The prolife moment

abortion_teeTed Olsen of Christianity Today Online delivers some of the best news prolifers have heard in years: Around the world, even in the once abortion-enthusiastic China, nations are stepping back from unrestricted access to abortion.

Here are three paragraphs in which Olsen finds reason for prolife cheer even in the United States — and none are contingent on George Bush’s reelection:

A January poll showed that 43 percent of Democrats believe abortion “destroys a human life and is manslaughter.” Those numbers will keep growing due to what The Wall Street Journal calls The Roe Effect: Pro-lifers can pass their values on to their children; those who abort their children can’t. Another good sign: Anti-abortion demonstrations are getting younger.

Little wonder, then, that Sen. John Kerry touted that he too believes that life (though not necessarily personhood) begins at conception and that abortion is an “incredibly important moral issue.”

For Kerry, the basis for keeping abortion legal isn’t based in science but in the “separation of church and state.” The change of rationale could be great news. It’s no Herculean task to explain why banning abortion doesn’t establish a government religion.

Olsen also refers to The New York Times Magazine‘s article “When One Is Enough,” in which Amy Richards blithely describes aborting two of her three triplets to avoid the horrors of buying “big jars of mayonnaise” at Costco:

Without the abortions, she exclaimed, “I’d have to give up my life!” That life is one where she’s a Planned Parenthood leader, a consultant to Gloria Steinem, and founder of the Third Wave Foundation, which funds abortions. She’s also one of the brains behind Planned Parenthood T-shirts that proudly proclaim, “I had an abortion.”

Richards’s article and those shirts have outraged even Planned Parenthood affiliates, but make no mistake: This is the direction that the movement is headed. Within days of the triplets article, the Times published another article on abortion. This time, Barbara Ehrenreich savaged women who regret their abortions or oppose those “socially motivated abortions” Benjamin was talking about. “Time to take your thumbs out of your mouths, ladies, and speak up for your rights,” she said.

Not exactly the textbook method for winning hearts and minds. No wonder the tide is turning.

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  • Caelius Spinator
  • Fred

    Olsen’s article is mainly just worthless spin. He ignores key facts and misrepresents the implications of others.

    1. The undeniable global trend of the past several decades has been to reduce legal restrictions on abortion, not increase them. There is no sign that this trend is reversing. A broad legal right to abortion now exists in almost all the industrialized democracries, and countries where abortion is still severely restricted are under increasing pressure to ease those laws.

    2. The only reason China was prompted to pass its sex-selection abortion ban is that the number of sex-selection abortions in that country (and also in India) has increased dramatically over the last decade or so following the widespread appearance of inexpensive ultrasound technology that allows pregnant women to determine the sex of their fetus. At best, the law will simply roll back that massive recent increase, but problems in enforcing the law will likely prevent even that effect.

    3. The development that has had the largest effect in recent years, and that will likely continue to have the largest effect, on the abortion rate in the U.S. and other developed nations is the appearance and promotion of the morning-after pill. Although classified by medical authorities as contraception rather than as an abortifacient, the morning-after pill acts in many cases after fertilization has occurred, and is therefore a method of abortion as most anti-abortionists define abortion. In many countries the drug is even available over-the-counter, without a doctor’s prescription. Other chemical abortifacients, such as RU486, are also likely to increase the abortion rate. It is likely that many women who would never consider a surgical abortion will be willing to use these newer abortion methods.

    4. The `Roe Effect` is a myth. Abortion has been legal throughout the United States for over 30 years. Polling data overwhelmingly shows that attitudes towards abortion have remained essentially constant throughout that period.

  • thecosmopolitan

    Fred’s point by point refutation of the “facts” adduced by Ted Olsen in the article Get Religion has praised “as the best news pro-lifers have heard in years” offers an opportunity for Get Religion to demonstrate that it is at least as interested in the quality of religion news as it is in advancing the spin it agrees with.

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