By Dave Andrusko
When many vectors are all pointing in the same direction, every so often our benighted opposition—or, better put, its media enablers—will eventually confront the Abortion Industry’s built-in weaknesses and shortsighted behavior.
I write that as an introduction to a fascinating piece that just ran in the New York Times under the headline “How a divided Left is Losing the Battle on Abortion.”
Of course it’s not entirely accurate, but Elizabeth Dias and Lisa Lerer have done yeoman work in pointing out not just the weaknesses of the Abortion Lobby, personified by but not exclusive to, Planned Parenthood. They broadly hint the ongoing internecine war shows no signs of abating.
They begin by talking about the pro-life resistance which picked up speed with the accession of President Barack Obama. They are too PC to point out what many observers (including us) have talked about hundreds of times: Obama’s presidency cost Democrats countless state legislative seats and governorship in addition to the damage to Democrats in Congress. That enabled pro-life legislators in the state to offer thousands of pro-life proposals and fend off pro-abortion legislation in Congress.
Add to this that Donald Trump “unexpectedly, and serendipitously” won the White House, they write, and suddenly a pro-life President Trump made two appointments to the Supreme Court rather than the militantly pro-abortion Hillary Clinton.
This is to set up Dias’s and Lerer’s thesis. “Nationwide access to abortion is more vulnerable than it has been in decades” not just because of “the right’s well-executed game plan” but because of “the left’s role in its own loss of power.”
You really should read the article [rules could reshape the constitutional principles governing abortion rights] so I will just offer some representative quotes and a few summary points.
First, here’s how they position their argument:
[I]nterviews with more than 50 reproductive rights leaders, clinic directors, political strategists and activists over the past three months reveal a fragmented movement facing longstanding divisions — cultural, financial and political. Many said that abortion rights advocates and leading reproductive rights groups had made several crucial miscalculations that have put them on the defensive.
*First, according to “critics” (fellow pro-abortionists), “National leaders became overly reliant on the protections granted by a Democratic presidency under Mr. Obama and a relatively balanced Supreme Court, critics say, leading to overconfidence that their goals were not seriously threatened.”
*Second, “Discord at Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest and most influential abortion provider, exacerbated the problem. In July the group’s new president, Dr. Leana Wen, was forced out in a messy departure highlighting deep internal division over her management style and how much emphasis to place on the political fight for abortion rights.”
The former—Wen’s “management style”—is, in all likelihood, pure nonsense. The latter—that Wen sought for PPFA to actually do more for women than abort them and play politics—is spot on. That internal fissure is not new. It has been papered over for decades.
*Third, “Planned Parenthood’s acting head, Alexis McGill Johnson, said that Mr. Trump’s election, new abortion restrictions and Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court provided a wake-up call to many national leaders, including herself, that forced them to confront the entrenched challenges of class dividing their movement.” But the remainder of the story shows that newer players on the abortion side (and some long-time local clinic leaders) don’t believe for a moment that PPFA leadership “gets it,” a conclusion fortified by Johnson’s defensive remarks.
*Fourth, Dias and Lerer write, “On the campaign trail, national Democrats have responded by making unqualified support for abortion a litmus test to shore up a progressive base, boxing in moderate candidates in red states and leaving little room for the complex views on the issue that most Americans hold.” This truism—that Democrats running at all levels, including for President, have adopted a position on abortion that is light years from where the public has been and is—undergirds many of the other problems Diaz and Lerer highlight. There are many more considerations but…
Fifth, and finally, under a subhead titled “Harsh challenges in the states,” they write
The cultural and financial disconnect between regional clinics and national leaders in the abortion rights movement has been brewing for years. Tammi Kromenaker, who runs the only remaining abortion clinic in North Dakota, said she saw the national crisis coming in 2013, when North Dakota became the first state to enact a ban on abortion after six weeks of pregnancy.
At an annual working group meeting with abortion rights leaders — “folks from the coasts,” she recalled — the conversation centered not on the challenges to abortion rights in her state but on whether artwork conveying female power in a New York clinic’s waiting area was too provocative and would alienate its changing patient base.
A short time later at a different annual meeting, an activist from California suggested North Dakota advocates should have had a better messaging strategy to prevent the ban. “You don’t think we have the right message?” Ms. Kromenaker remembered in exasperation. “We have given every message.”
“They are never threatened, so they never have to think the way we do,” she said, referring to national leaders.
Consider this. If you read what Planned Parenthood puts and tweets, you can’t miss that they are on the far, far, far left of the cultural wars. That probably plays well in a handful of very large states, but not so in the states that made Donald Trump president and even in states that didn’t necessary vote for him. PPFA is radically out of step with the American people and is bent on insisting that every single Democrat becomes just as alienated from the public as they are.
The Abortion Establishments is facing the problems all establishments eventually encounter: confusing what they want with what their constituency desires and lending a deaf ear to the complaints of those who do the day-to-day work.
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