By Dave Andrusko
It’s always an interesting exercise to anticipate what kind of coverage NRLC’s annual convention, this year held in Pittsburgh June 23-24, commands. This is, after all, the first year post-Dobbs, although it’s important to remember that news of the decision to overturn Roe came in the middle of a general session last year.
The headline for Sarah Boden’s story for the local NPR station is “A year after victory in Dobbs decision, anti-abortion activists still in fight mode.”
As it happens I encountered her numerous times, sitting in the front rows with her recording device. So, “A” for effort. (I also saw her perusing the hall that was filled with pro-life exhibitors.)
Execution was, in my opinion, more uneven. Judging by the photos she took that accompanied her story, she did interviews with groups that were first-timers, the kind that would naturally pique a reporter’s curiosity. From our perspective that simply proves that the pro-life tent is large and growing larger.
Boden begins by informing her readers of the reaction last year’s convention to the news that finally, after nearly 50 years, Roe was overturned:
The room erupted with “a lot of tears of joy, cries of excitement,” recalled Carol Tobias, president of the National Right to Life Committee. “And then it was kind of impressive. Everybody sat back down, kept on going with the general sessions and the workshops because we knew we had work to do.”
The important point—the most important point—came in the next two paragraphs:
That buckle-down and keep-at-it approach also pervaded this summer’s convention, held in Pittsburgh at an airport hotel. There were few overt victory laps. Attendees acknowledged the gains they had made in the year since the Dobbs ruling. But they were more focused on states where abortion remains legal or the societal forces that they believe contribute to women ending pregnancies that they might otherwise keep.
“We know we have a lot of challenges ahead, but our hands are untied,” Tobias told conference attendees. “This is a great day.”
There were some very interesting (I’m trying to be gentle here) faux pas. For example, Boden writes
Abortion care has changed in the half-century since Roe first conferred a federal right to abortion up until the point of viability. Now, slightly more than half of abortions are achieved through oral medications that induce a miscarriage — usually through a two-pill regimen, which people can receive through the mail, or travel to neighboring states to pick up before returning home to terminate a pregnancy.
Abortions induced chemically are chemical abortions, not miscarriages. They simply aren’t.
One other of many evaluations that could be made. Catherine Jacobs is a retired art teacher who heads Teachers Saving Children. So far, so good. Then Boden writes
Jacobs appeared heartbroken that, in her view, babies are still being killed in the U.S., despite Roe‘s toppling.
But then Boden writes “Through her art, she tries to show the individuality of each fetus.”