By Dave Andrusko
Last week the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ran a story that profiled Barbara Lyons, executive director of Wisconsin Right to Life, and Teri Huyck president and CEO of Milwaukee Planned Parenthood. These sorts of stories are not done often and when they are the results can be a caricature of the pro-life figure, in this case Mrs. Lyons. Bill Glauber seems to have avoided that pitfall.
The story is very much worth reading in its entirety. Let me make just a couple of points.
The influence that Wisconsin Right to Life wields—considerable—is not because of the money spent on lobbying. In the 2011-12 legislative session, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin spent over five times as much as Wisconsin Right to Life.
Nor is it because of the dollars spent by the respective PACs. Planned Parenthood spends about ten times more.
Nor is Wisconsin Right to Life more influential because Mrs. Lyons is better paid than Mrs. Huyck. Mrs. Huyck receives four times the salary of Mrs. Lyons.
So what is the answer? It’s the same answer you find in state after state after state and at the federal level as well. Glauber writes
“Wisconsin Right to Life is the primary lobbying and education group opposed to abortion in the state. Its power comes from an ability to marshal thousands of motivated supporters across the state to influence legislation, policy and elections. The group’s endorsement can make or break candidates in Republican primaries.”
Yup. They have the bucks and the larger staffs and, in almost every case, the ear of a sympathetic media. Pro-lifers, like Wisconsin RTL, have people just like the readers of this post, people whose commitment is unwavering, in season and out.
As I said you can read the entire article online so let me close with this final few paragraphs of the story. They are hugely illuminating and explains why just nine months after the re-election of President Obama, the wind is at pro-lifers’ backs:
“She [Lyons][said those who oppose abortion “have momentum right now” that is fueled “by young people who reject abortion.” Lyons added there are like-minded legislators, too, who are knowledgeable on the subject and are committed to the cause.
“Many years ago, you’d almost have to beg to find an author of a piece of a legislation,” she said. “Now, they’re very willing to come forward and they’re just very passionate about the issue and they want to save lives.”
Where will the debate end? Lyons predicted that Roe vs. Wade will fall.
“I think the day Roe vs. Wade collapses is going to come as a surprise, in a way,” she said.
Huyck and other abortion supporters are trying to hold the line in the current climate.
“It was a really hard-fought battle in 1973,” she said, “but we all thought the war was over at that point.”