Skip to comments.The Pro-Life Movement at Thirty: A Political Assessment
Posted on 02/04/2003 2:04:47 PM PST by Remedy
Introduction by Ken Connor
Ken Connor: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. If you would have a seat, were ready to begin. Ladies and gentlemen, good morning and welcome this morning to the National Press Center. My name is Ken Connor, and I serve as President of the Family Research Council, and were honored and privileged to have you here today, although we lament the occasion, which brings us here today. We are, of course, here today to mark the 30th anniversary of the infamous decision of Rowe versus Wade. Thats the case in which 30 years ago, the Supreme Court of the United States hijacked the Constitution and invented a new constitutional, theretofore never heard of, a fundamental right, no less, to abortion.
In the aftermath of the courts decision, Rowe v. Wade, 42 million I repeat 42 million unborn children have perished at the hands of abortionists in this country. Everyday in America white-coated mercenaries, hired by the abortion industry carry out surgical strikes against defenseless human targets. Stripped of all its gloss and all of the fancy-sounding rhetoric that often surrounds this issue, at bottom, abortion kills children and hurts women.
We must never forget that the right to choose that the feminist and abortion industry advocates is at best the right to choose to kill an innocent child. And for those who maintain that a woman is not free unless she is free to destroy her innocent unborn child, we maintain that that is a perverse view of freedom which ought to be utterly rejected by a civilized society.
Americans should not have to choose between a woman and her child. We maintain that our hearts are big enough to love them both. We, at the Family Research Council, promote life-affirming choices for women who are faced with crisis pregnancies. And our goal, along with our president George Bush, is to help rebuild a culture of life in which every child is welcomed in life and protected by law.
Were here today to discuss just how far weve come in rebuilding a culture of life in the last 30 years and where were headed from here. Were going to hear from this distinguished panel about where we are on the political map. And were going to get their forecast about whats to come in the 108th Congress. Before we begin that discussion, the Family Research Council would like to make an announcement regarding our efforts to engage the culture on pro-life issues.
Bill Saunders, who is Family Research Councils Human Rights Counsel, Senior Fellow on Human Life Studies, former law professor and graduate of the Harvard Law School, no less, is going to discuss the details of FRCs new center for Human Life and Bioethics, as well as spotlight for you the centers first publication which we are very proud of, Bill. And we give you and Brian Roberts our great thanks and appreciation for the work rebuilding a culture of life 30 years Roe v. Wade. Bill. Announcement: The Center for Human Life and Bioethics
Announcement: The Center for Human Life and Bioethics
Bill Saunders: Good morning. The mission of the center, as Ken mentioned, our new center for Human Life and Bioethics is very simple. Its to influence the public debate and to shape public policy so that the inherent dignity of each human person is respected in society. Were going to go about accomplishing that task in a variety of ways. We will do original research and writing. We will sponsor lectures and symposia and conferences on these various topics. And we will develop public policy initiatives as well as cultural initiatives to advance a culture of life in the United States.
I have wonderful staff members of the center. Pea de Solenni is an award-winning scholar. Dan Sullivan is a magna cum laude graduate of Williams College. John Henry Crosby is a Masters graduate from the Franciscan University at Steubenville. But our efforts will be greatly assisted by our circle of advisors, which we are establishing, who will confer with us, help to develop our thinking. We will also publish and circulate their ideas on building a culture of life.
And Id like to tell you who some of them are. Im absolutely thrilled that theyve agreed to work with us. This circle is still in formation and these are the first members of it. John Finnis, whos Professor of Law and Legal Philosophy at Oxford University in England and I just paused for a moment to say youll hear some of these scholars and others on the council are from outside the United States. Our aim is to have an international team who can bring an international perspective to these issues.
Also Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University; John Haldane, Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Centre for Ethics at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland; Dr. David Stevens, whos Executive Director of the Christian Medical Association; Josef Seifert, whos Chair for Metaphysics, Epistemology and Philosophical Anthropology at the International Academy o Philosophy in Liechtenstein. Our own Hadley P. Arkes, Ney Professor of American Institutions at Amherst College. Gerard V. Bradley, Professor of Constitutional Law at the University of Notre Dame. John Keown, who is the new as of this semester the new Rose F. Kennedy Professor of Christian Ethics at Georgetown University and is a world expert on the euthanasia-assisted suicide movements. Elizabeth Fox Genovese, who is the Raoul Professor of the Humanities at Emory University, one of the most distinguished scholars in the country. Father Francis Martin, who is a visiting scholar at the Intercultural Forum for the Studies in Faith and Culture at the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center here in Washington, D.C.
Those are the first members of the circle, and as I say, we will be adding to it. But Im thrilled to work with people of this intellectual stature and commitment to the pro-life cause and to building a culture of life. Our first publication, as Ken mentioned, and I hope you all have picked up, if not, I hope you will, is this booklet, Building a Culture of Life 30 Years after Roe v. Wade. Its a challenge.
We are 30 years after Roe v. Wade and certainly the battle is not won, but the battle is not lost either. And in this booklet we have reflections by a number of people who are from our circle of advisors such as Robert George and Gerard Bradley, reflecting on various aspects of building a culture of life. For instance, Prof. George talks about the ethics of embryonic stem-cell research and human cloning, a topic that is still much in the news. And Prof. Bradley looks at the kind of legal landscape 30 years after Roe and his companion Doe V. Bolton.
Also in this volume, probably the heart of the volume is a statement called "Building a Culture of Life: A Call to Respect Human Dignity in American Life." And this statement was developed by Family Research Council and many of the staff here at Family Research Council over a period of about a year. Its been endorsed by leaders from across all the religious denominations, philosophical points of view, people of goodwill. Its not a political document signed by politicians; its a call to respect human life that looks at cultural as well as public policy initiatives.
In order to build a culture of life we cant be restricted simply to the political, though we must never not give our efforts in the political. We should give an emphasis to the political, but we also have to work a cultural transformation and, of course, the two things work together. Law is a teacher, so we need just laws of course. This statement has been endorsed by a number of prominent Americans like I said, including Dr. James Dobson, "Focus on the Family" and Archbishop John Myers of Newark, New Jersey. And they have written pieces for us in this as well. I think the pro-life movement has benefited greatly from cooperation among Catholics and Evangelicals, and were pleased to have those two leaders in the volume.
The first event of the center is todays panel and, again, Im very happy to have a member of our circle, Hadley Arkes, on it. He is also an endorser of our statement. I would just conclude by saying that 30 years after Roe you might be tempted to despair, but we shouldnt. Thirty years after Roe is a time to rededicate ourselves to the greatest mission of all, which is respect for innocent human life. Thanks. Introduction of the Panel Ken Connor
Introduction of the Panel Ken Connor
Ken Connor: Thank you, Bill, and we are very grateful for your leadership of this new center. We couldnt be more proud that Bill Saunders speaks for the Family Research Council in the public arena on matters relating to the sanctity of life and to bioethics. And we couldnt have, in our judgment, a more thoughtful reasoned voice. As I listen to Bill recount the list of advisors to this new center, I was trying to reconcile that with the caricature that people like Kate Michelman and Patricia Ireland try to create about pro-lifers as some kinds of mindless, knee-jerk reactionaries. These are thoughtful people who really are without peer in their respective spheres.
And we brought today a very, very distinguished panel that further corroborates the thought, the intellectual heft, the rigorous reasoning and cultural and political engagement that is going into the pro-life movement. And we couldnt be more pleased to have the opportunity to bring these people before you today to discuss the state of the pro-life movement, where weve been and where were going, and to give you an opportunity as well to interact with them and to posit your questions to them.
