By Dave Andrusko
Editor’s note. This first ran on April 19, 2010. In light of the reasons Nancy Keenan listed for resigning at the end of the year, this story is particularly illuminating.
Let me start with one of many startlingly revealing quotes from Nancy Keenan, President of NARAL, which appears in a Newsweek story written by Sarah Kliff [www.newsweek.com/id/236506].
They are discussing the retirement in a decade or so of the old-guard leadership that’s run the Abortion Establishment for decades.
“And what worries Keenan is that she just doesn’t see a passion among the post-Roe generation–at least, not among those on her side. This past January, when Keenan’s train pulled into Washington’s Union Station, a few blocks from the Capitol, she was greeted by a swarm of anti-abortion-rights activists. It was the 37th annual March for Life, organized every year on Jan. 22, the anniversary of Roe. ‘I just thought, my gosh, they are so young,’ Keenan recalled.
‘There are so many of them, and they are so young. March for Life estimates it drew 400,000 activists to the Capitol this year.”
By contrast a rally two months earlier in support of lacing ObamaCare with deadly abortion-promoting ingredients “had about 1,300 attendees. ”
Your first question might be, why would NARAL leak to Kliff the results of a confidential survey of 700 youth Americans showing “there was a stark ‘intensity gap’ on abortion”? Who knows?
It could be an attempt by one side of the Abortion Establishment to get a leg up on the other. (See below.) Could be that Kliff, who is as reliable as she is predictable, could be counted on to find the right silver lining.
And it could also be that parts of the pro-abortion leadership believe it is smart politics to pretend that the Democratic Party leadership is no longer hysterically, reflexively pro-abortion. In fact, Obama, Reid, and Pelosi are much more useful to the pro-abortion cause because they pretend that they are “reaching out.” But by pretending to believe otherwise, NARAL, et. al can act as if they are wringing out even more concessions.
Let’s discus the results which, as bad as they were from Keenan’s perspective, were still spun in a futile attempt to make lemonade out of lemons.
The most significant result came first.
“More than half (51 percent) of young voters (under 30) who opposed abortion rights considered it a ‘very important’ voting issue, compared with just 26 percent of abortion-rights supporters; a similar but smaller gap existed among older voters, too. Worse still for NARAL, the millennials surveyed didn’t view abortion as an imperiled right in need of defenders.”
(Interestingly, that is almost exactly a 2-1 ratio, but that is not pointed out.)
So, the two-part initial bad news is that pro-life young people are twice as likely to consider abortion as a “very important” voting issue compared to their pro-abortion counterparts; AND Millennials don’t see abortion as an “imperiled right in need of defenders.” (It’s not clear if that refers to all 700 or just the pro-abortion side.)
Actually, come to think of it, the more significant news may come a little later. “Millennials are more likely than their boomer parents to see abortion as a moral issue.” In fact, “young voters flat-out disapproved of a woman’s abortion, called her actions immoral.”
[The silver lining is that these same young people simultaneously maintained that “the government had absolutely no right to intervene.” But think about this. On the one hand, these were participants in NARAL focus groups. On the other hand if you load the question with imagery of “governmental intervention,” you’ve made sure you get the results you want.]
What explains the following quote?
As one young woman in Denver said, I only get mad when [a friend] tries telling me, ‘It is like nothing, oh well, it is just an abortion.’?” It wasn’t the abortion itself that seemed to trouble the woman; rather, it was her friend’s nonchalance. “Even if it was like nothing,” the woman told NARAL, “it was something.”
My guess is the young woman’s unhappiness extends far beyond her friend’s “nonchalance.” And one of the important reasons why comes in the next paragraphs.
Kliff and former NARAL President Kate Michelman talk about the incredible change in societal perception caused by ultrasound. Even Michelman conceded, “The technology has clearly helped to define how people think about a fetus as a full, breathing human being.”
Naturally she tries to turn what has followed from the widespread use of ultrasounds into a cynical pro-life conspiracy. But the simple truth is none of what we say would resonate nearly as much as it does if ultrasounds had not already become “baby’s first picture.”
And pro-lifers don’t produce network television programming, but ultrasound images are everywhere.
There is so much there, but let me just end where they end: an inter-movement debate much more fierce than this story lets on. Trying to grapple with the new, far less receptive environment has led some pro-abortionists to embark upon what Kliff argues is “a promising path forward.”
We are to believe there is a “growing consensus ” about “Start[ing] an open discussion about the moral, ethical, and emotional complexity of abortion” which, the argument goes, “would be more likely to resonate with young Americans. ”
Parroting the company line, NARAL pollster Anna Greenberg tells Kliff, “It’s a morally complex issue that both sides have tried to make black and white,” adding, “We have to recognize the moral complexity.”
If you believe that, you should not be allowed outside after dark.
While other pro-abortionists are understandably scared silly that this is a major step down a “slippery slope, short of Roe being overturned, this “might prompt the next generation to take up the cause,” Kliff writes.
Wouldn’t it be interesting to be a fly on the wall when they have one of these squabbles over tactics? Greenberg says, “Hey, we can turn this into a winner–women take their abortions seriously–deflecting all that anti-abortion stuff.”
Somebody else says, “Are you stark raving crazy?! We’ve talked for 40 years about PROCESS–a decision made by a ‘woman and her doctor’–not what the END PRODUCT is. We start introducing ‘moral complexity” and the next thing you know they’ll be demanding to know where do get off severing arms and legs and heads off of fetuses that can experience pain!”
Again, the full story is found at http://www.newsweek.com/id/
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