NewsFri Jan 26, 2007 - 12:15 pm EST
Democrats Plans for Dividing and Demonizing Pro-Lifers
By Joseph A. D’Agostino
FRONT ROYAL, Virginia, January 26, 2007 (pop.org/LifeSiteNews.com) - Democratic leaders in Congress have quietly begun the next phase of their new strategy to divide and demonize pro-life Americans. This strategy includes targeting crisis pregnancy centers because of their tremendous success, a strategy led by Rep. Henry Waxman (D.-Calif.), the new chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee thanks to last fall’s election results.
Waxman and others are miffed because CPCs tellwomen about the incontrovertible connection between abortion and breast cancer. He is also the Democrats’ point man against teaching children to abstain from sexual relations. Yet going after CPCs is unlikely to divide pro-lifers or go far in demonizing us outside of the Dems’ base voters.
More insidious is the issue of contraception. Having learned the hard way that the unabashed celebration of abortion was losing them votes, Democrats in the last election cycle sought to portray themselves as moderate on the issue and even recruited a fair number of pro-life candidates to run for Congress, with considerable success. Now that they have taken control of our national legislature, they must appear to care about reducing abortion while not doing anything that would actually reduce abortion and alienate their fanatically pro-death base, and at the same time isolate truly pro-life Americans in the minds of the so-called “abortion grays.”
These are American voters who have qualms about abortion but do not wish it outlawed, and are thus susceptible to appeals from either side of the abortion divide. Most abortion grays view as unpleasantly extremist both the NARAL, Barbara Boxer types who embrace even partial-birth abortion and principled anti-abortion activists who believe every single unborn child should be saved however inconvenient he may be.
Because of Roe v. Wade and political realities, banning most abortions is not on congressional pro-lifers’ agenda for the time being, so pro-abortion forces have found another way to do harm, in more ways than one. Their approach could not only divide and demonize pro-lifers, but would spread disease among youth, increase their psychic distress, and inflate the number of abortions.
The Dems’ plan is to promote contraception as a means of reducing abortion and watch pro-lifers, who know contraception increases abortion, squirm as the media portrays any opposition to more federal funding for contraceptive programs as hypocritical extremism on the part of pro-lifers. Of course, a plan to reduce abortion by increasing contraceptive prevalence has highly persuasive surface plausibility. More
contraception means fewer unwanted pregnancies, right? And fewer unwanted pregnancies means fewer abortions, right? It seems so obvious, common-sensical, and practical.
Yet experience has proven it false. You don’t need statistics to know this, and this time I will refrain from offering a passel of them. When contraceptive use exploded in the United States during the 1970s, so did the abortion rate. Continued promotion of contraception, including the distribution of free condoms en masse to high-schoolers, in the ‘80s and ‘90s did nothing to reduce the abortion rate, which has dipped slightly in the past few years—coinciding with a rise in abstinence and anti-abortion attitudes among young people. Foreign countries have experienced the same pattern: Wherever contraceptive use has become widespread, so has abortion. Far more often than not, they go in tandem, not in opposition.
Why is this? For one thing, contraception isn’t very effective. Some methods work well in the laboratory, but few people conduct their sex lives in laboratories. In the real world, contraception fails all the time. In fact, 53% of unplanned pregnancies happen to women who are using contraception.
More fundamentally, the contraceptive mentality causes abortion. When women and girls choose to sleep with men whose children they don’t want, they will take steps to ensure those children aren’t born. If
contraception fails, they will abort. And because abortion is easily available, these women can be lax about using contraception, knowing there is a cheap and legal fall-back option.
Some anti-abortion Democrats, though, are pursuing the pro-contraception strategy. New Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D.-Nev.), who says he opposes abortion, introduced a bill on Congress’ first day this year that would increase funding for contraception and the morning-after pill. Senators Hillary Clinton and Ted Kennedy have signed on—which should tell you something. Rep. Tim Ryan (D.-Ohio), another abortion opponent, has a bill that would fund more contraception but also provide help to women who decide to carry unplanned pregnancies to term. These sort of bills could split pro-life members of Congress and make those who oppose them seem extreme and heartless.
They should remember that contraception increases abortion. They should also remember that contraceptives give young people a false sense of security, leading them to engage in riskier behavior than they otherwise would even though contraception is of limited effectiveness in preventing pregnancy and disease (and many forms of contraception actually increase disease risks, at least for women). Moreover, all forms of artificial contraception cause illness. For example, there is no doubt that the contraceptive pill increases cancer risks. Putting more pills into the hands of young women means federal funding for killing American girls.
Pro-lifers should be ready for these controversies when the Democratic establishment and their media allies choose to move them to the front burner of American politics.
Joseph A. D’Agostino is Vice President for Communications at the Population Research Institute.