Jonathon van Maren

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Abortion activists, TIME magazine, and the path to victory

Jonathon van Maren
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This year marks two solemn anniversaries for the abortion battle in North America—it is both the 25th anniversary of R. v. Morgentaler and the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. To the shock of many pro-lifers, TIME magazine heralded Roe v. Wade’s coming of age with a cover story by Kate Pickert that announced: “40 Years Ago, Abortion Activists Won An Epic Victory With Roe v. Wade. They’ve Been Losing Ever Since.”

Obviously (as many pro-life commentators have already pointed out) the truth is a bit more complicated than that, although there are plenty of reasons for optimism. However, what I found interesting was how America’s take-no-prisoners abortion cabal reacted to the article.

Amanda Marcotte, distinguished in the field of cheapening debate and noted for often flailing angrily against the armies of straw men that seem to dog her footsteps, bridled at the idea that the pro-abortion contingent should approach the abortion issue with “nuance,” something no one has had the audacity to accuse her of.

A “nuanced” approach to the abortion issue, Marcotte asserts, is just another nasty attempt to make sure women stop having so much sex. Hilariously, Marcotte then whines that Pickert has ignored the fact that the pro-choice movement has accomplished real victories in spite of the fact that pro-lifers “have successfully chipped away at abortion access.” These victories include STD prevention (presumably she feels that malicious anti-choicers wish herpes on all those who disagree with them), contraception use (nobody is asking for legislation restricting it, we’d just like you to pay for it yourself, thanks), and—wait for it—the women’s right to vote. That, Ms. Marcotte, is not an accomplishment of the pro-“choice” movement. That victory belongs to the first-wave feminists—incidentally, a very anti-abortion group of ladies indeed.

Another writer for RH Reality Check, Charlotte Taft, also chimed in with concern, listing almost a dozen things that the “reproductive justice” movement worked towards other than abortion. She, like Marcotte, feels strongly that the American people need to get over their queasiness about abortion and leave it to the kindly abortionists (like Kermit Gosnell, one presumes) to take care of everything. Steph Herold, the founder of The Abortion Gang, actually stated that NARAL, Planned Parenthood, and NOW aren’t radical enough anymore.

The response of abortion activists to TIME’s assertion that they are losing is encouraging. As many older pro-“choice” activists such as Frances Kissling and Naomi Wolf have already admitted, the new findings in embryology combined with the increasing exposure of the abortion procedure have made the American public increasingly queasy about the abortion procedure and thus reluctant to embrace the pro-choice label. The rigidly hostile response of abortion activists to the suggestion that abortion may be at minimum an ethically complex issue will continue to alienate a public that, while perhaps somewhat sympathetic to many of their goals, see the increasingly available and in-your-face scientific evidence that illustrates their position to be at best an outdated one.

I have noted before that I believe pro-lifers have one task that stands above all others: To destroy the cognitive dissonance between what people believe culturally about abortion rights and what they known both intellectually and instinctively about the pre-born child in the womb. As long as our opponents keep on insisting that the human fetus is a non-issue (and indeed, not one of the responses to TIME’s article so much as mentioned who it was, exactly, that was being aborted), the more discomfort the public at large will have with a position they know has no basis in any real, scientific reality or coherent human rights framework. The Pro-Choice Emperor has no clothes. The Pro-Life Movement has to get down to the hard work of pointing that out.

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