Anti-choice activists might wonder why, for all the power they once wielded in Washington, they were never able to reach their holy grail, overturning Roe v. Wade. They were close, and frankly, if another test case came before SCOTUS right now, I wouldn't lay bets that it would stand--you never want to rely on Justice Anthony Kennedy as your deciding vote, after all. But it does seem pretty clear that President-elect Obama is going to get to replace a couple of Supreme Court justices in his first term, and will be able to do so with a healthy majority in the Senate. (We'll see if the Republican minority holds to its former position about filibustering judicial nominees--I'm betting they won't.) And given his rhetoric on the matter in the past, not to mention the pressure he'll feel from women's rights groups, he'll expect new justices to stand in favor of choice.
And that's good, because as the title of this post says, choice is the mainstream position.
That can't be emphasized enough. Samantha Bee brilliantly punctured Republicans at their national convention when it came to Bristol Palin's pregnancy. The way that convention-goers twisted and turned to avoid using the word "choice" showed a couple of things: 1, that choice is a natural position to take and 2, that Republican anti-choicers know it. That's the reason that they call themselves "pro-life" instead of the far more accurate "anti-choice."
Choice, it has to be said, involves more than just the choice to have or not have an abortion. A small group of anti-abortion advocates have started to recognize this fact, and have changed their rhetoric a bit, and I'm glad to see it, frankly, because they're moving in a direction that gives women greater freedom.
Frustrated by the failure to overturn Roe v. Wade, a growing number of antiabortion pastors, conservative academics and activists are setting aside efforts to outlaw abortion and instead are focusing on building social programs and developing other assistance for pregnant women to reduce the number of abortions.Pro-choice advocates have long argued that no one wants more abortions, and that the most effective way to reduce them is not to ban them, but to make more options available to women, from easy access to birth control to social programs that make it easier for women to raise kids in tough economic times. Those suggestions are generally rejected by anti-choice groups--the groups mentioned in the above article are being accused of treason to the cause by the more hard-line groups--which is just more proof that they're not so much interested in reducing abortions as they are in punishing women for daring to have sex outside the limited set of circumstances they have delineated.
Some of the activists are actually working with abortion rights advocates to push for legislation in Congress that would provide pregnant women with health care, child care and money for education -- services that could encourage them to continue their pregnancies.
These groups are pragmatic, and that's at the very heart of the pro-choice movement--let's give women honest, reasonable options and let them make the most pragmatic choice for themselves. Choice is the mainstream position, and more people are recognizing that.