by Steven Ertelt
September 20, 2004
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A new poll conducted by the Los Angeles Times shows pro-abortion Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry losing his lead among women voters to President Bush.
Though abortion advocates want him to place more emphasis on his position in favor of abortion, Kerry’s decline could be because women are less interested in backing abortion than in years past.
A Gallop poll released last week shows Kerry leading Bush among women voters by a 50 to 46 percent margin. That’s down from the 15 point lead Kerry held in a similar June poll and lower than the 11 point margin Al Gore had over Bush in the 2000 election.
Despite the former director of the pro-abortion PAC Emily’s List, Mary Beth Cahill, managing Kerry’s campaign, abortion advocates say Kerry should spend more time touting abortion.
"The women’s vote should not be taken for granted," Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization for Women, told the Los Angeles Times in response to the poll. "He runs the risk of [losing] the entire campaign."
"The fact is that George Bush is the commander in chief of a war on choice," Gloria Feldt, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, told the Times. "Kerry needs to smoke Bush out and he also needs to advance his own agenda."
Seeking not to offend swing voters in pro-life states such as Missouri, Minnesota and West Virginia, Kerry has backed off of promoting his pro-abortion views since a pro-abortion rally in April.
At that rally, pro-life students were injured as they were dragged away by NARAL activists.
According to the Times, some of the pro-abortion activists have attempted to get the Kerry campaign to focus more on abortion, but senior aides have resisted.
However, that may change soon.
Kerry will attend a luncheon hosted by Redbook magazine on Monday and is expected to tout his pro-abortion views.
President Bush has been going after the women’s vote with his "W is for Women" outreach, headed by First Lady Laura Bush. The Bush re-election campaign has been arming women supporters with information about Bush’s record for women.
Pro-life groups say the Bush administration has been strongly pro-woman on abortion issues.
They point to his policy expanding funding of the CHIP program, a health insurance program for poor children, to include pregnant women so they can receive medical coverage during pregnancy. The policy should lead to a decrease in abortions.
Bush also draws praise from pro-life advocates for signing "Laci and Conner’s Law" — legislation that protects pregnant women from violence.
Named after Laci and Conner Peterson, the federal law allows prosecutors to charge criminals with two crimes when they attack a pregnant woman and kill or injure her unborn child.
Earlier this year, pro-abortion leaders admitted that abortion doesn’t drive women voters as it has in the past.
The political director of Emily’s List told the Christian Science Monitor newspaper in July that abortion is not an issue that drive women voters — nor is it their top priority.
Karen White of Emily’s List, a political organization that backs pro-abortion candidates, says abortion "is not an issue where a woman wakes up every morning and says, ‘I am going to look up what my candidate thinks on abortion.’"
"Now, while it may be an important issue, and she may have a very strong opinion about it, [it] is not what is driving her to vote," White admitted.
A June 2003 poll conducted by the Center for the Advancement of Women, which backs abortion, confirms White’s statement.
The survey found that 51% took a pro-life position opposing most or all abortions while only thirty percent said it should be generally available.
The poll also found that keeping abortion legal was the next to last most important priority for women. Fewer than half (41%) cite preserving abortion as a priority — down from 49 percent in 2001.