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Abortion Foes Re-Energized by Court Fight

By Jerry Markon
When Charmaine Yoest awoke the day after President Obama’s election in November, the new president of Americans United for Life was devastated.

“Frankly, as the leader of a pro-life organization, I woke up the next morning wondering, ‘How do we rally, how do we energize people?’’’ the former Reagan administration official recalled.

Consider her re-energized. The antiabortion movement, facing a popular Democratic President and a hostile political climate, is leading the charge against Obama’s possible Supreme Court nominees -- and making abortion once again a potentially central issue in the confirmation battle to come.

“Everyone understands the odds against us are tremendous, but this is a great moment for our movement," Yoest said. “You go out there and stand on principle and fight the good fight. When you have nothing to lose, you can just have fun."

Opponents of abortion are pointing to the Gallup Poll’s recent finding that 51 percent of Americans call themselves “pro-life” rather than pro-choice on the issue of abortion, the first time a majority has given that answer in the 15 years Gallup has asked the question. And they have been encouraged by the firestorm over Obama’s recent speech at the University of Notre Dame, a speech in which the president -- who supports abortion rights -- called for “common ground” in the emotional debate.

Yoest’s group last week issued a legal “prospectus” blasting the abortion rights records of the front-runners in Obama’s search for a replacement for retiring Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter, including Solicitor General Elena Kagan and federal appeals court judge Diane P. Wood.

And today, the group released a letter to all U.S. Senators citing polling data it says shows that Americans want justices who disavow politics -- and that Americans want to uphold abortion regulations already in place. The polling was conducted by a Republican firm.

Nancy Northup, president of The Center for Reproductive Rights, called the campaign “a relentless anti-choice attack that is consistent with what their strategy has always been: to take no prisoners.’’ She said she expects Obama’s nominee to “defend the principles” of the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.

“They’re just trying to energize their base,’’ Northup said.

By Web Politics Editor  |  May 21, 2009; 6:43 PM ET
Categories:  Supreme Court  
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Comments

There is no middle ground for zealots. They will choose for you based on their own narrow, simplistic view of 'truth'. Beware the self-righteous.

Posted by: thebobbob | May 21, 2009 7:31 PM | Report abuse

You're right Bob...there is no middle ground when it comes the destruction of innocent children. I'm the first to admit that...call me a zealot all you like. It's basic science...and human compassion. Let's offer women real choices, not a choice that will haunt them for the rest of their lives.

Posted by: Selena2 | May 21, 2009 7:53 PM | Report abuse

It may be legal today, but with the old abortion docs retiring, there isn't going to be but a handful in the whole country willing to do the dirty work.
So it may become a mute point.
Doctors do not want to perform abortions.
A grisly, ugly job.
Have to be a sadist to do it.
Next thing Obama will try to force doctors to perform abortions.
Obama is a demon.

Posted by: betsy3 | May 21, 2009 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Another faux culture-war "battle" fomented by the media. The anti-choice people fulminate, and you lap it up. Reality check: there is NO anti-abortion consensus, however outfits like Gallup try to goose the polls to favor opponents. Obama's appointment will not change anything. Roe v. Wade is here to stay, but it is up to defenders of women's rights to get off the defensive and defend the right to choose ABORTION, without restrictions. That battle does remain to be fought.

Posted by: reflecter | May 21, 2009 8:01 PM | Report abuse

Nobody will stop abortions for all - just for the poor. The rich wil always have means to travel and get services where they will.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | May 21, 2009 8:28 PM | Report abuse

betsy - go back to elementary school and learn to spell simple words - I do believe what you meant to express was that it is a moot point

if only your points were mute

Posted by: blmikkel | May 21, 2009 8:34 PM | Report abuse

As a staunch pro-choice advocate, I'm offended by both points of view expressed in the comments so far.