Hadley Arkes, on my immediate left, is the Edward Ney Professor of Jurisprudence of American Institutions at Amherst College and is currently serving as a James Madison Fellow at the James Madison program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University. He has a PhD from the University of Chicago in Political Science and is the author of six books. And most recently, and perhaps most famously among his admirers at the Family Research Council, he is the author of the Born Alive Infants Protection Act, which was signed into law last year in which President Bush referenced in his statement yesterday, proclaiming a sanctity of life Sunday. We are pleased to have Hadley on our panel this morning and we welcome you.
Next is Jennifer Bingham who is Executive Director of the Susan B. Anthony List, an organization which is dedicated to training pro-life activists and candidates advocating for the passage of pro-life legislation in the Congress and, perhaps more importantly, increasing the percentage of pro-life women in Congress. Thanks to Jennifers leadership, the Susan B. Anthony List had stunning success, I repeat, stunning success in the historic mid-term elections that we just had and really left Emilys list badly in the dust, wondering what happened in the aftermath of that. We are proud to count her as an ally in this fight. We are very grateful for the considerable skills that she has not only in political fund raising but in political organizing as well. And were confident that Jennifer will continue to make an important contribution to the pro-life movement going forward into the future.
Kellyanne Conway, our next presenter, is President and CEO of the polling company in Washington, D.C. It was founded in 1995, the polling company specializes in both qualitative and quantitative research and analyses and provides strategic counsel for a diverse portfolio of clients in politics, corporate, public affairs, not-for-profit and media sectors. Just a year ago, the polling company acquired Women Trend, a research and consulting firm that for years has tracked and interpreted the social, cultural, political, financial, professional and health trends influencing and being influenced by women. Shes a native of South Jersey, a magna cum laude graduate of Trinity College in Washington, D.C. She studied political science there. She studied also at Oxford University and was elected Beta Kappa and has a law degree with honors from George Washington University Law Center. We welcome you and are proud to have you as well, Kellyanne.
And next a fellow whos familiar to many of you, Terry Jeffrey, who is the editor of Human Events, which is the national conservative weekly and the countrys oldest conservative and I might add, most respected conservative journal. Terry has really began to cut his teeth in the journalism arena as an editorial writer for the Washington Times, institution nominated him, I might add, for a Pulitzer prize in editorial writing. He has served in 91 as research director for Pat Buchanans presidential campaign and in 95 as campaign manager for Mr. Buchanans presidential campaign. He has a Bachelors degree from Princeton University, and he and his wife Julie have five children.
We are thrilled and delighted and honored to have each of these members presenting today. Ill ask them to simply, if they would, present a few remarks at the outside in the sequence in which they appear. And then having done that, Ill present a couple of questions to them to prime the pump and well welcome your questions as well. Thank you very much.
Hadley, would you lead us off? Panelists Remarks
Hadley Arkes: Thanks, Ken. As far as your remarks, I aspire to become a mindless, knee-jerk reactionary. I was hoping to rise above my academic preparation. Ive prepared something of Castro-weight length for this meeting and then were told that we have three minutes. I may have to use an old device of mine and compress this talk Hebraically by omitting the vowels. Or I could reduce it to that slogan familiar from childhood days, "Sighted sub sank same." Let me give you the overall pitch.
In the early days after Roe v. Wade, and we all remember where we were when heard the news more on that later. We never expected this would last as long as it has. We really expected with the sentiment in Congress and the reaction at the time, that this thing would be overturned with a constitutional amendment. That prospect has receded. This right, now supposedly anchored in the Constitution, seems almost impossible to dislodge. And yet, as we approach the 30th anniversary, the pro-life people are rather buoyant and theyre having meetings to mark the anniversary. And the other side is fretting and sounding the alarms and preparing a scorched-earth policy for every nominee sent up by Mr. Bush. And yet the irony is that these people do have something to worry about.
Ten years after Brown v. Board of Education, the principle suggested in that decision had been absorbed widely. So that 10 years after that decision Congress was able to pass a law that not merely barred segregation in public schools, but barred segregation in private businesses open to transactions with the public. But now even 30 years after Roe v. Wade, only about 22% to 25% of the public could actually support the law articulated, created that day by Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, which is the right not to order an abortion not merely for the first trimester, but through the entire length of the pregnancy for whatever reason at all.
And thats why the bills on partial birth abortion and by birth abortion, our own Born Alive Infants Protection Act, came as such a surprise. In part, the original scheme was meant to offer that surprise. I had drafted the proposal for what became the Born Alive Act as part of the debating kit for the first George Bush when hes prepared to debate whats his name, my former governor. And asking to start with the most proposal of all, because we would have had the president say the Democrats say they reject infanticide, which means theyre going to protect the child at some point, so let them tell us when and well begin there.
Well, how about birth? Could we begin simply by preserving the life of the child who survives the abortion? We had a case in South Carolina with Judge Haynesworth, where a child had survived an abortion for 20 days, undergone a surgery. When the question was posed as to whether we had an obligation to preserve the life of that child, the answer tended by Judge Haynesworth was no. That was not a child that was protected by the laws of the state, but a fetus marked for termination; that the right to an abortion was the right to an effective abortion or a dead child. So he said, why dont we begin with that and work our way forward.
The bill on partial birth abortion accomplished the same end, except that Dick Postner, writing in the Seventh Circuit twitted us and said, "But you never made a claim to protect the child itself, so why would the state have any compelling interest in shifting the killing of the child back from the birth canal to the uterus?" In his own terms he was right because the architects of the bill on partial birth abortion had skirted around that question.
Curiously enough our original bill, the Born Alive Act, meant to fill in that critical premise and point out that that child marked for an abortion has a claim to the protection of the law. A claim that will not hinge on the question of whether that child happens to be wanted. Now we fill in that premise and we can come back to the bill on partial birth abortion.
To take a line attributed to Andrew Jackson at the battle of New Orleans when he said, "Boys, I want you to elevate them guns a little lower." We aim to elevate them guns a little lower and start with something more modest. And to our great surprise, we enacted and it took the intervention of Ken Connor, I must say, to help us prod the White House into having a signing ceremony.
When they had the signing ceremony for the bill in August, it finally dawned on them as to what was actually accomplished in this bill. And its even coming as a surprise to the pro-life community who dont realize what a powerful lever weve been given. Because now since the Supreme Court struck down the bills on partial birth abortion in the separate states, the Democrats have cover. They can no come in and argue that that bills unconstitutional; they have cover for that. But theyve all voted unanimously for the Born Alive Infants Protection Act.
NARAL actually came out in opposition to this bill, to the bill to protect the child who survived the abortion. They actually came out in opposition to it as we suspected. It came as a surprise to Doug Johnson, but we were telling they would because they saw the principle that lay at the heart of the thing. In an odd way, our opposition has always been more sensitive to the principle than our own friends. The opposition has understood this bill far better than many of our allies on the Hill, but they were talked out of it Jerry Nadler gave them this advice dont oppose this bill, dont give these proponents the debate that they want that just simply draws attention to the bill." So, thanks to Jerry Nadler, the Democrats all voted for this bill unanimously. Theyve signed on and voted unanimously, heres the next step after Born Alive, and Ill try to be very quick with this. Its a powerful lever.
All right youve all voted for this, but we never put in penalties for the Born Alive Act, we wanted to make it a pure teaching bill. Now we can come back you all voted for this unanimously. What kind of a penalty do you think ought to be attached to people who let die or kill a child who survives the abortion as in the grim live birth abortions carried out in Ocala [phonetic] Illinois at the Christ Hospital, where the baby is simply delivered and put aside to die? What kind of a penalty do you think ought to apply? Would it be at least as serious as a moving violation or a traffic offense? Now we can say, even more modestly, no, well begin more moderately than that.
