It appears that, at least for now but perhaps permanently, the fight to restrict legal abortion has finally been lost. Many of us who want to see it banned once again pinned our hopes on a Republican winning the presidency and the Senate but saw them dashed earlier this month, with President Obama decisively winning another term and Democratic representation in the upper chamber increasing.
One thing that was clear to me years ago and I hope others eventually understand: From the start we've pursued a flawed strategy, which will have to change if we're to make any headway. Bottom line, today we need to be focused on a "consistent life" approach rather than just focus on ending legal abortion.
Our original mistake was to allow abortion to be deliberately uncoupled from issues of poverty, racism and other forms of social injustice when some of the organizations we supported adopted abortion as its primary moral crusade. That had the effect of forcing people to choose between supporting candidates who were "pro-life" but failed to address those other issues, leading to massive internal conflict. (It's how the overwhelmingly anti-abortion African-American community ends up voting much of the time for pro-choice political candidates, such as Barack Obama.) That's why we end up being accused of "having a love affair with the fetus," as former Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders said about two decades ago.
We also didn't focus very much, if at all, upon the bad relationships between men and women that cause unwanted pregnancy in the first place -- and I don't necessarily mean between a couple, either. Probably most of the girls who get pregnant in the first place, as well as their mothers, have bad relationships with significant men, often their fathers, and are looking for warmth and nurturing. What causes those? Well, way too many factors to say.
Then you had the two Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate who made inappropriate comments about pregnancy and rape, one wrongly suggesting that a woman's body can shake that off and the other saying that pregnancy from rape "is a gift from God." (On a theological level that may be true, but it's simply not kosher for a politician to say that.) Both ended up being crushed at the polls after leading their respective races.
I think that, if the anti-abortion movement wants to be viable, it ought to leave the conservative movement and the Republican Party altogether. Well, isn't the GOP the "party of life?" Oh, no, it isn't. Remember that the vast majority of registered Republicans, especially those who aren't Christians, couldn't care less. (There's a reason you don't see the issue of abortion addressed in conservative secular media.) Rather, the movement has used the issue to get our votes for the sake of its true agenda: Political dominance by any means necessary. But with the GOP on the ropes politically, it's taking us down with it.
Want to be truly "pro-life"? Then show concern for the environment in which we will have to raise those children. Air and water pollution, economic injustices, lack of social opportunity -- these things also affect the sanctity of human life. If we do so we actually might convince others that abortion is indeed a bad thing.