Conservatives Hopeful, But Prepare for Hard Work on Abortion
Arlington, Va. (CNSNews.com) - A Republican President and Congress do not automatically mean pro-lifers have won the battle to outlaw abortion, said speakers at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
"It's too early to celebrate," said Andrea Sheldon Lafferty of the Traditional Values Coalition. "After eight years of Clinton-Gore," there's much to be undone, said Lafferty. She foresees liberal groups waging a well-funded battle in targeted states, like Florida, in the next election to elect like-minded candidates.
Another speaker cautioned against repeating the mistakes of the past. During the Reagan Administration, pro-lifers made the mistake of dividing their own efforts between getting a constitutional amendment outlawing abortion and accomplishing the goal legislatively, said Michael Schwartz of Concerned Women for America.
Now, with a pro-life President and a Congress "willing to entertain this issue...we're in a state now...where reducing abortions is attainable," said Schwartz. The issue of partial birth abortion allowed pro-lifers to "pierce the indifference" of Americans who generally supported abortion rights, he said. It allowed pro-lifers "to begin to put some limits on this unrestricted right to kill."
Lafferty called on the Bush Administration, Congress and pro-life activists to get to work on revoking Food and Drug Administration approval of abortion drug RU-486; thwarting the availability of the so-called "morning after pill" that prevents the development of a fertilized egg; and de-funding at least some funding for "Title 10" family planning programs, the majority of which currently goes to Planned Parenthood.
Lafferty also criticized the practice of "partial birth abortion" and the selling for profit of the resulting body parts.
Dr. Susan Orr of the Family Research Council added to Lafferty's wish list by calling for a number of investigations by federal agencies. The Centers for Disease Control should get accurate statistics on deaths of women from abortion, said Orr. And federal officials should inspect abortion clinics with standards at least as strict as are currently applied to meat packing plants, she said. Also, the Department of Health and Human Services should study how "family planning" has hurt marriage, she said.
Leslee Unruh, founder of the National Abstinence Clearinghouse, asked for federal tax dollars to fund "abstinence until marriage education.
"We cannot change the abortion [and] pregnancy numbers" without such funding, she said. According to Unruh, President Bush personally promised her that he would work towards making those funds available.
Orr called on the Bush Administration to borrow a page from the Clinton strategy of holding high-level meetings on how to accomplish, in this case, the pro-life agenda.
Unruh also offered up a free market approach to ending abortion. "Buy abortion clinics" as her group has done, she urged. "If you can't beat 'em, buy 'em," she said.
Unruh also urged pro-lifers to care about the well-being, not just of babies, but of women.