Before we even get to the question of criminal or civil penalties, may we simply withhold federal funds from any clinic or hospital that engages in this practice? We can get HHS to do a little survey do you happen to do these things? That survey alone will set off tremors. But the plot thickens when we raise the question, who is a recipient of federal funds? And we ask do the formulas of the Civil Rights Acts apply, as with the Civil Rights Restoration Act? So, if a youngster is going to a private school, receives a federal loan, is this whole facility now a recipient of federal funds? You built those formulas in.
Now we ask if we have a private clinic and someone comes in covered by Medicare, receiving a Social Security check, a refund from the IRS, is the whole clinic covered? And the Democrats say, "This goes too far." We say, oh, do you wish to start dismantling this whole system of legislating by indirection, by which we extend the federal controls? We still cant explain how the federal government can reach a private clinic on birth control. Weve always stylishly skirted that question by simply giving federal grants. And if you accept the federal grants, all the regulations come through.
Now, do you want to start dismantling the system by which the federal controls have been extended over 35 years? Fine, well collaborate in doing that. This is for the Republicans a win-win proposition, and it still hasnt sort of broken through to them.
Secondly, the Bob Jones University case, which has acquired a kind of iconic standing among liberals, where Bob Jones University lost its tax exemption because they had policies that barred dating and marriage across racial lines. There is in the public policy of the United States no statutes or executive orders that bear on the question of private discriminations made by private persons in choices of spouse; theres nothing in the laws about that. But now we do have something in the law. We have a bill that bars the withholding of medical care from a child newly born. Which means now that private persons, as in the Bob Jones case, theres no allegation of racial discrimination; they couldnt bring a suit under the Civil Rights Act.
Private persons all over the country, people could complain to the IRS about the Bob Jones University. Now private persons throughout the country may bring complaints about clinics, who now really are in opposition to federal policy and the federal law because of the Born Alive Act. So private persons can bring these complaints all over the country, and almost every one of these clinics is a nonprofit, depending on tax exemptions.
Bill Cox head of the Catholic Health Association in California said, we ought to have a special award for Jerry Nadler and for his statesmanship. We ought to celebrate Jerry Nadler and give him an award for statesmanship in talking the Democrats into giving us this powerful new device. And were sure that will lift ever higher Jerry Nadlers standing within his party and its constituent groups and make him, for that group, truly the man of the year.
Jennifer Bingham: I want to first thank FRC for inviting us here today. Ken, I appreciate that. And as Ken said, my name is Jennifer Bingham. Im the Executive Director of the Susan B. Anthony List. And Ken did speak a little bit about what our organization does. We are an educational lobbying organization, and were a pro-life group. But today Ive been invited here to speak about our PAC and our successes in the 2000 elections. Our PAC focuses, as Ken mentioned, on increasing the percentage of pro-life women in Congress. And 2002 was our most successful year in our history.
We had 32 candidates that we endorsed and 22 of them won, which is a 70% success rate. We increased the number of pro-life women in Congress from seven to 12, which is a 71% increase. We elected our first pro-life woman to the Senate and we raised more than $2.8 million last year alone, which is twice what we had raised the previous year. Our PAC won more open seats and challenger races than any of the pro-choice groups. And all of our incumbents were reelected; the other side did not fare as well.
Emilys List is a great example; they raised $33.3 million, and thats just in hard dollars. They only elected two new women to Congress, thats it. They elected two new governors, but just two new women to Congress and that was for the $33 million.
On our side we did much better; we did better than Emilys List, NARAL, Planned Parenthood, NOW, Womens Campaign Fund and a host of others. And the reason I think that our pro-life candidates were more successful than any of the pro-choice candidates, despite the fact that they had almost $52 million combined in their war chest is twofold.
First, the American people do not support abortion on demand as mandated by Roe v. Wade, rather they support common sense restrictions, restrictions like you were mentioning. Further, I also think that pro-life registered voters, if theyre informed about key pro-life issues and the importance of one vote, and that their vote can make a difference, theyre more likely to vote.
That brings me to my second point, where the SB List actually focuses most of our time last cycle educating and turning out voters. In our most hotly contested races we had an extensive voter identification, education, and turnout program for inconsistent pro-life women voters. What that means is we targeted women who voted in the last presidential, but not the last non-presidential election. We worked with these women and we contacted them at least five times on the importance of voting and voting pro-life. Missouri is a prime example. We supported Jim Talent in that race, and we identified and then contacted over 35,000 pro-life women that otherwise would have stayed home on election day; they were inconsistent voters.
We used very unique methods to contact them and it worked. One example is in one of our mail pieces we included a temporary tattoo. And we were trying to equate abortion with having a tattoo; you have to have your parents permission to have an abortion but not to have a tattoo. It got peoples attention. A Fox News exit poll shows the abortion issue played a major role in Missouri. Voters picked abortion as the second most important issue on which they base their vote. Of those that selected abortion as the issue that brought them to the polls, 80% of those voters voted for pro-life Jim Talent; thats huge.
What this says to the Susan B. Anthony List is that we need to continue to educate women voters on the importance of voting and voting pro-life. Susan B. Anthony knew the importance of one womans vote, and this is a method we will continue to portray one vote does make a difference. We also need to continue to educate Americans on the reality of abortion as mandated by Roe v. Wade, that is, legal abortion at any time during pregnancy for almost any reason. And we believe if we continue to do these two things that we will also continue to elect pro-life candidates. And thanks again for having us here today.
Kellyanne Conway: Good morning, everyone. Im very pleased to be among you and I wanted to especially thank Connie Mackie and Ken Connor and the Family Research Council for including my firm, the polling company, in todays presentations. Weve had great honor in the last eight years since the founding of my company to do a nice bit of work in this arena, not just on the simply formulated and outdated question, "Are you pro-life or pro-choice?" but really getting beyond the feel-good phraseology that too often has not defined this debate, that has made it a screaming match everywhere from the floor of the United States Senate. to the classic cocktail party, to its contemporary equivalent, the cappuccino counters.
What weve tried to do is burrow through are this matter of "are you pro-life or pro-choice?" and really cut through the feel-good phraseology to try to probe peoples underlying ideology. And to the credit of the media, where sometimes polling is used as a substitute for reporting unfortunately, they have come around on the issue of at least surveying angles about abortion and possible public sentiment towards supporting restrictions on abortion on demand, and as recently as this week.
I did want to share with you some of the results of their polls as well as our own internal polling for clients like the Susan B. Anthony List and others. Before I share with you some of those numbers, let me start out by giving you the lay of the land in terms of what really has changed with regard to public opinion or public sentiment in the last 30 years.
The publics mind on the matter of abortion and life has really matured since 1973. In researching for todays presentation, I noted there were different periods of time where Americans seemed confused, sometimes ambivalent, sometimes shocked, sometimes gratified in their responses to some of the more classic abortion and life questions being posed publicly.
They never really felt very certain. And that is a consistent theme, if you will, in most of the polling, even before 1973, and generally over the last 32 or 33 years, on this matter. Most Americans never really felt completely certain and committed to this idea of supporting abortion. This is where, of course, the label "choice" came in. But a few things have happened in our culture that should inform the political class and the opinion leaders and decision makers, things that have happened in our broader culture that really foment the groundwork for us to make differences in the 108th Congress. and certainly with this remarkably pro-life president, and beyond.
One thing thats happened in our culture is that where the relative role of religion and morality in ones own life had already embraced or failed to grip many adherents to the pro-life cause, many others for whom religion and morality were neutral forces in forming their own opinions about abortion, for them, science and medicine have been eye-openers. It has become completely undeniable for most reasonably-minded Americans to look at a sonogram, in a very innocent or unassuming way, and deny what they see.
If you have General Electric, one of the most, if not the most, successful companies in our country, placing ads on network TV (where Family Research Councils own ads and Campaign for Working Families own ads have been denied coverage on partial birth abortion over the years in different races), in the middle of family values-less sitcoms, this tells you something. The ad plays the song, "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" and shows this happy, teary, married couple looking at their unborn baby on the screen. Everybody knows what they see there.
