September 25, 2005


Party of choice?: How pro-choice groups are hurting the Democrats- -- and their own cause (Amy Sullivan, September 25, 2005, Boston Globe)

[M]omentum may be shifting back to the pro-choice side. Their unlikely hero is the pro-life Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada, who has won support for a strategy to lower abortion rates by reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies. But abortion rights groups are blowing this opportunity, using inflammatory rhetoric that alienates moderates and imposing a litmus test on the political party that is, for the foreseeable future, the one most closely aligned with their interests.

According to a recent analysis by the centrist organization Third Way, a consistent 62 percent of voters are what Third Way calls ''Abortion Grays"--people who don't want abortion to be illegal, but who would like fewer abortions to take place. These voters have cast their lot with Republicans in the last three presidential elections, but could be recaptured by an effort that promised to make abortions rare, as Bill Clinton famously put it.

Reid has introduced legislation he calls ''Prevention First," which aims to reduce unwanted pregnancies by improving access to birth control and making it more affordable. The approach is far from new--choice groups have promoted it themselves for years. It provides a lifeline to Democrats, who finally have a win-win issue. If Republicans oppose it, they risk being labeled extremists; if they support it, and it passes, Democrats can rightly claim to have done more to cut abortion rates than their political opponents.

And yet, as the ad against Roberts showed, abortion rights groups have the impressive ability to marginalize themselves in the public debate even when they represent a majority position.

One can almost pity Ms Sullivan, who thinks both that her pro-abortion allies really wish there were fewer pregnancies, rather than more abortions, and that a prevention bill passed by a Republican Congress and President Bush will be credited to Democrats.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 25, 2005 12:00 AM

Reid actually said something sensible. Prevent unwanted pregnancies and there will be fewer abortions, but his solution of another ineffectual government program to make birth control accessible and affordable will be useless.

What's needed is a widespread PR initiative to convince people that birth control is the right way to prevent pregnancy and that abortion, while not illegal, should only be used for only the most compelling of reasons and then only as a last resort, never for birth control.

Adoption should be shown as an attractive option for women who are pregnant, but can't or don't want to, keep the baby. No more federally funded abortion clinics, no more taxpayer funds to Planned Parenthood or any of their look-alikes.

Oprah should be asked to chair the nationwide movement and she should enlist other celebrities to join in. The opportunities for crying jags are endless.

The women's movement will go crazy, but I, for one, can live with that.

Posted by: erp at September 25, 2005 3:07 PM

Hey, I have an idea: Let's make birth control easily available for relatively small amounts of money at every corner drug store. That would clearly rid us of all unwanted pregnancies and the consequent abortions, right?

Posted by: David Cohen at September 25, 2005 4:58 PM


Posted by: erp at September 25, 2005 5:21 PM


Nah, people are too ignorant. But if you supplemented that with enlightened, scientific-based sex education all across the public school system, you'd have the problem licked for sure.

Posted by: Peter B at September 25, 2005 8:42 PM

If Reid were at all serious he would support John Roberts. That he is voting against Roberst shows that he, like the other senators in his party is in the hip pocket of the pro-abortion lobby.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 25, 2005 10:58 PM

Clinton "famously" said many things, but talk is cheap. What did he actually do that helped reduce the number of abortions?

Posted by: Kirk Parker at September 26, 2005 2:57 AM