Activist state

Pro-life activists must accept incremental victories in state battles against abortion

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The greatest danger comes in the moment of victory. This maxim, attributed to Napoleon, applies particularly to the American pro-life movement. Yes, Roe v. Wade was waived, and that victory is worth celebrating. But war – or at least other important battles – can still be lost without continued vigilance and a coherent strategy.

And if abortion is codified by federal law, it could be just as legal as Roe was not.

It is important to recognize that abortion activists remain a major force in the field. In fact, Dobbs v. The Supreme Court’s Jackson Women’s Health served as their rallying point.

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Just 24 hours after Roe’s overthrow, donations to Planned Parenthood have increased 40 times their typical daily intake, with more than half of contributions coming from new donors. And more than 20 woke companies are offering to cover the expenses of employees traveling for out-of-state abortions.

Maria Peña holds a rosary and signs off in front of a building housing an abortion provider in Dallas, Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
(AP Photo/LM Otero)

More importantly, however, pro-abortion supporters can always rely on left-leaning media to deliver one-sided, hard-line stories that dutifully repeat their colorful lies, exaggerate the ramifications of the Dobbs decision, paint life advocates as extremists and distorting the narratives surrounding the issue.

Even before the next phase began, the pro-abortion left muddied the issue with unsubstantiated claims that women would be forced into pregnancy as a result of the ruling, and with false claims that the ruling would remove the ” constitutional right to abortion”.

After Dobbs, the abortion debate is now moving to the various state legislatures across the country, finally allowing American citizens to have a voice in one of the most contentious issues of our time. But given the powerful and motivated forces mobilizing against the innocent, it is important to recognize that a phased approach will be needed.

In states where voters strongly support a complete abortion ban, surely legislatures should act now to seize the opportunity. But the same approach in states where support for an outright ban is lukewarm at best not only risks legislative defeat, but could also serve to rally the left’s militant base and provide new opportunities to reverse our victory of Dobbs.

If the pro-life movement instead pursues an incremental strategy in these states, it would inevitably result in permanent triumph for the unborn innocent. A poll reveals that 70% of Americans generally support abortion restrictions after the first trimester. Even among those who identify as “pro-choice,” 55% support abortion restrictions in some way. These figures clearly show that it is possible to pass legislation that imposes at least some limits on abortion.

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Rather than dismiss moderately pro-life legislation as a half measure, pro-life lawmakers should strive to maintain progress where progress can be made. There are good reasons for optimism behind this phased approach. A majority of voters in these states could, over time, support the outright abolition of abortion.

In my state of Virginia, Governor Glenn Youngkin provided an example of bipartisan legislation worthy of the support of the pro-life movement when he suggested that his state’s law ban abortion after 20 weeks instead of 15. A governor outspoken pro-lifers, they also expressed the need for exceptions for rape, incest and circumstances endangering the life of the mother. Its proposals are modest starting points that can be developed in the future if adopted now.

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Meanwhile, in “progressive” Europe, 47 out of 50 countries limit abortion before 15 weeks gestation, some even earlier. This suggests that with the right approach, modest reforms might even be possible in the bluest of states. But don’t count on leftist media to help you point this out. Instead, we must use an aggressive education campaign in the blue states so that our boundaries will one day match those of European countries.

As the pro-life movement enters its next phase, a strategy that pursues comprehensive abortion bans wherever possible while embracing incremental gains offers the best path forward to ensure not just victory, but a permanent victory for life.

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT L. BRENT BOZELL III