What has happened in our culture is that the scientific evidence of life through sonograms has seeped into our consciousness quite subtly. Pro-choice people arent confronted by defiant pro-lifers waving sonograms, demanding, "Admit it, this is a baby, isnt it?" Rather, they have seen sonograms in very innocuous, very unobtrusive ways. It sat on the screen of a computer on a colleagues desk for four months as that individuals wife expects their first child. Your pro-choice mother-in-law has mailed it to you and said, "Look, this is going to be your new niece or nephew." And its okay when its a wanted fetus. Then even the people in Hollywood name their babies in the fourth month of pregnancy. Did you ever notice that? I clip all those things, too. Its very funny. The Hollywood type crows, "Im having twins and were naming them "this" and "that," in the fourth month of pregnancy. And then all of a sudden theyre babies.
And its remarkable how many of them, when you cross reference it, are donors to Planned Parenthood or to NARAL or have this amorphous concept "choice" as their single-issue crusade. Even though motherhood itself does not convert them to the pro-life position, it is very easy to show how they have had those tendencies, inclinations, and outward statements when confronted with the unmistakable condition of carrying a child.
The other thing that has happened in our culture is, frankly, that the left denied the natural physiological impulse of women to bear and rear children. If your movement denies a physiological impulse then eventually that catches up with you. A very good analogy is having women serve in combat. Support for this denies the natural physiological differences in physical strength between men and women. If this were not true, and women and men were physiologically equal, rape would not exist, period.
Statistics show that roughly 80% of women will bear children over their lifetime. If one side of the debate denies that, eventually they lose some support. Even those who burned the flags and burned the bras and stood on what they consider to be the right side of the barricade over Roe v. Wade eventually say, you know, "its [abortion] just not that important to me anymore." "Maybe I wont come to those meetings." And thats fine; thats a victory for the pro-life movement because even though the pro-choice movement has a bunch of those women -- and men -- agreeing with their core positions, they no longer feel as intensely or act on them as aggressively as a pro-lifer might about her position.
Another development in our culture over time is that the child itself became more cherished. If you go back and look at the 1973 culture, it was all about women "I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar;" Ms. Magazine coming out; no-fault divorce being passed; the feminist movement wondering aloud, "Who needs a man anyway?"; women returning to the workforce, some by circumstance, some through choice. This was not simply the womens movement, but it was also the womens moment, and children werent really cherished.
Take account of what the movies were at the time. "Rosemarys Baby," "The Exorcist", "The Exorcist II", which could have been called, "The Child is the Devil." The central character in "The Omen," a young boy named Damian, is the devil. Then, all of a sudden, in 1980-1981 you see those yellow stickers, "Baby on Board," on so many cars. And since then weve been a culture, a nation that cherishes children, even if we dont have any ourselves. We have Babies-R-Us and Kids-R-Us and baby showers are all the rage, so our nation has changed to where children are welcomed as a much more central, and I would centrifugal, force, in our culture.
And the other thing that has changed really in our culture is that many of the most vociferous, most intense pro-abortion, pro-choice people are aging out, frankly. Theyre aging out of the childbearing years, and its very difficult to find many young women who actually have a job, are out of college and gearing towards the four magic "Ms" marriage, mortgage, munchkins, and mutual funds (which does tend to make them much more conservative and more pro-life), and get them excited about the abortion issue.
And thank God for that because theyre busy buying homes, making investments, doing their jobs whether as a stay-at-home mom or a CEO -- it doesnt matter. But their mind is elsewhere; there priorities are elsewhere. Its really difficult to get them to show up at some protest or some rally, which is exactly why NARAL changed its name to NARAL Pro-Choice America just last week, and said in its mission statement that its goal is to engage women under the age of 35, because they know that theyve lost this young generation.
Again, who are todays women under the age of 35? They grew up with science and medicine, and technology is their native tongue. If they can e-mail a friend in Japan and get a response within one minute, go on the Internet to do their own travel arrangements and check the weather and stock quotes and do their own research, its very difficult to convince them that in this progressed culture we are going to have women in the back alleys with coat hangers. It just doesnt fit with the rest of the way that they live their lives and their experiences so far.
The other thing it doesnt fit is that if youre a 33-year-old woman now, how old were you in 1973? And really, when you were growing up, say in 1976, 79, 80, and it was still this pro-women culture, you are likely to have been one of the 40% of Generation "Xers" to have been raised in a single parent household by the time you were 16. Dont talk to them about choices and freedoms always being a good thing.
And the final thing is that I think the left, just culturally speaking, the pro-abortion crowd, has made this a God-less religion. And abortion has become a God-less religion to them in a way that they believed that if they are narrowly focused on a single issue in everything they eat, drink, do and spend, then so should every other woman.
And what happened to single-issue voters in just this last election? As Jennifer points out, women are becoming less and less inclined just to say, Im pro-choice and Im going to vote that way. They may feel pro-choice, but most of them are not running to the ballot box because of that issue alone. Pro-lifers have the intensity advantage and always have, take for instance, the two Reagan elections.
My first job at polling was with Dr. Dick Wirthlin, Ronald Reagans pollster. He saw the greater intensity of pro-life voters over pro-abortion voters then, and it persists now. Pro-lifers are, in many election contest, twice as likely to say, the number one issue as to why I voted today was abortion. Agreement is easy; intensity is rare.
Let me share some polling statistics, and I know time is short, but this is about the last 30 years so I need at least a couple more minutes! First, it is irresponsible when examining people about an issue that melds together religion, morality, science, medicine, politics, gender and law, to simply just ask people "Are you pro-life or pro-choice?" and leave it at that. The matter is too complicated, with too many gray areas and a bit of ambivalence among some voters, to dismiss it with such outdated labels.
The reason that we ask that question still is only to use it as a cross-tabular purpose. We like to cross tab the number of people who refer to themselves as "pro-choice" in one of the initial questions but then supports measures like Infant Born Alive Protection Act, Child Custody Protection Act, parental notification and consent, spousal notification and consent, 24-hour waiting period in later questions.
And we find remarkably and consistently that many men and women in this country who refer to themselves as "pro-choice" also favor these restrictions, also favor these limits. And for most of them, and here I will credit the CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll released this week that showed unbelievable numbers higher than the ones we have released over the years, showing that the public supports many of these restrictions.
I want to go through some of them. But in a poll that we actually did for Susan B. Anthony List of voters we found in the initial question, 39% of those surveyed said Im pro-life on abortion. Forty-six percent said, "Im pro-choice," and 13% volunteered a response like, "both," "neither," "it depends," "Im not sure," "I dont know." Pollsters often dont know how to take "I dont know" for an answer because its no fun to see Mr. Undecided win that race, so they always push you which way do you lean? Its not worth your time to argue with a stranger on your phone during the dinner hour; you just surrender and give an answer and thats it. But for people to say, "I dont know" or "It really depends" or "Im confused" when asked to choose between pro-life and pro-choice, tells you something. Thirteen percent of the nation is a very large number.
So, instead of asking "Are you pro-life or pro-choice?" we give them six options. We ask, "Which of the following statements most closely reflects your position on the issue of abortion?" And then we rotate the possible responses: 1) "Abortion should be prohibited in all circumstances;" 2) "Abortion should be legal only to save the life of the mother." 3)"Abortion should be legal but only in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother;" 4) "Abortion should be legal for any reason but not after the first three months of pregnancy or the first trimester" (using the Supreme Courts language in Roe); 5) "Abortion should be legal for any reason but not after the first six months of pregnancy or second trimester;" and finally, "Abortion should be allowed at any time during a womans pregnancy and for any reason."
