‘Remember Roe!’, an article by Sarah Kliff in Newsweek (21st April 2010), paints a dramatic picture of a greying abortion rights leadership in the US racked by a growing anxiety about who will take over the torch from them when they retire.
One of the strongest abortion rights groups in the US is the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws (NARAL), founded in 1969.
Its current president, Nancy Keenan, described in the article her response to the huge crowds flocking to the March for Life in Washington DC this January - ‘my gosh, they are so young - there are so many of them and they are so young.’
There were 400,000 at the March for Life. Two months earlier, the pro-abortionists held a rally against Congressman Bart Stupak’s proposed abortion opt outs in the Health Care Bill and only 1,300 turned up. Over 300-times as many activists came to the March for Life as bothered to turn up to oppose restrictions on abortion in Obama’s health-care package.
In her Newsweek piece, Sarah Kliff says that the difficulties encountered by pro-choice activists during the recent US health care debate marks ‘the day when they became aware of their waning influence in Washington.’
The Newsweek article said that research carried out by the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws found that 51% of under 30s opposed to abortion see it as a ‘very important voting issue’. Only 26% of young people who support abortion see it as a very important voting issue. Their research found a similar though lesser difference among older voters.
This means that it is a live political issue for the pro-life voters especially the young, whereas it is not a hot issue for those who are pro-abortion. So the pro-life activists are pushing an open political door that the pro-abortion activists are not holding shut.
In a separate article in the current Time magazine (3rd May 2010) Terry O’Neill, President of the pro-abortion National Organization for Women, concedes in passing that those on the pro-life side ‘are winning the abortion fight.’
Her intuition was reflected in a number of polls in the last year suggesting that a tipping point may have been reached in American public opinion with the pro-abortion view on the brink of slipping into a minority position as the trend edges in a pro-life direction.
Polls by Gallup and Pew have found rises in the numbers taking a pro-life position and falls in the numbers taking a pro-abortion position. Gallup’s poll exactly a year ago, found ‘51% of Americans calling themselves “pro-life” on the issue of abortion and 42% “pro-choice”.’
Gallup says “this is the first time a majority of US adults have identified themselves as pro-life since Gallup began asking this question in 1995.”
At a time when pro-choice campaigners should be exulting in their current successes – the election of the most pro-abortion politician in America as President, control of Congress by the Democrats, pro-abortion since 1980 - they are instead keenly aware that things are not going their way. Without becoming complacent, pro-life supporters should take heart from these encouraging and uplifting developments.