By Dave Andrusko
Editor’s note. This appeared last week in the February/March issue of National Right to Life News, the second entirely online edition of the “pro-life newspaper of record.” You can read the entire issue—and pass it along to friends—at www.nrlc.org/uploads/NRLNews/NRLNewsFebMar2014.pdf
No pro-lifer doubts the political muscle of Planned Parenthood’s “political entities”– the Planned Parenthood Action Fund and Planned Parenthood Votes. As a key component of the Democratic Party’s “left of center” coalition, they have access to gazillions of dollars and a voice—a large voice—at the table.
But besides the usual self-congratulation and soft-peddle treatment by the mainstream media, what else can we learn from Alexander Burns’ “Planned Parenthood reveals big 2014 game plan,” which ran in a week ago in POLITICO?
For starters, they take credit for—and are given credit by Burns for—the election of pro-abortion Terry McAuliffe over pro-life Ken Cuccinelli in last November’s Virginia gubernatorial election. Really? McAuliffe prevailed for a number of reasons which we wrote about here.
Suffice it to say that Democrat McAuliffe won by 56,000 votes out of more than 2 million votes cast, although Republican Cuccinelli was vastly outspent, hindered by a bevy of polls which consistently placed him far behind (thus discouraging contributions and supporters) and hampered by the presence of a third party candidate, and was the personal punching bag of newspapers such as the Washington Post.
Had Cuccinelli carried the day, a lot of the conventional wisdom that still remains would not have dissipated (that will never be permitted by the legion of PPFA allies in the media) but would have diminished.
Part—a large part—of that received wisdom is the power of the “War on Women” mantra. Let’s be clear: when not challenged by the Republican candidate or when bungled by self-same, it can dramatically hurt him or her.
NRLC Executive Director David N. O’Steen, Ph.D., addressed the cost of allowing pro-abortion Democrats to frame the issue. In November 2012, he wrote
“A determined, one-sided media together with a sequence of most unfortunate statements by candidates created a ‘perfect storm’ that played into and greatly augmented the pro-abortion narrative in this election. This effectively neutralized the usual pro-life advantage.
“The pro-life movement and pro-life candidates cannot ever let this happen again. We must see that the issue before the public is how and why abortion is actually used in this country, and, of course, the baby who dies. If this is done, then with a majority opposed to abortion on demand pro-life political victories will once again be the norm.”
Note, as we posted over the next few months, much of the advantage enjoyed by the pro-life candidate—neutralized in 2012—has returned.
The flipside is that this “War on Women” drivel is a backhanded admission of how chancy it is for pro-abortionists to ever allow the conversation to move to abortion. That is why they pounce on any comment, even those which are entirely innocuous, which they morph into a bogus example of the candidate’s supposed “misogynistic” views.
The final two paragraphs in Burn’s account is the core of the story and no doubt will be used by PPFA’s political arms to raise even more money:
“At least for the time being, Democrats remain confident that they have the upper hand on any issue that can be placed in the broad category of ‘women’s health’ — and that Planned Parenthood’s investment in the 2014 campaign will be a clear net positive for the party.
“Tom Lopach, chief of staff to Montana Sen. Jon Tester and an adviser to the Democrat’s 2012 reelection campaign, said Planned Parenthood had been a ubiquitous presence in that race, ‘knocking on doors in their pink shirts. They were running their own program, but their volunteers were also active, showing up and making calls for us,’ Lopach said. ‘I think people’s minds often go immediately to abortion services, but in reality Planned Parenthood talks about so much more.’”
This tells us the heart of the strategy: subsume everything that isn’t nailed down under “women’s health,” eviscerate any Republican candidate who doesn’t agree with every component, and make sure, above all else, to send the message that Planned Parenthood is about “so much more” than abortion.
The job of those running against candidates supported by the Planned Parenthood Action Fund and Planned Parenthood Votes is to remind them that the issue is not “family planning,” not “women’s health,” but abortion.