When you ask people that the first response you usually hear is, "Um... Could you read those again, please?" because they are so used to be asked are you pro-life or pro-choice. Asking someone are you for "choice" is like asking them if they like world peace, chocolate chip cookies, goodness, light, new born puppies and cuddly blankets. Its feel-good phraseology. Who doesnt like this core American value called choice?
But asking them this way really makes people think, and it takes a whole minute to ask this question and it often takes longer to repeat it and get the answer, but its worth it. And its a heck of a lot cheaper, easier to ask people are you pro-life or pro-choice and just record it.
The results to this question were as follows: Fourteen percent, abortion should be prohibited under all circumstances. Thirteen percent, abortion should be legal only to save the life of a mother. Twenty-one percent, abortion should be legal in case of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother. Twenty-six percent, abortion should be legal for any reason but not after the first three months or first trimester.
And then were left with 16% total, eight and eight apiece, saying either that abortion should be legal for the first six months and that abortion should be legal for any reason during a womans pregnancy. Sixteen percent, thats it/ Thats the number who believe that abortion should be legal after the first trimester. What the public is telling us in this survey and other surveys is that I call myself pro-choice, but I never knew pro-choice meant that you puncture a babys skull as it leaves the birth canal and suck out its brains to collapse that skull. And everybody says, yuck, gross, but thats precisely what happens.
Listen up, folks, show the pictures, shock the conscience on the way to warming the heart. Its important because many pro-choicers left the debate after feeling embarrassed , that that (partial-birth abortion) practice is legal in this country, let alone is part of the pro-choice program they had joined. It is the same for pro-lifers who dont say, "Oh, yes, its a great idea to shoot abortion doctors. No, its not. We dont favor the taking of innocent human life.
The CNN poll from this week, which I really commend to you, has several data points, including: "Do you think abortion should be legal under any circumstance?" 24%. "Legal under most circumstances?" 14%. "Legal in only a few circumstances?" 42% "Illegal in all circumstances?" 18%.
How do we account for the 42% who say "legal in a few?" Again, in trying to go too far with the scare tactics, what did the abortion crowd do over the last 30 years? Theyve said, as Phil Donohue said to a bunch of us conservative women on his show just last Friday, "Are you saying that if a 13-year-old is raped by her Uncle Fred that she should have to go through with this?" Theyve repeated that so often that there are so many people in this country saying Im pro-choice because I dont think someone who has been raped or incested should have . . . and then you tell them how few pregnancies that end in abortion are accounted for by those circumstances that they sort of say, "oh." And then you tell them how many abortions on demand are performed and you tell them about partial birth abortion, and again, they say, "oh," but with different emphasis.
Another statistic [from the CNN poll], "Should abortion be generally legal or illegal during the first three months of pregnancy?" legal 66%. "During the second three months of pregnancy?" legal 25, illegal 68. "The last three months of pregnancy?" legal 10, illegal 84. Seventy-eight percent of Americans say they support a woman waiting 24 hours before having the procedure done. Eighty-eight percent of Americans say there should be a law requiring doctors to inform patients about alternatives before performing the abortion. Seventy-three percent support a law requiring women under 18 to get parental consent for any abortion. I love the way they call the people under 18 "women" when it benefits their, and "children" otherwise.
"A law requiring that the husband of a married woman be notified if she decides to have an abortion?" 72% in support. Seventy percent support a law to make it illegal to perform a specific abortion procedure conducted in the last six months of pregnancy known as a partial birth abortion 70%.
The only place where these numbers go down is on the question of "Do you support a constitutional amendment to ban abortion in all circumstances, except when necessary to save the life of the mother?" 38% support, 59% opposed. We see numbers like this often when the issue is whether to pass a constitutional amendment; folks really dont like that sort of mechanism as a matter of course, until they know more.
Heres a very irresponsible way of asking the question, from the same poll: "In 1973, The U.S. Supreme Court announced a landmark decision on abortion known as Roe v. Wade. Do you think that decision was a good thing for the country or a bad thing for the country?" Thats it, no context; youre just supposed to know what Roe is. This is reminiscent of the 1986 question that was asked after President Ronald Reagan was diagnosed with cancer. The questions asked Americans, "How serious do you think the cancer is?" as if all of us are oncologists!
How do these shifts in public opinion and changes in the culture affect the 108th Congress? On abortion, the key is not a six-letter word, "choice," but a four-letter word, "will." After all, there are very, very few issues in America today that can boast the kind of 70%-80% agreement seem on eliminating partial-birth abortion and allowing for parental notification and consent. True, we are a 49% nation in many ways, but on some of these limtis to abortion on demand, the nation has found much greater consensus. If the 108th Congress just takes a minor examination of survey data within their own states, they may see this. And they may see fine examples, like in Missouri, where the law already requires informed consent before an abortion is performed, but where legislation is pending that requires a 24-hour waiting period. And this legislation would also require abortion providers to carry at least a million in medical malpractice insurance. I think some of the states are doing good work that the 108th Congress should want to follow. Thank you very much.
Terry Jeffrey: I want to thank Ken Connor and Connie Mackey and the Family Research Council for inviting me today to this commemoration of the deadliest day in U.S. history when the Supreme Court passed Roe v. Wade and has led to the death of 42 million innocent Americans. Shortly after the 10th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Ronald Reagan delivered a speech to the National Evangelical Association that rings as true today as it did then. This is where Reagan declared the Soviet Union an evil empire.
But let me restate what Reagan said that day about the evil empire of abortion. "More than a decade ago," said Reagan, "a Supreme Court decision literally wiped off the books of the 50 states statutes protecting the rights of unborn children. Human life legislation ending this tragedy will someday pass the Congress," said Reagan. "And you and I must never rest until it does." Reagan knew Roe was but the first attack in escalating war against life. "You may remember," he said, "that when abortion on demand began many warned that the practice would lead to a decline in the respect for human life. That the philosophical premise used to justify abortion on demand would ultimately be used to justify other attacks on the sacredness of human life, justifying infanticide and mercy killing."
Since Reagan, the Supreme Court has called killing a baby at birth a constitutional right. And some Republican senators now favor cloning human beings as long as those human beings are killed. These are not Reagan Republicans; these are disgraceful Republicans. Yet Reagans party enjoys something Reagan did complete control of the federal government. If an all-Republican government cannot enact the legislation Reagan wanted to ban all abortion, it can and must stop the forward march of death and begin to roll back the forces of death.
President Bush has shown great leadership in fighting the war on terrorism, in fighting to cut taxes, in fighting to end race-based discrimination in America. The same vigor in the pro-life struggle can win great victories for this greatest of all causes this year. In his State of the Union address President Bush should declare that it is his priority to enact a complete and permanent on all human cloning before Easter Sunday.
Last one: Of my colleagues at Human Events, David Ferdesto talked to Senator Frists office and Sen. Frist assured Human Events, through his aid, that he would push for a complete and permanent ban on human cloning. If the new Senate Majority Leader and the very popular of the United States work together, I believe they can get the seven votes that I understand are needed for this legislation. I understand there are now 44 senators ready to vote to the complete and permanent ban that will pass the House by a huge margin.
President Bush and Senator Frist can win those senators if they put their will and their political clout, their moral prestige behind it. The Republican Congress should also send to the president legislation ending all funding in any way tied to abortion. Taxpayers in this country in no way should be made to subsidize abortion, and that means not one dime in tax dollars should ever again go to International Planned Parenthood which promotes abortion all around the world. Not one dime should go to Planned Parenthood here in the United States of America for any of its operations, period.
It also means ending research programs the National Institutes of Health that transplant tissues torn out of aborted babies and transplant them into laboratory mice and other animals. These experiments have been going on under a Republican Congress since 1995. President Bush in his campaign said he was against them, stop now. He should veto any NIH funding that supports this kind of experimentation or allows it to go on.
