Abortion politics and the March for Life

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," January 21, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to make a statement in Washington, D.C., saying we are a pro-life generation and we're standing up for the unborn.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I hope it helps everybody to realize that there we're not alone in this. There's a bunch people out there who feel the same way.

PATRICK KELLY, MARCH FOR LIFE CHAIRMAN: When I look out at this enormous crowd, I see the new face of the culture of life.


KELLY: I see it in a very special way in the tens of thousands of young people who have braved frigid temperatures to come to Washington to deliver a simple but profound message -- life is beautiful.


BRET BAIER, HOST: Impressive sight, because it was cold out on the national mall for the 41st March for Life. This is the first since the trial of Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, obviously we covered that, convicted of murdering babies born alive during botched abortions.

Take a look at the latest polls, the Fox News polls taken on the issue of abortion, views on abortion, there you see pro-life, 48 percent, pro-choice, 45 percent, and how that has changed since back in October of 2012.  A new Maris poll, the most recent one out, asking the question is abortion morally acceptable or morally wrong? Morally wrong at 62 percent. That's Knights of Columbus and Maris doing that poll.

We're back with the panel. Steve, thoughts?

STEVEN HAYES, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: There was another finding in the Maris poll that 84 percent of Americans oppose abortion on demand until birth, which is I think a pretty significant and overwhelming number. If you take those poll numbers back further, the contrast with where we are today would be even more stark.

The march today will be as it always is, under covered in the main stream media because reporters don't know many people who are pro-life, and because pro-life folks come to Washington and often brave the elements and do this year in and year out so that reporters don't pay attention in the way I think they ought to.

So what we have seen over particularly the past decade is a quiet movement toward life. You've seen this in restrictions on abortion that have come up through the states, a quiet movement, a state by state movement, but a strong movement and one that's resulted in fewer abortions.  I think we're likely to see that trend continue and we're likely to see more restrictions on a state level. And obviously there is a push in Congress to enact some additional restrictions on the federal level.  There's no hope of that happening with Harry Reid running the Senate, but it's not long until that happens.

BAIER: A.B., the president released a statement on this 41st anniversary of Roe versus Wade. "Today, as we reflect on this 41st anniversary of the Supreme Court decision Roe V. Wage we recommit ourselves to the decision's guiding principle that every woman should be able to make her own choices about her body and her health because this is the country where everybody deserves the same freedom and opportunities to realize their dreams." Politically, where do you think this falls in 2014?

A.B. STODDARD, THEHILL.COM: This is so fascinating. I think while the movement was very galvanized throughout the last decade, more restrictions have been passed since the Republican wave since 2010 than had passed in the previous decade. So while they might have been building a quiet, grassroots army for results, they couldn't get them without a huge Republican wave throughout state houses and legislatures across the land, which then resulting in these, but actually happened because of ObamaCare, the bailout, the stimulus, and AIG and a bunch of other factors that were brewing in '08 and '09 and 2010.

Now, as a result of these new restrictions, 22 states, 70 new laws, you're going to hear an incredible amount of fired up rhetoric by the pro-choice side in the 2014 elections. But look at the examples of Governor McAuliffefrom Virginia, ran on the issues, polls show he did well on that issue, can't do anything about it, Republican legislature. That's going to happen in Michigan, Florida, Ohio, Texas, with Wisconsin, states where you'll see the Democratic candidate talking about this issue. Even if they win, they're not going to get results.

BAIER: Charles?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: The tragedy is that all the arguments are always around the edges. There's no way in which a democracy like ours that you're going to have a vote on the real issue, whether to make it legal or not. And the tragedy is that people go out on the street in Cairo and Kiev because there's no other way to express yourself democratically. That shouldn't happen in a democracy. And yet for 40 years the only way to express yourself on abortion on the core issues was to go out and march in the freezing cold.

And the reason is, however you feel about abortion or the morality or the legality of it, the Roe decision was an abomination because it took it out of the democratic and political realm. And to quote Ruth Bader Ginsberg, who obviously is a supporter of abortion rights, she said the Roe decision, by stopping the political process that was still moving in the reform direction, prolonged divisiveness and deferred stable settlement of the issue. That's why you have all these people today in the freezing cold and that's not how it ought to be done in a democracy, which is why Roe ought to be repealed.

BAIER: Pope Francis, inserting himself again in this issue as he's been talked about a lot. He tweeted today from that account, "I join the March for Life in Washington with my prayers. May God help us respect all life, especially the most vulnerable."

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