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Dl2011 Abortion

Dl2011 Abortion

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09/26/2011

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Defending Life 2011
247
 T
Abortion
oday we nd ourselves at a critical juncture in our efforts to protectwomen and the unborn from the scourge of abortion. More pro-life lawsare in effect than ever before, and there is increasing public recognition of thenegative impact of abortion on women. However, the current political envi-ronment in Washington, D.C. and in some states present new challenges.Among these challenges is the “Freedom of Choice Act” (FOCA). FOCA can be enacted at the federal or in any number of states. It is a radical attempt toenshrine abortion-on-demand into law, sweep aside existing laws supported by the majority of Americans (such as requirements that licensed physicians perform abortions, fully-informed consent, and parental involvement), and prevent the American people and their elected representatives from enactingsimilar protective measures in the future. It is also a cynical attempt by pro-abortion forces to prematurely end the debate over abortion and declarevictory in the face of mounting evidence that the American public does notsupport the vast majority of abortions being performed in the U.S. each year and that abortion has a substantial negative impact on women. Importantly,the aims of FOCA can be realized through either one comprehensive piece of legislation or by a systematic piecemeal approach.Clearly, FOCA’s reach is intentionally broad. It would immediately wipeaway many of the pro-life gains achieved over the past twenty years.These gains have been realized, in large part, through a systematic and stra-tegic effort in the states to select tactical steps that provide real gains todaywhile laying the groundwork for much larger gains in the future. We oftenthink of momentous U.S. Supreme Court rulings such as
 Roe v. Wade
as ar-riving suddenly on the scene. For the general public, these landmark casessometimes come as a surprise, radically changing our law, social policy, andculture. However, for those working for the change, the landmark case oftenrepresents not a sudden break with the past, but the culmination of decades of  persistent legal work to build precedent through small victories.Mississippi provides an excellent example of the effectiveness of an incre-mental, legal strategy to combat the evil of abortion. Over the past two de-
 
248
Americans United for Life
cades, Mississippi has adopted 16 pro-life laws. As a result, abortions in thestate have decreased by nearly 60% and six out of seven abortion clinics haveclosed—leaving only one embattled abortion clinic in the entire state.AUL actively advocates the systematic adoption and implementation of life-afrming laws in the states. We provide state lawmakers, state attorneysgeneral, public policy groups, lobbyists, the media, and others involved inthe cause for life with proven legal strategies and tools that will, step by stepand state by state, lead to a more pro-life America and help set the stage of thestate-by-state battle that will follow Roe’s ultimate reversal.
 
Defending Life 2011
249
What we call abortion today will be looked back on as barbarism and one of the reasonsis that [future generations] will be able to bet-ter control fertility…This notion of surgical abortion is going to be looked back on as bar-baric
.”- William Saletan, Contributor,
Slate
1
fforts to overturn
 Roe v. Wade
began im-mediately after the decision was handeddown. Although the overturning of 
 Roe
willnot happen during the Obama Presidency andmay seem to be a long-term prospect, there are progressive steps the states need to take to beready for that opportunity. Those steps will, inturn, result in the states becoming more pro-life socially, politically, and legally.
2
 State legislators and state policy organizationsneed to have an articulated vision for a cultureof life in their state, a clear understanding of the opportunities and obstacles before them,a comprehensive plan that they are activelyworking toward year by year, and a track rec-ord of success.It is a tall order, especially when considering judicially-imposed abortion-on-demand in ev-ery state and the aggressive push for abortion by the Obama Administration and by the 111thCongress. And it helps explain why compre-hensive protection for human life has so far eluded our grasp.In implementing an effective strategy to over-turn Roe, the states are key to an effective strat-egy to overturn Roe. What the states accom- plish, or don’t, in the next several years—interms of legislative protection for life, medicalregulations to protect women, and reducing thenumber of abortions—will largely determinethe future of Roe: whether, how, and on whattimeframe it will be overturned. The states arethe constitutional forum in American politics best positioned to reect public opinion onabortion and to take positive action to protecthuman life and protect women from the nega-tive impact of abortion. And just as abortionsdropped approximately 19 percent during theClinton years because of life-afrming statelegislation and other factors, new political,legislative, educational, and cultural initiativescan have an impact in undermining Roe andreducing abortion even while a pro-abortionAdministration or Congress is in power inWashington.What follows outlines ve essential elementsto help a state effectively plan for the overturn-ing of 
 Roe
:(1) Strategic assessment;(2) Comprehensive plan;(3) Task force on status of abortion lawwhen
 Roe
is overturned;(4) Legislative building blocks for suc-cess; and(5) Raising public awareness of the nega-
E
 The Road Map To Overturning Roe v. Wade
What can the states do now?
By Clarke D. ForsytheSenior Counsel, Americans United for Life

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