By Gudrun Schultz
January 30, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) – After thirty-three years of abortion-on-demand in the US, abortion activists are saying they can feel their grip on the country starting to slide away.
“I think [Roe vs. Wade] in the short term will be dismantled,” said Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, to Reuters. “We have an anti-choice president, an anti-choice Congress and now … with the confirmation of Judge Alito to the Supreme Court, we are seeing the potential for a very right-leaning, anti-choice Supreme Court.”
Judge Samuel Alito’s nomination to the Supreme Court has given pro-life advocates concrete hope that Roe vs. Wade, the 1973 judicial activist decision to make abortion a constitutional right, may finally be overturned. There are many other factors, however, which are contributing to the sense among both pro-life and pro-abortion groups that the balance is beginning to shift toward the side of life.
A survey conducted in November 2005 by the Pew Research Center showed that a majority of Americans think abortion is the central issue before the Supreme Court.Â John Green, senior researcher at the Pew Forum on religion and Public Life, said the flood of anti-abortion legislation is linked to conservative religious groups.
“I do think it is a critical moment,” Green said. “A lot really hinges on Alito and other judges who may be appointed in the near future. I could imagine in the next 10 years or so there could be steady changes in the law regarding abortion.”
Organizations working for the protection of the unborn say research that shows babies’ complex development at very early stages has undermined support for abortion. Testimonies of women who have suffered emotional and physical damage from aborting their babies have also helped turn public opinion.
Above all, technological advances have had an impact. Ultra-sound improvements that let pregnant women see the faces of their babies have been a significant force in turning people away from abortion.
“The technology has allowed someone who before had no face and no voice to become an actual child,” said Mary Spaulding Balch, director of state legislation for the National Right to Life Committee. “In the 70s and 80s whenever you debated abortion you talked about the mother. Now the baby is being brought into the debate.”
Across the country, state legislation restricting abortion is being brought forward, ranging from laws banning abortion outright, to laws restricting access, requiring parental notification, longer “cooling off” periods before obtaining abortions, and even restrictions on birth control and sex education.
Every state now has anti-abortion legislation either established or under way. Twenty-six states have laws banning abortion after three months of pregnancy. Legislation underway in four states, South Dakota, Tennessee, Indiana and Ohio, would ban abortions entirely unless the mother’s life was clearly in danger.
“There is a growing public realization that abortion is an injustice, the destruction of an innocent human life,” said American Life League executive director David Bereit.
The up swell of anti-abortion measures cannot be activated while Roe vs. Wade stands, however, which barricades state legislation.
See related LifeSiteNews coverage:
Abortion Ban Considered in Growing Number of States: South Dakota, Indiana, Ohio