There was a time when the left wasn’t so extreme on abortion. At least, that’s what I’m told. In fact, it was President Bill Clinton who claimed he felt, despite his alleged personal dislike of abortion, he wanted abortions to be “safe, legal and rare.” It was a moderate position that could effectively unite the various factions in the debate in a country that generally supports the legality of abortion, but is divided on the morality of abortion.
The legality of abortion was established by Roe v. Wade“— “safe” and “rare” are the two areas the pro-abortion movement should be more than willing to unite with the pro-life movement on to achieve something resembling compromise. But, even there, there’s an impasse. The pro-life movement argues that no abortion can be safe because every abortion ends in the death of a child. The pro-abortion movement doesn’t see it that way. By “safe” they mean “safe for the mother.” However, any attempt to improve the “safety” for the mother is met with extreme resistance.
Case in point: The U.S. Supreme Court has just refused to take up Planned Parenthood’s challenge to an Arkansas law requiring doctors who provide abortion pills to be under contract with a physician who has admitting privileges at a hospital, and can treat any potential complications from the abortion. In a country where abortion is legal, this is a perfectly reasonable compromise that neither conflicts with Roe v. Wade or with the idea that abortion is “women’s healthcare” and even “safe” by what we thought were pro-abortion standards.
So why do they oppose such efforts? Because efforts to make abortion “safe” are seen as backhanded ways to make abortions rarer. In fact, the pro-abortion movement has stood in the way of all attempts to make abortion rare. Why? Because abortion is big business. That’s why the pro-abortion left is rabidly opposed to 3-D ultrasounds, abortion counseling laws, parental consent laws, free speech around abortion clinics, and partial-birth abortion bans. Any attempt to restrict their cash flow must be opposed. Virtually any measure short of establishing drive-through abortion clinics attached to every McDonald’s isn’t enough for them. And, even though they say the government should not be involved in abortion, they won’t be happy until abortion is fully subsidized.
While they frame abortion as a healthcare choice, any effort to make women choose life is treated as an attack on women’s rights. This is why no one can honestly call them “pro-choice.” Worse yet, pro-life women are treated as traitors to their sex. The right to abort your child is seen by the pro-abortion left as the most important freedom for women. It is a sacred cow of the left, and as the abortion lobby increases power and influence, leaders on the left are evolving (or more accurately “devolving”) to increasingly extreme positions.
In 2008, Hillary Clinton said she believed in her husband’s motto that abortion should be safe, legal and rare. “And by rare, I mean rare,” she emphasized. Eight years later, “rare” was no longer part of the formula. “I’ve been on record for many years about where I stand on abortion, how it should be safe and legal and I have the same position that I’ve had for a very long time.”
Why is making abortions rare no longer a value of the pro-abortion left? Look at where Planned Parenthood donates and how much and you’ve got your answer. Fewer abortions mean fewer dollars for Planned Parenthood to donate to pro-abortion Democrats to ensure they will vote to make abortion less safe and less rare so Planned Parenthood can make even more dollars. It’s that simple. While Democrats claim to be fighting for women’s rights, their abortion views are undeniably far more extreme than the public’s. Polls show that, unlike most elected Democrats, most people (even just women) back reasonable restrictions on abortion:
Nationwide, 77 percent of women support limiting abortion to – at most – the first trimester. That is slightly higher than the percentage of all Americans – 74 percent. Laws restricting abortion should be embraced, not resisted.
There’s another thing too. Though abortion advocates use the term “pro-choice” as shorthand for pro-abortion, the polling shows that many – often most – people who identify as pro-choice actually support substantial restrictions on abortion.
The pro-life and pro-abortion movements may never agree that abortion should be “safe” and legal, but most people seem to agree that it should be rare. The pro-abortion movement can’t call themselves pro-choice when any attempts to get expectant mothers to choose life are met with such hostility and resistance. By resisting any sort of compromise on abortion the extreme pro-abortion crowd will only drive more people into the pro-life movement. They may be doing so already.