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