Bob Dole's historic role in the militarization of abortion rights

Tasos Katopodis / AFP via Getty Images Senator Bob dole died yesterday and his passing was accompanied by a refreshing amount of bip...


Bob dole

Tasos Katopodis / AFP via Getty Images

Senator Bob dole died yesterday and his passing was accompanied by a refreshing amount of bipartisan adulation and respect.

Political figures ranging from Joe biden To Triton Gingrich and media personalities Joe scarborough To Joy BĂ©har all publicly praised Dole’s historic role as leader of the Republican Party, but for various reasons. Lost in the (mostly deserved) hagiography, however, is the fundamental role the former erectile dysfunction scholar played in the militarization of abortion rights for political ends.

It was 1974 and then Republican candidate Dole found himself on the wrong side of the polls against Democratic candidate gynecologist Topeka. Dr Bill Roy. The two met in a Lincoln-Douglass formatted debate at the Kansas State Fair in Hutchinson, Kansas, which incidentally my esteemed and loving mother attended.

According to a Tampa Bay weather maintenance with Dr. Roy in 2005, the Democratic candidate felt well placed. Until Dole played the abortion card.

“I demolished it pretty well, I think,” said Roy, still relishing his solid performance from 22 years ago. “Well, at least for the first 28 minutes.”

Then Dole asked one last amazing question, asking the obstetrician why he performed abortions.

This time it was Roy’s turn to stutter.

Sitting now in his spacious Topeka living room on a hot summer day in 1996, Roy’s memory blurs. “I have no idea what I said in the closing statement.”

But what Dole said is unforgettable: “You heard it, it’s for abortion on demand.

Of course, we all know how the 1974 race went: Dole won a second term and was US Senator from Kansas until 1996 when he ran for the White House and lost.

Like my mother, former deputy mayor of Hutchinson Doby Room Dole explained, Dole dropped fliers attacking Dr Roy over an abortion the weekend before the election, and he won. From this victory, he served many terms until his candidacy for the highest office in 1996.

“There is no such thing as abortion on demand, but it has been the rallying cry ever since,” my mother wrote to me. “It makes the medical staff look like puppets. “

The right to abortion has become a wedge issue that has served political ambitions on both sides of the aisle since then. Many Republicans have won favor with the pro-life camp, who fear overthrowing Roe vs. Wade has helped influence many elections for Democrats.

Was Dole the only politician to come forward on abortion rights against the sanctity of life? Certainly not. But his turn to this question to change the polls was notable, and almost certainly an ancestor for future campaigns.

Dole’s lasting legacy is a rapier spirit and a willingness to work not only with political figures across the aisle, but also an unwavering refusal to dig political dirt against his presidential opponent in his run. 1996 against the president. Bill Clinton.

Dole served his country with honor and dignity, both in the military and in politics. It also had a much bigger impact on how future political races would play out, for better or for worse.

This is an opinion piece. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author alone.



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