republican Presidential hopeful, Nikki Haley, fooled many—perhaps even including herself—that her abortion consensus policy makes her a pro-life candidate.”

But Harden’s metric reveals the truth. “Since 99.1% of all abortion occur prior to 20 weeks gestation [when Haley proposes restrictions] Nikki Haley’s abortion compromise is about as effective at solving the abortion problem as Henry Clay’s Missouri Compromise was at solving slavery.” Read Harden’s much more comprehensive and principled plan here.

The problem isn’t just with Nikki Haley. Harden applied his Abortion Compromise Scale to all the GOP candidates, including Donald Trump. The numbers don’t lie. If you’re a supporter of any of these candidates, let him know what you think of his pro-life integrity now.


A Systemic Issue

I hope that the candidates themselves will look at Rev. Harden’s metrics. Those who are pure of heart will be appalled, and wish to change their positions to more consistently favor Life. Whether their advisors and donors permit them … well that’s the test of character, isn’t it?

Abortion isn’t a shades-of-gray issue. The left knows that. It’s why the Democrats dropped language like Bill Clinton’s deceptive “safe, legal, and rare” and instead now “shout” abortions, and enforce on every candidate outside Louisiana the most radical stance: Abortion for any reason through nine months of pregnancy, and infanticide for the survivors. It’s monstrous, but it’s coherent.

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By contrast, the hemming and hawing and eager exception carving of pro-grift politicians discredits the basic moral insight on which the pro-life movement rests: We don’t kill the innocent. Period. Because life is good. That powerful truth, if strongly asserted and defended, could reunify our country. That’s why so many people who profit from division are terrified of it.

A candidate owes the public his honest beliefs about fundamental issues, particularly this one. If a politician will ignore his conscience on killing the most vulnerable member of the human family, the child in the womb — who won’t he sell down the river in pursuit of his ambition? Abortion like slavery denies our founding principles. If we don’t protect children from violence from Manhattan to Maui our republic will unravel. And it will be nobody’s fault but our own.


Jason Jones is a senior contributor to The Stream. He is a film producer, author, activist and human rights worker.

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