Women Are Having Fewer Abortions: Here's Why

In any event, as I've noted before, 1980 is about the time that evangelicals claimed abortion as one of their issues and the pro-life social movement came into bloom. A social movement that has had the success of the pro-lifers cannot be dismissed so easily. Many pundits fail to see the bigger picture. While the pro-life movement has not been successful in its (initial) ultimate goal of overturning Roe, it has been successful at making abortions more difficult to obtain especially for lower-income, rural females in part because there are less clinics (though these are probably the women who need the service the most). One reporter who studied the issue deeply wrote a book contending rather convincingly that the pro-life movement had "won." Others disagree, but the impact of the pro-life social movement cannot be discounted.

Indeed, pro-lifers made the conscious decision to give up on toppling Roe and instead concentrating on more incremental changes both at the state level and reforming the federal judiciary from within to gain more favorable decisions. In this, they have been successful. To give a few examples: in 1992, the Supreme Court, while declining to overturn Roe, lowered the constitutional standard for abortion regulations. In 2007, the Court ruled that partial birth abortions are not afforded protection under the Constitution. Many states have tried to build on these successes in the states with "fetal pain" laws, requiring ultrasounds pre-procedure and the like. Some of these laws have been struck down by the lower federal courts, but eventually at least one will get before the Supreme Court (maybe Texas's abortion law).

All of this is to say this: like any politically-charged group, the pro-life movement will spin the facts in a way that is palatable to their political priors. But it would be foolish to dismiss the movement out of hand. The pro-life social movement has been, all things considered, a successful social movement over the past three-plus decades. The rather moribund, comparatively, pro-choice movement might think about stealing their playbook if they want to reverse the success (depending on how you view a woman's right to terminate a pregnancy vis-a-vis government regulation) of the pro-lifers.

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The issue has been exploited for fundraising for years.  That's the real problem here.

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