Eric Gay, AP
Sen. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, speaks as Texas Senate debates abortion bill HB2, Friday, July 12, 2013, in Austin, Texas. The bill would require doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, only allow abortions in surgical centers, dictate when abortion pills are taken and ban abortions after 20 weeks. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
In a poll done by Gallup earlier this year, the biggest complaint lodged against the Republican Party was "inability to compromise."
When I read the daily headlines, I see this theme continue. Republicans, particularly tea party Republicans, are portrayed as obstructionist, extreme, unreasonable and unwilling to compromise.
But let's get perspective.
If we are talking about trying to decide what day of the week to collect garbage, and one wants Mondays and one wants Fridays, the side that refuses to compromise on Wednesdays might be considered unreasonable.
But this isn't the kind of national discussion we are having today.
Some things are simply true and some things false. Some things are simply right and some wrong.
This kind of discussion does not lend to splitting things down the middle.
Few today would look back on the horrible national dispute about slavery and claim that the problem was inability to compromise.
As Abraham Lincoln put it so clearly in his second inaugural address, delivered while the Civil War still raged: "Both (sides) read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other."
Sometimes, worldviews clash and resolution can come only from drawing the line in the sand and one view prevailing over the other.
Today we are having a battle for the soul of our nation. A number of key areas of our national debate are about principle, about right and wrong, and do not lend themselves to compromise. This is about which worldview will prevail.
One of these issues is most certainly abortion.
The trial of abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, now a convicted murderer, delivered a wakeup call. It did for our national consciousness what ultrasound images provoke in a pregnant woman. Graphic pictures of a live child in the womb purge any sense that it is possible to be casual about abortion.
Unfortunately, the abortion issue - and, specifically, the question about when life begins - is often left to dry and abstract argument.
But in the case of late-term abortion, as with ultrasound pictures, the truth is graphically clear. We're talking about destruction of a live, feeling human being. The Gosnell trial showed the nation that in American today, we have abortion factories where live children are being killed.
The fact that a child of 21 weeks may still be in the womb does not make that child any less alive.
But clear as this may be to some, it is not clear to all - just as in 1860 it was not clear to all that this nation could not tolerate slavery.
The current fight to ban late-term abortion - at 20 weeks, or five months, after conception - is by and large a partisan battle of Republicans against Democrats.
The Republican House has passed legislation to ban abortion after 20 weeks, with qualifications for the life and health of the mother. Now this critical issue must be put to a vote in the Democrat-controlled Senate.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has called this a "fringe" issue. Murder a fringe issue? Can there be any doubt that we are dealing with a clash in worldviews?
comments on this story
Republicans must carry this bill aggressively into the Senate. Pressure must be put especially on Senate Democrats up for re-election in states that lean pro-life, such as Mary Landrieu from Louisiana, Mark Pryor from Arkansas and Kay Hagan from North Carolina.
Perhaps this is a good time to recall George Washington's words "that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government."
No, this is not a time for compromise. The nation is confused, far adrift from its moral moorings. Republicans must grab the reins aggressively and provide, without compromise, the moral leadership needed so badly.
Star Parker is an author and president of CURE, Coalition on Urban Renewal and Education. Contact her at www.urbancure.org.