Congress should also immediately enact the partial birth abortion ban. And finally, the president must nominate, and he in the Senate must fight to confirm to the Supreme Court justices with the integrity and courage to go up to the Senate Judiciary Committee and to say under oath the trust, which is that Roe v. Wade was a lie and it must be overturned.
Thank you. Q & A with the Panel Moderated by Ken Connor
Q & A with the Panel Moderated by Ken Connor
Ken Connor: those very, very substantive and informative remarks. Time flies when youre having a good time, so were going to skip the next segment that we originally were intending to do and move directly to your questions because we want to give you the opportunity to posit questions.
I couldnt help, as I was watching the clock, I couldnt help but reflect on Albert Einsteins explanation of the theory of relativity. I asked Albert Einstein what does the theory of relativity meant and could he sum it up in just a few words. He said, "Well, you know, when you look at a pretty girl for an hour, it seems like only a minute. But when you put your hand on a hot stove for only a minute, it seems like an hour. Thats relativity."
Its interesting, as we have seen our program elongate, but in my judgment the information we got was well worth it. And we shouldnt, in any way, have abbreviated that. But were not going to move directly to your questions so we can take them up. When you ask a question would you please stand, identify the organization that youre with and put your question to a particular panelist and then well give others an opportunity as well to comment. Are there questions? Yes, sir?
Question: Al Millikan, Washington Independent Writers. Are pro-lifers thinking as strategically as their opponents when it comes to their choice of words? Your opponents seem very careful not to speak positively at all about you, particularly when it comes to using the word choice, they seem to increasingly emphasize that. And they want to cast you in negative terms saying you`re anti-choice. Yet it seems often pro-lifers, indifferently or often it seems carelessly, just refer to their opponents as pro-choice refer to them in positive terms. It seems like they are thinking much more strategically in the choice of words and just casting each other negatively and positively than the pro-life movement. Im wondering if any of you think thats true?
Ken Connor: Thats a great question and Kellyanne, if I may, Id like to ask you to respond to that and Jennifer if you would follow up. You obviously are involved in the framing of these questions everyday, and Jennifer has a demonstrable success in terms of the outcomes for the use of that information. Would you lead us off?
Kellyanne: I know I hogged the clock a bit, but thats what you get for inviting a pollster who once was a litigator. On to your question, sir, because its a very important one. I want to state from the beginning that I do think that the pro-abortion movement looks at theirs as a crusade in the public relations battle. And I dont believe that the pro-life movement does, nor should we. Im not one of those people to run out there and urge that we become linguists and choose our words more carefully and all that because we believe what we believe.
Sure, we [pro-lifers] are there to convince other hearts and minds and votes of our positions, but they [pro-abortion people], look at this as a very orchestrated well-funded Madison Avenue type engineered, Hollywood scripted public relations battle. Youre right that we are much more polite to them than they are to us. Again, no apologies. But that "choice" word is no longer working for them the way it did even three years ago, let alone 15 years ago. And thats because its been injected into debates like school choice, and thats the choice that theyre never for, it seems. Its because choice is just part of our everyday vernacular.
I do think, though, theres great credit in referring to them more often as pro-abortion and not abortion rights, but pro-abortion. Because that is the ugly word that never slips their tongue. And theyll stand up and protest and retort that "nobodys really for abortion." But people should be held responsible for the result of the process that they support. Thats what I would say, make them responsible for the result produced by the process they support, an aborted fetus. Were responsible for the result that the process we support produces a live baby. They, too, should be responsible.
Ken Connor: Jennifer, would you follow up?
Jennifer Bingham: We, obviously, when were trying to portray this issue, particularly with pro-life voters, we dont ever talk about choice. We talk about specific issues. We talk about exactly the things that Kellyanne was talking about in polling, things that people agree, where they might identify themselves as pro-choice but theyre going to agree with the majority of things. Those are the things that we really try and focus on. And as Kellyanne said, we are much more polite than they are.
I know in my remarks I called them pro-choice, but a lot of times they always say that were these right-wing nuts, so I do think that being polite is helpful on our side. I agree again with Kellyanne that maybe we should use the abortion word more often.
One thing that I did see recently was something on Planned Parenthoods Web sit. They actually were talking about the anniversary of Roe v. Wade and they were actually talking about abortion. And they were talking about it as a positive thing. And, as Kellyanne said, they ever want to talk about the abortion word; they only want to talk about choice.
Ken Connor: I would echo those sentiments and make the observation in regard to how they view this anniversary. I believe it was Dr. Tiller who was advertising free abortions to commemorate Roe v. Wade, a very, very different view of the significance of this. Yes, sir, you had a question?
Question: Im interested in specifically your purist view on full prevention of abortion that you mentioned. Im also a physician, and I know that we use the term therapeutic abortion if theres a tubular pregnancy. There was a pastors wife in our small town in Kansas who had an aortic [??] pregnancy. The baby was actually growing on her aorta, which meant that it would get to a certain weight and probably tear her aorta and kill her. My question for those that are against abortion for any reason, even in those reasons, and how do we, as physicians, describe to somebody whos very pro-life this therapeutic abortion is necessary? How do we do that and still be 100% pro-life? Ive seen the devastation that abortions have brought to women and Im very much pro-life. But how do we deal with this particular issue, and are you even against abortion if theres hardly any chance the baby can make it and nearly 100% chance the mother wont?
Kellyanne Conway: The way I feel personally is probably just most relevant to me and my husband and God, but I am here to speak from the perspective of public opinion. To address your question, there is a tremendous difference and we must make this distinction constantly in saving the life of the mother in an emergency versus the "health of the mother" exception. And the health of the mother exception was a staple of the Clinton years. he made it seem that hed have a Rose Garden ceremony and sign the partial birth abortion ban into law if the Congress would just give me that health of the mother exception.
We all know "health" of the mother also includes someone whos pregnant and "just cant deal with it right now" or says "it doesnt fit with her career." That is not health of the mother. And if you look at whats happening in the merger of science and law now, youll see that so many times what constitutes health is a judges view or even a crazy physicians view is not health at all, its circumstances. Its take a pill, medicate it; get pregnant, get rid of it.
And thats different than what youre describing, Doctor. The fact is that is a life-threatening situation for a mother that is a doctors call that he could not have made two days earlier. In other words, its a true circumstantial emergency and is not broadly "health" of the mother. This is an area where we could do a better job as a movement of informing people of the distinction.
Ken Connor: Terry Jeffrey.
Terry Jeffrey: Actually I think when you state the principle clearly the argument is very clear too. The principle says you can never deliberately take an innocent human life. It doesnt matter whether its a 40-year-old person in downtown Baghdad. If a U.S. soldier were to go and shot that guy in the head, thats immoral. If you were to kill an unborn child deliberately, if thats the intention of your act thats immoral.
Then the question becomes what happens when you had a pregnancy, that as a byproduct of a medical procedure proceeding intended to preserve the life of the mother will in fact be terminated. Thats not an abortion. I dont even think, by medical definition, its an abortion.
Question: Unfortunately we call it a therapeutic abortion.
Terry Jeffrey: Youre not killing the child, right? If the purpose of the act is to kill a child its wrong. If youre not directly killing the child but the purpose of the act is to say the money, I dont believe that was illegal in the United States. In my view, if its unintentional, its not wrong. There are some very fine subtle points that we get into about the morality of various circumstances, but I dont think they approach the law. The question of the law is whether or not you can ever deliberately kill an innocent human being. And I believe the law must say that you can never deliberately kill an innocent human being.
Ken Connor: The way Ive heard often framed, doctor, is in terms of intent. Whats the intent of the treatment and where the intent of the treatment is to save the life of the mother and the unavoidable result is that the child perishes. Thats very different from where the intent of the treatment is to kill the child, rather than to preserve or protect the woman. Yes, maam in the back?
