Birth Control the New Attack Strategy for Abortion Advocates Against Pro-Lifers
by Steven Ertelt
November 6, 2008
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Abortion was noticeably absent from the presidential debate but not entirely because the mainstream media refused to bring it up until weeks before the election in the third and final debate. Leading abortion advocacy groups are shying away from mentioning abortion in their attacks on pro-life candidates.
Recognizing they were losing a defensive battle they couldn’t win because science isn’t on their side, abortion advocates gave up trying to define unborn children as anything other than human.
The advances in ultrasound technology defeated any attempts to portray a baby before birth as a blob of tissue or mass of cells.
Now, abortion advocates appear to be shifting on the issue of abortion altogether.
Perhaps they recognize they’ve lost the battle on partial-birth abortions and that polling data shows anywhere from 60-80 percent of Americans support commonsense limits like informed consent, parental involvement, and laws to protect pregnant women and unborn children from violence.
Even on the issue of abortion itself, polls for the last 10 years have consistently shown anywhere from 50-60 percent of Americans are pro-life, including a Marist College poll released last month showing 60 percent of Americans opposing 98 percent of abortions.
In a new editorial published on a popular pro-abortion web site, activist Cristina Page admits the pro-abortion movement is increasingly turning to birth control to attack pro-life candidates rather than mentioning abortion.
"This year a number of candidates that ran for the Senate, the House and as Governor engaged in a wide reproductive health debate that went way beyond abortion to include birth control, emergency contraception, pharmacist refusals to fill birth control pill prescriptions and sex education," she explained.
"It turns out it was a great strategy for pro-choice candidates. In the tightest of races, last night’s results showed the broader agenda was a winning one," Page added.
The almost exclusive focus on birth control and contraception is borne out in the ads leading abortion advocacy groups used to bash pro-life candidates.
In their attacks on pro-life candidates John McCain and Sarah Palin, top pro-abortion groups like NARAL and Planned Parenthood shifted gears and almost never brought up abortion.
A late October NARAL mailer spent most of its time attacking McCain on birth control.
"When it comes to birth control and family planning, John McCain just says no," the mailer contended. "When it comes to reproductive rights, John McCain’s answer is no. On November 4, return the favor by just saying no to John McCain."
Not until voters read the fine print of the NARAL mailer were they confronted with abortion and a mention of pro-life votes he cast. The vote? McCain opposed making taxpayers fund abortions — hardly an issue that resonates with anyone outside the most passionate NARAL member.
The big Planned Parenthood attack on McCain during the election came in the form of a commercial saying "John McCain is out of touch when it comes to women’s health care."
The ad targeted McCain when a campaign advisor said she didn’t know if he would also make insurance companies cover birth control in the same manner they cover certain drugs for men. The ad made no mention of abortion.
Page says the birth control focus played well at the state level for abortion advocates.
She cites a victory by pro-abortion Democrat Jeanne Shaheen in the New Hampshire race for U.S. Senate as she defeated pro-life Sen. John Sununu.
And in Colorado, she says the pro-abortion group taking on the personhood amendment on the state ballot "educated Coloradans about threats the Amendment posed to the most common and effective birth control methods as well as stem cell research and IVF treatment."
With 90 percent of Americans supporting birth control and about the same percentage of women using some sort of contraception in their lifetimes, Page says abortion advocates have hit on a winning solution.
Since they can’t win on abortion, they’ve shifted ground and pro-life groups and candidates need to recognize this very subtle change of tactics in future elections.
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