Let's be clear - those who can afford children the least are the most effected by the pro-life champions. While you would do everything in your power to keep women subjugated, you'll do nothing to support the children they cannot afford to raise. You call Obama a demon, not for his pro-choice tendencies but for your own ideological ramblings that cannot find coherence in a world no longer built with a delusion that the current timeframe is circa 1954. If your faith demands you disagree, I can respect that. We disagree and can have an honest debate. Your suggestions that doctors "don't want to do abortions" are absolutely correct. They never have. No one wants to. No one likes them. But doctors are there to prevent suffering. Doctors are there to improve quality of life. Get an MD, then come back here.

For those pro-choice advocates posting so far, have the last election and last 120 days taught you nothing? Address a point if you have one to make and move on. Mute or moot, the intent was clear. If you disagree, say so concisely or don't bother. Anger and hate have no place in open discourse, unless you wish to redeem the qualities of supposed zealots. Fervor and faith in nothing but demagoguery have no ultimate goal, they exist only to excite and demean.

Abortion foes, in my experience, are never de-energized. They are energized by the sight of a crowd and an easily-painted stereotype. To keep women subjugated and ultimately to keep the poor in their place. Squarely beneath the boot of those who can afford not to have abortions. Re-energized? Why, with such faith in their cause, what could ever sap them of their zeal and energy?

It couldn't be doubt, right?

Posted by: Keuric | May 21, 2009 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Agreed, no middle ground when it comes to the right to life for all from conception to natural death. When we yield middle ground we allow bureaucrats to decide who is fit to live. And those seen fit not to live are often those who carry the potential traits of poverty, such as minority children of single mothers. Sound familiar? It is a practice known as eugenics and it is the founding philosophy of Planned Parenthood. As for Doctors having to perform abortions...don't they take an oath to first do no harm. How can a doctor relieve the suffering of one by inflicting suffering on another? Do Doctors take an oath to relieve suffering? Not that I am aware of. If that is the case then they could not administer chemo, as chemo often increases the suffering of a cancer patient. The pro-life movement is continuing to grow because the principle of personhood for all resonates clearly with this young generation raised in the era of ultrasound where their first portrait was an ultrasound.

Posted by: shiela1 | May 22, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

The issue of abortion is, in principle, almost identical to the issue of slavery and it is unfolding throughout history in the same way. First there is a group of people who make the decision to assign degrees of value or worth to human life. "The lives of Black/African people are clearly worth less" the pro-slavery camp said. When the issue of slavery came to a head, abolitionists were seen as religious zealots. There were a number of abolitionist zealots who were not religious, and they deserve much honor for being able to see through the distorted lens that society had given them and identify injustice for what it was. Yet the fact remains that while society hates religious zealots, in the abolition of slavery, history is very clear that they were the primary supporters. Nowadays we have people saying "Well, what if the pregnancy could cause the death of the mother?" That's a good question, and easy to get fooled by if you don't have your "justice bifocals" on. From the time a woman is carrying the life of another person inside of her (and let's be clear, science says that it is a SEPARATE person because it has its' own DNA) there is an unavoidable circumstance should there be difficulties in the pregnancy. The real issue is not "Should we let the mother die
?"... of course we shouldn't, no one wants that. The real issue is from a philosophical standpoint, "Do we assign at this critical juncture a greater inherent value to the life of the mother? The child? Or do we call them equal?" If they are equal, as I believe all human life to be, then no doctor, government official, friend, or family member has any right to step into the situation and control the outcome so that one life takes precedence over the other.

Posted by: brianfeister | May 22, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

I agree with all that there is no middle ground between two equally opposing ideas. What part of abortion - rights or crimes - can be agreed upon by both viewpoints, such that a consensus can be realized?

Let me point out that the Gallup polls are known to be the standard for well-formed and accurate polling.

As mentioned, "Nancy Northup, president of The Center for Reproductive Rights, called the campaign 'a relentless anti-choice attack that is consistent with what their strategy has always been: to take no prisoners.'"

