Abortion Advocates Change Terms of Debate in Face of Pro-Life Opinion

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 22, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Abortion Advocates Change Terms of Debate in Face of Pro-Life Opinion Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
January 22
, 2007

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Abortion advocates are celebrating 34 years of legalized abortion under Roe v. Wade today at various events. Yet, the pro-abortion movement appears to be losing ground and its leaders are switching gears trying to find an issue that resonates with people.

With advancements in technology such as 4D ultrasounds and a litany of women telling their stories of regret and pain following an abortion, the American public is less supportive of abortion now than at any time since Roe.

In celebrating the abortion anniversary, NOW president Kim Gandy said abortion advocates "must continue to be vigilant about upholding a woman’s right to make her own childbearing decisions, including access to birth control and abortion."

Gandy’s inclusion of birth control in the statement is an important change in strategy as polls show Americans opposing abortions.

Last January, a CBS News poll found that 55 percent of Americans took a pro-life position on abortion.

Some 33 percent said abortions should only be "permitted only in cases such as rape, incest and to save the woman’s life," 17 percent said they would limit abortion only to cases where a woman’s life is in danger and 5 percent said abortions should never be permitted.

Just 42 percent in the CBS News poll indicated they support legalized abortion.

Acknowledging that most Americans either want abortions illegal or are uncomfortable with unfettered abortion, the pro-abortion movement has shifted its focus to promoting birth control and the morning after pill.

That’s the case even though abortion advocates now have control of Congress.

Instead of broad legislation that pro-abortion groups supported int he Clinton years — such as the FOCA bill that would tear down virtually every pro-life law limiting abortions — Congressional leaders are focusing on trying to reduce unwanted pregnancies.

They reintroduced legislation intended to improve access to family planning and the Plan B drug.

"There are few more divisive issues in America today than abortion, but there is an opportunity to find common ground if we are willing to join together and seize it," pro-abortion Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said recently.

Leading pro-abortion activists acknowledge this change in framing the abortion debate.

"You’re going to see a change in the tone of the debate, and a move toward more solutions, rather than the divisiveness," Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL, told the Washington Post.

One unnamed abortion activist was more blunt in assessing the political climate, telling the Post, "We’ve made gains, but we don’t have carte blanche on anything."

Pro-life advocates are noticing the change in policy and direction as well.

"Abortion-rights advocates, by their own admission, are panicked about the cultural trend away from the acceptance of a hard-line abortion policy," Marjorie Dannenfelser, head of the Susan B. Anthony List, writes in a National Review column Monday.

"The abortion movement’s response so far has been to deflect the debate away from the central question," Dannenfelser explains.

"Abortion-rights advocates are willing to argue about anything, except the ‘A’-word itself," she says. "They reason that, so long as the debate is kept on the periphery, there will be no discussion of why abortion is allowed for all nine months of pregnancy, for any reason or none at all — a policy that is not very popular with the American people."

Dannenfelser says the trend is good for the pro-life movement because it shows that "the vast majority of Americans and women in particular are trending away from the old hard-line abortion position."