Question: What do you think the chances are this year this is for you Mr. Connor of the abortion Nondiscrimination Act passing, the Child Custody Protection Act passing, the partial birth abortion ban passing, the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, and Abstinence Education?
Ken Connor: I think the chances of passing a partial birth abortion ban this year are 100%. Sen. Frist has expressed his support for it, the president has expressed his support for it, the House passed it. There are more than 60 votes in the Senate to pass it. The Abortion Nondiscrimination Act, in my judgement, the prospects for passage are substantially better than 50%.
Thats because, in my judgment, even so-called pro-choicers acknowledge the importance of protecting rights of conscience of health care providers who, as a matter of conscience or religious or moral scruples, feel they should not be forced to be compliant in what they regard as an immoral act the destruction of an innocent life. The chances, in my view, of passing the Child Custody Protection Act are better than 50%. That really is a parents right bill, and again, many who characterize themselves as pro-choice, do view the parents as having an important and critical role in making health care decisions on behalf of their child. And that the parents role should be be eviscerated by some party who undertakes to take the child to a different state to avoid the requirements for parental involvement.
The Unborn Victims of Violence Act is more problematic because the extremists on the other side fear that that bill, which would recognize a second victim in the event of a felonious assault on a woman who is pregnant, flies in the face of Roe v. Wade which has refused any confer any legal status on the unborn child. But even in this schizophrenic world in which we live, in my view, one may fairly make a distinction between a mother whose course is clearly impacted by the decision about whether or not to terminate a pregnancy and a third party criminal who, as an interloper, seeks to benefit and utilize the mothers right to privacy, if you will, in order to shield himself or herself from culpability for a felonious act. But I think, again, as Hadley pointed out, it reflects just how extreme the other side is in its refusal to acknowledge or confer any standing on the unborn child. And was your question Welfare Reform or Abstinence Education?
Question: Abstinence Education.
Ken Connor: I think the prospects of expanding Abstinence Education or exceedingly great. We have so appreciated the presidents leadership in all of these areas. Let me let Prof. Arkes comment.
Hadley Arkes: I testified for the Lindsley Grahams bill on the Unborn Victims of Violence Act. We had with us at that time a man named Lentz who lost his pregnant wife, pregnant with his son, at the Oklahoma bombing. And he insisted two people died there his wife and his child. And with Mr. Robins [phonetic] in the Air Force who beat his wife until he killed the child, Jack couldnt prosecute him because they didnt think they could prosecute for the murder of the child. When this became before the Congress, of course, we had people like Zoe Loefgren insisting there was no killing; its simple an assault on the woman. But the ideological screen comes down, so the theory actually bars them from recognizing what is there before their eyes, which anyone could see. And this is the discrepancy that comes in.
May I just add one more thing, and this picks up something from one of Terrys comments joining it with Kellys. When people come before now the Senate Committee in a confirmation, I dont think they get far by saying Im here now to turn back Roe. But what I think they could do, when faced with a question, is to say, senator, tell me what you understand Roe to mean? Oh, if its the right to kill a child oh, you understand the right to kill a child for any reason, through any time, even after the child is born. Im not sure the American people understand it in that way. Its look more like a case-to-case matter, in which case, I shouldnt say anything until I see the cases.
Ken Connor: The folks on the other side are scrupulous to try to divorce the reality from the rhetoric. And so, for instance, Kate Michelman would always speak in abstract terms about the right to choose. Shell never connect it up with the reality. Its not the right to choose between chocolate and vanilla; its the right to choose to kill an innocent child. They are always in complete denial about that and refuse to make those linkages.
But increasingly, I think, the American people, thanks to advances in ultrasound technology and fetalology, etc., inescapable come to the conclusion that this unborn child is a member of the human family and that abortion kills that child. Next question, yes, maam?
Question: Mary Hamm, Im with Heartbeat International. In the pregnancy care movement, and Id like to direct this to Kellyanne, we are now dealing very much with a new term and a new client, which is what were calling the abortion survivor. This is the sibling whose parents aborted. When you said that this younger generation, and were talking about ostensibly about 100 million siblings are alive 33 million moms on average, two to three kids could it be that in their homes, in their lives the reason why kids are less willing to see abortion as such a great thing is because they know in their own lives how its touched them and their mothers somehow? Have you come across any statistics about this?
Kellyanne Conway: What a spectacularly fresh way of looking at this. When you said "abortion survivor" I immediately thought the obvious, which is what we talked about before, the children who literally survive an abortion. That would come down to a very fundamental question, which is and you probably found this and so know more than us, so maybe you can enlighten the crowd -- how many of these surviving children actually know that? Im sure many because people today are so confessional. They want to be their childrens best friends instead of their mothers and fathers, but Im wondering how many of them even know that. And I would assume that in most cases the abortion was the most recent pregnancy, meaning it was the last child. In other words, youre saying they have two, three, four children and they dont want one other, or is this a mother who had an abortion before she was married and bore these children? Do you have a sense of that?
Question: It could be the other way. Often it is the other way. The mother aborted in high school or college, the boyfriends child. Then she marries and she has children. The reason this is appearing very much in our centers and in psychology offices all through the country is that the mother can then not bond with her living children in the same way because its sort of a "Sophies Choice." In bonding with her living children she has to deny the reality of that child. You have these families where theres this lie being lived out. Yes, many times the kids dont know. When we see it coming out is when that child is then pregnant and comes and says, "Mom, I want to have an abortion." And the mom freaks out and then the story comes out that when she was 18. So, sometimes story is buried in the family history, but many times it eventually comes out. And whether it comes out or not, the children its almost like they experience it without even knowing.
Ken Connor: Im going to respectfully interpret you because we have other questions that are being posited. Let me offer to the members of the media a preference, since in recognition of the fact that we are here at the National Press Center. If youre a member of the media and would like to pose a question, just slip up your hand. I want to make sure that we recognize you. Yes, sir?
Question: Im Bill Fancher with American Family Radio Network. Sen. Rick Santorum recently said in the New York Times, "We still dont have anything I would consider a pro-life majority in the Senate." I would like your assessment of where the Senate stands as far as the number of actual pro-life senators we have right now who can help continue to move the pro-life movement on.
Ken Connor: Jennifer, would you like, as the most successful pact in the nation as it relates to the election candidates, would you like to comment on that?
Jennifer Bingham: I can comment on that but I cant give you the exact numbers because the majority of our candidates were in the House and we did elect our first pro-life woman. But I do know, as he said, that its close. Were down a couple. Im not sure what the exact number is. Were going to have to convince some of these senators who consider themselves pro-choice does he want a partial birth abortion ban or some of these other things to vote with us.
Ken Connor: Other comments from the panel, Terry?
Terry Jeffrey: I think if you just want to do a rough count, you could eliminate virtually all of the Democrats. I dont think theres a single pro-life Democrat in the Senate, not including Mary Landrieu who sometimes tries to pretend to be or John Breaux. They have 51 Republicans, and you know that Susan Collins and Olympia Snow are not going to be with you, that Lincoln Chafees not going to be with you, that Arlen Specter is not going to be with you. That Ted Stevens is not going to be with you, that John Warner is not going to be with you. George Allen is not even truly pro-life; he will not tell you hes pro-life. Thats seven senators subtracted from the 51; that gets us back to 44. But more important, I would say on the issues were talking about right now, which is not a complete total ban on abortion.
Its not a human life amendment, the sort of issues were talking about today. In my mind, most importantly, a cloning ban. And secondly, confirming a Supreme Court Justice. Theres no reason why we shouldnt be able to get a majority in the Senate, I believe, as I said, if the president and Senate Majority Leader Frist exerts some pressure to get those votes.
