By Dave Andrusko
With the Supreme Court back in session, a pivotal Texas abortion law being addressed today by an appeals court panel, and the start of the legislative session in many states already underway or near at hand, it came as zero surprise that on Monday the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute would issue its latest “the world is falling apart (and we really meant it this time)” status report on abortion.
That such fear-mongering has the additional benefit of shaking the money tree for the Abortion Establishment should not go unnoticed.
So what is different now than, say, 2011? After all, pro-lifers have been on a roll, passing legislation in multiple states. Pro-abortionists gleefully challenge every one of them—every one, that is, except the Pain-Capable Unborn Children Protection Action!—and states fight it out with (usually) the Center for Reproductive Rights in the state and federal courts.
The size, the magnitude of the gains. Courtesy of Guttmacher’s “Media Center,” we learn that “In Just the Last Four Years, States Have Enacted 231 Abortion Restrictions.” National Right to Life’s Department of State Legislation, which is the fount of research and strategy for many of the most effective legislative initiatives, always has a different number than Guttmacher. But the thrust—if not the quasi-hysterical overtone—is correct: we’ve proposed commonsense state legislation, passed many of them, and will propose more in 2015.
There are a lot on intriguing numbers at guttmacherinstitute.org but it was the two broad conclusions that provoked the most interest. (Although, to be fair, the media did not act as crazy in promoting the Doomsday analysis as it often has in the past. Maybe the synthetic gloom-and-doom was beginning to wear a bit thin.)
First, “The number of states considered hostile to abortion skyrocketed between 2000 and 2014.” To state the obvious, it is Guttmacher that gets to define what “hostile” is. But, that aside, we’re told
In 2000, 13 states had four or five types of abortion restrictions in effect and so were considered hostile to abortion rights. In that year, no state had more than five types of abortion restrictions in effect. By 2010, 22 states were considered hostile to abortion rights; five of these had six or more restrictions, enough to be considered extremely hostile to abortion rights. By 2014, 27 states had enough restrictions to be considered hostile; 18 of these can now be considered extremely hostile.
To which Guttmacher adds,
The entire South is now considered hostile to abortion rights, and much of the South, along with much of the Midwest, is extremely hostile to abortion rights.
The other boldfaced, color-coordinated conclusion is
More than half of U.S. women of reproductive age live in states that are hostile or extremely hostile to abortion rights.
Guttmacher amplifies—“The proportion of women living in hostile states has surged as well. In 2000, 31% of women of reproductive age lived in a state hostile to abortion rights, with no women living in a state with enough restrictions to be considered extremely hostile. By 2014, 57% of women lived in a state that is either hostile or extremely hostile to abortion rights.”
Three quick thoughts.
First, Elizabeth Nash is senior state issues associate at Guttmacher. She said, “The fact that we usually see a higher number of abortion restrictions in the year after an election, that the November 2014 elections shifted some state legislatures further to the right, and the renewed energy around abortion in Congress indicates that abortion will be hotly debated in state legislatures this year.” Well, good.
Second, when news accounts simply parrot what Guttmacher says represents hostility to abortion rights without explaining what those laws actually are, it leaves the impression that all people of good will would agree with this characterization. But the exact opposite is the case.
Pro-abortionists loathe the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act but are afraid of challenging a law supported by a large majority of the American people. Parental involvement laws? Always supported by a majority. The public doesn’t want tax money used to fund abortions—but to Guttmacher, all of these are examples of hostility to abortion rights.
What about abortions performed for purposes of sex selection? Or requiring that a woman has a day (or three) between the time she sees the abortionist and the time the abortion is performed? The list could go on (and on) but that would be to mess up the story line that states are hostile (or “extremely hostile”) to abortion rights.
Third, in light of the above, there is a much more accurate way of stating the situation. Guttmacher, its former patron (now compatriot) Planned Parenthood, and the like are hostile (or “extremely hostile”) to the sentiments of a majority of the Americans people who have expressed their support for most pro-life legislation. In other words, Guttmacher in its legion of media supporters have it exactly backwards.
Keep tuned to NRL News Today in the weeks and months to come. There will be much going on the state legislatures. If you are not receiving NRL News Today in your email inbox, sign up at www.nrlc.org/mailinglist.