Forty years after Roe v. Wade, a powerful shift is taking place within Big Abortion. What abortion advocates could not win through choice, they intend to impose through coercion.
Even Time magazine recently acknowledged on their cover that, for those so inclined to celebrate Roe’s anniversary, the rejoicing over abortion on demand should be tinged with concern. On January 14th Time asked “What Choice?” and then answered their own question: “40 years ago, abortion rights activists won an epic victory with Roe v. Wade,” the cover noted and then concluded: “They’ve been losing ever since.”
When viewed through the lens of policy -- instead of private decisions – “choice” encompasses individual liberty and a freedom to dissent. “Privacy” has long since vanished in the context of abortion policy: the abortion statists believe the procedure should permeate the public sphere.
They want abortion defined as fundamental health care for women...and they want every American to pay for it. They do not believe an individual should have a choice whether to participate in abortion. They plan to force every American, regardless of their personal beliefs and values, to participate in abortion as part of the everyday fabric of our culture through tax subsidies and occupational mandates.
And in response, what do we see in the pro-life, legal community? The number one piece of model legislation requested from our legal team is the one that assists in defunding the abortion industry. Following closely after is the model that reinforces Rights of Conscience. These legislative changes, when enacted, become a powerful restraint on the abortion industry.
But that’s is only the beginning. In the last two years alone the legal team at Americans United for Life has helped enact nearly 50 new pro-life laws – that’s about one-third of the unprecedented number of pro-life laws enacted in that time period. In addition, we have a tremendous tidal wave of life-affirming legislation in the pipeline. Notably, over the past two years, we had 2,500 requests for our model legislation and our legal team was at work in 39 states.
It’s a tremendous irony that this week brings together in close proximity the second inauguration of the most aggressively pro-abortion President in American history one day before the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and just prior to the annual March for Life. These events tangled together in time reflect the strange state of play in abortion politics today. But where pro-life representation counts – at the state level closest to the grass roots – the momentum is building.
The abortion lobby today is a little like the old Soviet bloc that looked invincible … right up to the day it collapsed under the weight of its own stagnation. The old guard of the Kremlin were on the wrong side of history, science, and the truth in much the same way that Big Abortion is today.
Cecile Richards, the chic Manhattan-based president of the world’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, is considerably more stylish than Mikhail Gorbachev, but they have in common a dependence on the power and money of the state to prop up a failed ideology.
While pro-lifers are still stinging from the loss of the presidency -- and perhaps the Supreme Court as well – savvy observers looking at the bigger picture resemble weathermen standing on a calm beach warning of the hurricane building far offshore.
We won’t see much of anything happen at the national level in the next several years, but there is a rising tide of pro-life legislation passing at the state level that is dramatically changing the contours of abortion policy in this country. The storm surge is coming.
Even abortion activists see the wind picking up. Witness the recent resignation of Nancy Keenan, now-former President of NARAL, the organization formerly known as the National Abortion Rights Action League. She stepped down acknowledging that the pro-life movement has real dynamism and strength among young people.
NARAL worked to airbrush the word “abortion” out of their name in 2003. Now, a mere decade later, 2013 began with Planned Parenthood announcing that they are moving away from the “choice” rubric.
The rhetorical dodge isn’t working for them anymore.
Abortion advocates don’t say exactly what phrases they plan to replace “choice” with. But their marketing trends are clear. The abortion lobby doesn’t want to talk about abortion as a “choice” because that implies there might be a decision to weigh. . . a moral concern to consider. . . even agonize over.
They want to use exclusively the language of “health care” –- for abortion to become routine, commonplace, and morally neutral like going to the dentist. The real move they are making, however, is not a rhetorical one. Abortion activists are actively and brazenly pivoting away from choice to coercion.
But the reality is, that won’t work, as the humanity of the unborn becomes more apparent to all.
Look across the country from state-house to state-house it is very heartening to pro-life advocates that a culture of life is being established one law at a time.
We don’t need The White House for the fifth decade of fighting Roe as state legislators work for a nation in which everyone is welcomed in life and protected in law.
Dr. Charmaine Yoest is president and CEO of Americans United for Life.