Well, to be fair, let me point out the flip side: pro-Choice advocates lead "a relentless battle for better life with the strategy they've always used: by choosing who gets to die."

The only common ground I see available is that of a referee - and that is the role the government will be taking. The government will see it as their place to say which arguments are valid and which ones aren't. The "common ground" they will take will be not that of allowing the people to struggle, but of making and enforcing new rules for that struggle. THAT position should be fearful for people from both sides of the argument. Frankly, I don't mind that there is an argument on the issue. It makes sense, given the different mindsets and worldviews of the people of America. But the day the government steps into the middle of the argument is the day I will begin my emigration process.

Posted by: dcparker | May 22, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

I would settle for a Justice who is not hampered by far-right religious dogma.

Posted by: lufrank1 | May 22, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

To Keuric:
You are NOT pro-choice, the opposite of Pro-Life is PRO-DEATH. I do not go around telling people I am an anti-abortionist !!! Who are you talking to anyway? "Lets be clear...you would do everything to... keep women subjugated." You must be a man, as if you are protecting the rights of women, try teaching men to listen to the brain in their heads and not the one in their pants! You have no clue what you are talking about, have you ever gone to a clinic and offered women an alternative route to abortion? I think not! Don't point your finger when you are not helping either! When offered help, most women decline because they are hiding the fact that they have to resort to an abortion at all. Why don't they continue the pregnancy and offer the child up for adoption? Isn't that help? Subjugated ??? Put a rubber on, keep your pants on, say no! It is all about instant gratification in this world today. Saying "NO!" that is CHOICE, that is power for women, not the right to kill a child. 95% of abortions are birth control, not deformed, not rape, plain old selfishness and lack of family values, morals! " Doctors are here to improve quality of LIFE..." Just for the mother?, Screw the child? Life has ALWAYS been, the ova and the sperm are not dead, they are ALIVE, together they form a HUMAN BEING, it is not an amoeba that slides out of the primordial soup. I am a woman and I am not trying to SUBJUGATE myself, I am trying to save a life. One that far left liberals would throw in a garbage can like any old piece of trash. Let me try to understand your other "point" here, the poor need to be kept in place because...???? They offer so much, we depend on them for ???? We need to keep them under our boot, because ???? Makes no sense at all and neither do your ramblings.

Posted by: jennibee63 | May 22, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

It's simple. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." Thomas Jefferson from The Declaration of Independence — I'm pro-LIFE!! I support the right to life. Any other legislation contrary to this is taking away our right to life. Any Government who takes away the right to life has gone to far against the rights that we hold to be sacred and true and self evident. "That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it" We need to unite together to alter our government to get the right to Life back.

Posted by: ajmort | May 22, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse

After reading all the above comm. it is quite clear to decide who are TRUE CHRISTIANS and who are SUNDAY CHRISTIANS.
You who support all these rights of killiing are two faced to God and your beliefs. How can you state its your right...you didn't give life! when you turn your back on the word...you hipocrities...you vipers...you adulters,and liers...someday..someday soon you will answere for your actions...and there will be no explaining....GOD Help YA!
See you in church!

Posted by: jimkeeling1 | May 22, 2009 7:12 PM | Report abuse

When you people are on your death bed and cry out to God for "Mercy" the only voice you will hear is the screams from the child you agreed to support to abort in the abor. clinics.....

Posted by: jimkeeling1 | May 22, 2009 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Are we still talking about slavery in this article??? For Gods sake can't you find something better or even current that thoes people are not even alive anymore! Heck less talk about the genacides going on in Africa where there is more slavery and deaths taking place today...I ain't hearing you say anything about that!"ole slavery bit" is just another case of "Poor Us" give it a break! this generation never owned slaves or have you read? We are in the 21st Centry!! Or let's go dig all the dead up and gripe to them

Posted by: jimkeeling1 | May 22, 2009 7:27 PM | Report abuse

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