Wednesday, November 19, 2008

New Focus on Women’s Health Fractures the Anti-Abortion Campaign

With the election of a pro-choice candidate to the White House and failure of anti-choice ballot initiatives in California, Colorado, and South Dakota, some “pro-life” groups have decided to rethink their single-minded strategy. A growing number of frustrated pastors, politicians and activists have shifted their focus from strictly banning abortion to include efforts to reduce the numbers of abortions by increasing social services for pregnant women. In a stroke of unusual logic, the expanding coalition of anti-choicers has decided to support policies that may actually reduce the need for abortion.

This new coalition hopes to find middle ground with pro-choice groups by sponsoring bi-partisan legislation that would increase funding for social programs for pregnant women, such as affordable health care, day care and maternity group homes.

Ironically, but not surprisingly, this move towards supporting pregnant women has been highly criticized by some anti-choice groups, causing fractures on the “pro-life” front. Opponents of the coalition view this compromise as a betrayal of the cause Extreme anti- choice activists are calling individuals who support the new approach traitors and sending them hate mail, reports The Washington Post. The negative response to the new strategy to reduce abortions has not deterred the proponents and they maintain that the “time has come for more cooperation on difficult social and moral issues such as abortion.” While this new spirit of compromise is welcome and much needed, one can’t help but feel that a true compromise between pro-choicers and anti-abortionist would include the most successful tactics to lower abortion numbers such as birth control and comprehensive sex ed.

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