Advocates for life
As they do every year on Jan. 22, prolifers last week marked the anniversary of Roe v. Wade with the March for Life — a tens-of-thousands-strong gathering that winds down Constitution Avenue to the Supreme Court building. Not only is the march a time to protest the tragic 1974 court decision — with its “emanations and penumbras” — it is also a moment to reflect on the state of abortion in America and how, by a combination of reason, humanity and patience, pro-life Americans have managed to keep abortion as one of the most important moral issues of our day.
Pro-choice advocates might scoff at whatever progress their opponents think they have made since 1974. They would surely point out that a majority of Americans still approve of Roe; that the Supreme Court has upheld Roe on numerous occasions in various forms; and that, even with the addition of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, there’s no serious threat of overturning Roe.
Yet pro-choice advocates like to assume that acceptance of Roe as a policy suggests a national consensus on abortion in all its iterations. This is demonstrably false. Most Ameri- cans when polled are appalled at practices such as partial-birth abortion. Most Americans also consider the slaying of a pregnant mother to be a double homicide. The prochoice lobby, however, strenuously defend partial-birth abortion and either oppose or re-
In the political realm, since 1974, no Republican presidential candidate has been elected with a popular majority who wasn’t uniformly pro-life. Bill Clinton, the last prochoice Democrat elected president, never received a popular majority. Even presidential aspirant Sen. Hillary Clinton has felt the need to try to strike a moderate stance on abortion. Two notable Democrats who prevailed in high-profile races against pro-life Republicans in November are themselves pro-life: Democrats Bob Casey, who defeated Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, and Heath Shuler, who defeated North Carolina Republican Charles Taylor. The political lesson is clear: A candidate who espouses the extreme views of Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America without reservation is at a distinct disadvantage in today’s America.
This is clear progress and much of it is owed to the marchers who every year gather in the nation’s capital to declare, as President Bush said in an address to the rally, that “every human life has value.”