Showing posts with label Plan B. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Plan B. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Thanks for coming. We don't care. Next.

If you want to know how irrelevant America's right-to-life movement has become, all you have to do is turn to Page A-3 of today's Washington Post.

That's where Washington's newspaper of record
put the story telling how:

Tens of thousands of abortion opponents took to the cold, gray streets of Washington yesterday, buoyed by a recent report that the number of abortions in the United States had hit the lowest level in years and vowing to continue the fight.

IT'S NO BIG SIGN of how far pro-lifers have fallen that the Post put the story about tens of thousands of people in a protest march through its own town on an inside page -- it's done that for years. What should have the marchers -- and their leaders -- worried is that the reporter didn't bother to quote one pro-choice leader refuting anything anyone on the pro-life side said.

When no one takes you seriously enough to go to the trouble to refute what you say, be afraid. Be very afraid.

Or engage in a withering reappraisal of what the hell you're doing.

The newspaper said pro-lifers were buoyed by the news that abortions were at a 32-year low. Two questions about that: First, is it so and, second,
did the pro-life movement have anything to do with it?

from the Washington Post:
At the same time, the long decline in the number of abortion providers appears to be stabilizing, partly a result of the availability of the French abortion pill RU-486, the report found, because some physicians who do not perform surgical abortions provide it to their patients.

The report did not identify reasons for the drop in abortions, but the researchers said it could be caused by a combination of factors.

"It could be more women using contraception and not having as many unintended pregnancies. It could be more restrictions on abortions making it more difficult for women to obtain abortion services. It could be a combination of these and other dynamics," said Rachel K. Jones of the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive-health research organization, which published the report in the March issue of the journal
Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health.

Whatever the reasons, the trend was welcomed by abortion opponents and abortion rights advocates.

"This study shows that prevention works, and that's what we provide in our health centers every day," said Cecile Richard of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. "At the end of the day, Americans of all stripes believe that we need to do more to prevent unintended pregnancy and make health care affordable and accessible."
I TEND TO THINK the drop, instead of having much to do with the efforts of the overly politicized pro-life movement, probably has more to do with naturally changing attitudes by members of a couple of generations who know they could have suffered the same fate as 25 percent of their contemporaries. As well, I wouldn't be surprised to find out that more than a few of the "missing" abortions never went missing at all.

Those probably went "Plan B" instead -- fertilized eggs that never implanted, thanks to the "morning-after pill." Still an abortion, but never will show up in any statistic as one.

So what do we make of a movement so spectacularly unsuccessful that it's ecstatic over abortions falling from 1.6 million a year in 1976 to 1.2 million a year in 2005? Even at the "low" rate, give Americans five years and they've done to their own children in utero what Adolf Hitler did to the Jews ex utero.

That ain't success.

Given that pro-lifers have sold their souls to the Republican Party for a bag full of empty promises about fixing all kinds of social ills -- most especially abortion -- and still have ended up with a couple of Holocausts a decade for three-and-a-half decades now (not to mention the "right" to kill babies at any point of their nine-month sojourn in Mama's womb), you have to wonder why pro-life Americans aren't ready to tar and feather whomever came up with that bright idea.

HERE'S THE THING. Pro-lifers put all their eggs in Republican politicians' basket, giving them every incentive to string folks along with pretty rhetoric and no incentive to actually do anything about abortion, thus eliminating a bloc of "automatic" votes.

Meanwhile, the culture -- where fads become trends, and trends become entrenched behaviors, and entrenched behaviors remake entire societies -- careens along, unmolested by church, activist and politician alike.

It's ironic that the Roe v. Wade anniversary (and the March for Life) always fall close to the commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday. Pro-lifers like to fancy themselves as being in the mold of the civil-rights movement, employing tactics much like those of King's Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

But there are three things King managed to do that the pro-life movement never even thought about. He captured a nation's imagination. He never descended into a shouting match with his opponents. And he transformed the culture of a nation.

Where is the great rhetoric of the pro-life movement? Where is its great art? Its transcendent music? Where?

There is some pretty good music related to the pro-life cause but, alas, it never made it out of the "Christian ghetto."

MARTIN LUTHER KING, on the other hand, marched out of America's black ghettos and into the conscience of a nation. Since 1973, we pro-lifers have marched . . . and we've sat in . . . and we've protested . . . and we've politicked . . . and we've prayed . . . yet what does America see amid all this?

And there lies the problem.

America, in the 35 years since Roe, has seen not Martin Luther King marching across the Edmund Pettis Bridge but instead has seen Carrie Nation busting up a saloon. America knows all about what we're against, but little of what we're for.

Hell, we know all about what we're against . . . but do we really know what we're for? Or what America might look like if we achieved it.

The Carrie Nation approach to drinking ultimately may have gained us Prohibition for a season. But now we have Double Drunk Tuesdays and college administrators across the land wringing their hands about students' wild binges -- and the consequences that follow.

Do I wish abortion were illegal, just like every other form of homicide? Absolutely.

But what's more important for the cause of life? That we pass a law (which isn't going to happen anytime soon), or that we -- somehow, someway -- persuade women, their partners, their parents and their doctors that killing is evil, no matter whether or not it's legal.

Prohibiting iniquity doesn't equal success, even though codifying the sentiment would be instructive. Success, instead, lies in fostering virtue.

And victory lies in showing a nation that loving -- not killing -- is the best way to solve even the toughest problems.