Politics & Policy

Life with Giuliani

I believe that your editorial “Life Lessons for Rudy was written in good faith, but it ignored the National Review Online article of January 22 titled “Giuliani’s Choices.” Abortions declined by 16.8 percent in New York City during the Giuliani administration, according to the Center for Disease Control. And University of Alabama political scientist Michael New told your publication, “The decline in abortions in New York City under Giuliani was greater than the national decline.” Mayor Giuliani’s success in reducing abortions in New York City was further examined in your publication’s article “Rudy’s Right Record” on March 20.

Rudy Giuliani has repeatedly said that he will not seek to change current law as described in the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding of abortions except in cases involving rape or incest, or where the life of the mother is at stake. And, given the opportunity, a President Giuliani would appoint strict-constructionist judges who will follow in the philosophical footsteps of Justices Thomas, Alito, and Scalia, and Chief Justice Roberts.

As a pro-life conservative, I may not agree with Rudy on every detail of every issue. But I respect his beliefs — as he respects mine — and I cannot argue with his results. And as mayor, he got results that true conservatives should hope their elected leaders can emulate. His policies, based on the conservative principles of accountability and personal responsibility, not only led to the reduction of abortions in New York but also a 66 percent increase in the number of adoptions on his watch. Let’s not forget that he also reduced welfare rolls by nearly 60 percent, cut or eliminated taxes 23 times, lowered the number of bureaucrats in government by 20 percent, and reduced overall crime in the city by 56 percent, making New York City the safest large city in America.

If he could accomplish all that as mayor — when he was doing his best to work with an overwhelmingly Democratic city council — I look forward to what he will accomplish as America’s president.

Bill Simon

Policy Director

Giuliani for President

The editors reply: Like Bill Simon, we admire Professor New. Let’s quote him some more on abortion trends during Giuliani’s mayoral terms: “I cannot attribute this decline to any actual policy Giuliani implemented.” Note also that New York City’s abortion rate had a long way to fall: Even after its decline, it remained much higher than the national average. Should Mayor Giuliani get credit for that fact as well?

That a Republican candidate for president promises not to push for federal funding of elective abortion is far from the bare minimum he could do. Will he promise a veto if the Democratic Congress sends such legislation his way?

To follow in the footsteps of Justices Scalia and Thomas, any “strict constructionist” would have to be willing to discard Roe. Giuliani has (gratuitously) noted that, in his view, keeping Roe on the books is perfectly compatible with strict constructionism.

Mr. Simon says that Mayor Giuliani “respects” his views. Does Simon’s pro-life commitment amount to a desire to put pregnant women in jail? If not, perhaps he should advise the mayor to stop representing that policy as the pro-life position.

Finally, we have never doubted that Rudolph Giuliani achieved great things as mayor. We said so during his time in office, and we said so again when he announced his candidacy. On abortion, however, Giuliani and his campaign need to engage in less spin and more thinking.

Members of the National Review editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”

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