Advocates Discuss State of the Pro-Life Movement on Abortion, Roe

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 23, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Advocates Discuss State of the Pro-Life Movement on Abortion, Roe Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 23, 2006

Washington, DC ( — After 33 years of legalized abortion under Roe v. Wade some pro-life advocates have an optimistic outlook for the future because of declining abortion rates and the possibility that the fourth vote on the Supreme Court to overturn the case will be approved this week. Other groups are more cautious.

At the rally preceding the March for Life on Monday speakers praised the nomination of appeals court judge Samuel Alito, who many believe will provide the fourth vote to reverse the landmark abortion decision.

Comments from pro-life Rep Mike Pence, an Indiana Republican typified the joyous attitude of many marchers.

"We must support the confirmation of Judge Alito and other jurists who will support a strict-constructionist view of the law and make it possible once and for all to end Roe v. Wade ," Pence exclaimed.

Wendy Wright, vice president for Concerned Women for America, put it more plainly.

"The pro-life movement is in the best position it has ever been in," Wright told the Washington Times.

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, added, "We’re seeing, after many years of education and work, that people are beginning to understand the pro-life movement. The culture is shifting to a more pro-life perspective."

Those views are born out by polling results and abortion figures from many states.

Polls, including a CBS News survey this month and a Gallup survey in November, find approximately 52-55 percent of Americans opposing all abortions except in very rare cases of the life of the mother, rape or incest. Just 42-45 percent of Americans support legalized abortions.

State abortion figures also show abortion on a steady decline.

States like Wisconsin, Tennessee, Mississippi, Minnesota, Kansas, and Kentucky are seeing their lowest abortion totals since Roe. Abortions are down 11 percent in Michigan, 5 percent in Georgia, and South Carolina abortions have dropped 53 percent in a decade.

Those results are due in large part to the multifaceted efforts of the pro-life movement.

Passing pro-life laws, the expansion and promotion of crisis pregnancy centers, the growth of the post-abortion movement, abstinence education, and continued education efforts have seen their results.

"The American public better understands what abortion has done to women and our country" Wright says.

The positive news across the board has prompted lawmakers in Indiana, Ohio and South Dakota to propose wholesale abortion bans. But one pro-life group says that may be jumping the gun.

National Right to Life Committee director David O’Steen pleaded for caution at a Monday news conference.

"There are five votes on the Court in addition to Sandra Day O’Connor who have indicated their support for Roe ," he reminded.

Even with the additions of Roberts and possibly Alito, and assuming both Justices would vote to reverse Roe, one more pro-abortion Justice must be replaced to have a 5-4 pro-life majority.

The state of the pro-life movement is good and there is good reason for optimism, but there are challenges ahead.

The November congressional elections could chip away at the pro-life advantage in Congress and make it much more difficult to approve Supreme Court picks and the 2008 presidential elections could reverse many of the gains the movement has made if a pro-abortion candidate is elected.

When the next abortion advocate on the high court steps down, another battle must be fought over a replacement.

And until Roe is overturned, those multifaceted efforts must continue so abortions can be reduced even further.