The Spectacle Blog

Barnes on Pro-Life Strategy

By on 11.3.11 | 11:42AM

Fred Barnes thinks that the pro-life movement has made significant gains over the past few years. In a Weekly Standard essay that makes a nice coda to the discussion we had at the Spectator last week, Barnes also previews what's next: 

The ultimate goal of pro-lifers remains what it's always been: overturning Roe v. Wade. They're reconciled to jumping through as many hoops as necessary to get there. Americans United for Life specializes in creating model antiabortion laws for states. It also has a strategic plan for "reversing Roe" or "rendering it obsolete." It starts with "saving babies now" and preparing states for the "day after Roe."

AUL isn't kidding about vitiating Roe without overturning it. The key is to burden the abortion industry with intrusive regulations. This amounts to using liberal means to produce a conservative result. "When you regulate something, you get less of it," a pro-life leader reminds me. So precise conditions at abortion clinics would be imposed, as Virginia did this year. New requirements for safety, bookkeeping, record-keeping, and reporting would be applied. That's not all. More laws limiting abortions would be needed, as would cultural efforts to shrink the demand for abortions.

The informal division of labor among pro-life groups leaves SBA with the conventional mission of electing candidates who are pro-life to Congress and defeating those who aren't. The group had a sterling record in 2010, unseating 15 of the 20 Democrats who claimed to oppose abortion but voted for Obamacare. Dannenfelser intends to raise the bar on what's expected from candidates SBA supports: no more toleration of candidates who are "rhetorically pro-life but not operationally pro-life."

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