by Steven Ertelt
November 15, 2004
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — In an analysis over the weekend of the 2004 presidential elections, leading abortion advocates say that Senator John Kerry lost the election in part because he took women voters for granted.
"Just because there’s a gender gap, women’s votes cannot be taken for granted," said Martha Burk, president of the National Council of Women’s Organizations.
Feminist Majority President Eleanor Smeal said Kerry did a poor job of emphasizing his position in favor of abortion. While Kerry spoke about the issue directly to abortion advocates, he did not clarify his abortion position among the general voting population, she contended.
"On Roe v. Wade (abortion) and judges, he (Bush) knew how to obfuscate," Smeal said, complaining that Bush focused on side issues such as partial-birth abortion and stopping taxpayer funding of abortions.
Burk put the blame squarely on Kerry’s shoulders.
"He didn’t say ‘[Bush will] overturn Roe, I will not,’" she said.
Now that the election is over, Burk is concerned that the issue of abortion is finally cropping up in the national debate.
"One week away (after) the election, and we’re talking about abortion and Supreme Court justices," Burk said.
The abortion advocates also say Kerry didn’t take advantage of the "gender gap" that has developed in recent elections with women favoring the pro-abortion candidate. While not voting for candidates because of their pro-abortion position, many women favor candidates based on other political issues such as health care, the environment, or education.
The abortion advocates said Kerry failed to distinguish himself on these issues and contrast his position with that of President Bush.
Pro-abortion pollster Celinda Lake said the "gender gap" dropped in part because of terrorism concerns — "because security had an impact."
Meanwhile, Bush was able to point out how the efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan liberated women and gave them additional educational, financial and political opportunities they did not have before.
Smeal said "Kerry never spoke to that."
In fact, the issue of abortion gave a boost to the president as a post-election poll of voters by Wirthlin Worldwide shows that a majority of Americans are pro-life and the abortion issue gave pro-life candidates such as President Bush a twelve percent advantage.
Some 42 percent of voters said that the issue of abortion affected the way they voted, according to the Wirthlin poll.
Those voters favored pro-life candidates by nearly a two-one margin with 25 percent of all voters saying they voted for pro-life candidates who oppose abortion and only 13 percent of all voters saying they backed candidates that favor abortion.
That twelve percent margin in favor of pro-life candidates no doubt helped the president win re-election in several battleground states.
Despite the Kerry loss, Smeal said abortion advocates won’t go away.
"This will be very simple," Smeal said in answering a question of how to respond when Bush, known for making issues simple, acts. "On things like abortion and family planning, we’ll be simple, too."