Ken Connor: This is where, in my view, Kellyannes comments have so much salience about whether youre simply pro-life or pro-choice. And when you drill down below the surface to find out what does that mean on particular issues, youll find a shifting consensus, I believe. And thats why I indicated on Unborn Victims of Violence and the other bills that we talked about Child Custody Protection Act and the other bill that we discussed. I think youll find varying degrees of consensus on that, partial birth abortion is viewed differently. And youre going to have to look at those proposed what are regarded as restrictions on a case-by-case basis.
Next question, yes?
Question: David Brody, Family News and Focus Radio. Where do you think well be 30 years from now? Not necessarily pie in the sky, and I know its hard to say. But realistically, where do you think well be? And along those same lines, it seems like were very morally corrupt as a society and were going down a very steep and dangerous path as the years have gone by, yet the polling suggests that more Americans are more in tune with the pro-life message. There seems to be somewhat of a disconnect there, in a sense that we do see a morally corrupt society. Im wondering in 30 years where you think we might be.
Ken Connor: Or as John McLaughlin would say, predictions, Hadley.
Hadley Arkes: Somehow I have this feeling that 30 years from now well all be back in the pants business. Im very much affected by the disconnect. You can talk about sonography and everything. But 30 years ago we knew that the offspring of Homo sapiens could not be anything other than Homo sapiens. And the fact that you find people with college education professing not to know whats in the womb is a remarkable thing. Weve been living with this disconnect for a long time.
We have a judge here in Washington who confined a woman out of concern that she could give her heroin habit to her unborn child, even while she had the constitutional right to end the problem simply by choosing the death of the child. Weve given the unborn child rights of inheritance, recognizing that that child has a tort action against negligent drivers. And at the same time, we preserve this right to kill. The thing we have to deal with is that people with pricey education in the country have talked themselves into one or both of the following propositions.
One, I really may take a human life, as it suits my private interest. They recoil from that, and as they recoil from that they talk themselves into something even more frightening. That is, "No, I have not taken life of human being. I can make my own decision as to what is a human being as that suits my interest." Letting this go with the choice of the women and show her the sonography, if all of that preserves you can imagine a conciliate system in which 95% of the people talk themselves out of the abortion. But if we preserve the cast over the years, that is still the right of the woman to decide to destroy that child for any reason sufficient to her.
My pitch to is that the souls of people in this country will still be formed according to a wrongful premise and that the problem will remain with us.
Ken Connor: I would make this observation. I think its very difficult to predict the future, but I will tell you that I think what happens in the near term is going to have an extraordinary impact on the future. And I believe that we have a narrow window of opportunity in the near term. The question is going to be whether or not politicians and other cultural leaders have the will to grasp the nettle, take up the difficult case, speak with clarity and marshal the arguments and lead in forging the consensus on this issue. If they do, and Im talking about politicians, pastors, priests, cultural leaders, if they do we have reason to be encouraged. If they dont, we should be very discouraged because abortion not only kills our kin, it callouses our collective consciences.
And even just yesterday in the New York Times we read a lady who put forth a piece critical of NARALs decision, intending to obfuscate its real intent. And says, look, we need to come to grip with the fact that abortion kills a pre-viable child. That was dissembling because the reality is that abortion also kills viable children as well. But it shows just how cold-blooded and how callused people are.
It used to be in debates about abortion you could never get your opponent to acknowledge the existence of human life. Because if they did everything thereafter followed. But now they readily acknowledge, indeed, you cant deny scientifically or medically the existence of another person in-being. But they say the mothers right to choose trumps the babys right to life. So, unless people like President Bush, unless people like Bill Frist, unless people like Dennis Hastert, unless people who occupy your local pulpits are willing to grasp the nettle, marshal the arguments and lead, as opposed to simply taking a poll, finding out in which the direction the parade is moving and trying to get out in front of it. In that case, I think the prognosis is gloomy for the future.
Hadley Arkes: Ken, can I just answer that. One of Robin Georges best lines what he said about the first George Bush, that for the pro-life community the problem for the first George Bush is that he was all action, no talk. That we need the talk that would frame the argument. We have the curiosity of a thoroughly pro-life administration at all levels, but a White House thats been very reluctant to frame the argument. And theres a danger of creating the corrosive notion that it is unrespectable to state the pro-life argument in public. They sound things, but they have to make the case and it doesnt take much.
Ken Connor: There are nothing like controversial social issues, which have the potential for polarizing the electorate to make politicians weak in the knees.
Hadley Arkes: They dont like to talk about it, but as Kellyanne points out, every time we talk about it we win. May I say just as a footnote, I want to acknowledge Richard Leschner about talking about making the case, who has been a great ally to me in making this case. And I also want to point out so important is this meeting that its brought out Mrs. Laura Fabrique from her honeymoon. Shes been married for three months, but shes still on her honeymoon.
Ken Connor: Any other media folks? Yes?
Question: My name is [inaudible] and Im with ABC News. My question is to all the panelists. If you would happen to know what Congress is going to do next week [inaudible].
Ken Connor: The question from Lauren is what do you expect the Congress to do to mark the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Terry Jeffrey?
Terry Jeffrey: I dont have any legislative initiatives. Ill tell you whats going to happen though, theyre going to get visited by hundreds of thousands of pro-life activists who are going to come in for the March for Life from all over the country, from every community, every walk of life to tell them what they think and reflect the values that Kellyanne has shown in her polls.
Kellyanne Conway: I think its very important to note what the Democratic presidential aspirants are going to do. Theyre all going to come together, this parade of benchwarmers, are coming together in solidarity to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Its the first time that all six of them, maybe by then 15 of them, will be appearing together. And it just shows you how definitive of their party this issue really is to them.
Ken Connor: Make no mistake about it. Were about to find out what the Republicans are made of. As Kellyanne has pointed out, as Jennifer has pointed out in number of controverted races for the Senate in the mid-term election, abortion was a transcending issue. And pro-life voters were responsible for putting a Republican Senate president in charge of the Senate.
Theres a difference between being in charge and being in control, as weve already seen with the organizing resolution thats going on. But were going to find out whether the Republicans, whose platform insists that it reveres and respects the sanctity of innocent life and opposes abortion is willing to live up to its rhetoric and to lead on this important issue.
Were going to find out whether Sen. Frist, who is a physician himself, a prominent medical researcher and a man who has articulated a pro-life view, is willing to risk political capital on that. Were going to find out to what extent the President of the United States is willing to risk political capital on this issue. Were going to find out a lot, I think, about just how committed people are on this issue during the 108th Congress. Last question, Id be happy to entertain it first from a media representative, and if not, from another member of our audience. Yes, maam?
Question: Eve Teshna, Im a freelance journalist. This is mainly for the women from the Susan B. Anthony List and the polling company. What have you all found out about which images, which approaches really motivate people to do the kind of turnout that we saw in Missouri and to have the kind of 70% in favor of these different pro-life initiatives? What is it that changes minds, have we found?
Ken Connor: Great question, thank you. Kellyanne, would you like to lead?
Kellyanne: There are two ways to communicate with the public. You can either shock their conscience or warm their heart, since nearly form is really just a variation of one or the other. I think for the pro-life movement both have worked effectively. I actually would urge us to be a little bit more on the warm the heart side because, again, remember, if you had to hold up a symbol of what the pro-life movement is, you would have a live baby. Maybe even one thats eight-months and born a month prematurely, whatever it is. Our symbols can definitely warm the heart. But I think, once in awhile, to shock the conscience is important, too.
Secondly, and thinking more tactically, Im a huge fan of retail politics. There is no substitute for it. If you told me heres $8 million, and asked me how many network ads I would run with it, my answer is zero. Because to think that someone is staring at the TV, in between some silly show, to focus on politics or a political issue is silly. But the retail politicking, the stickers on the bumpers, the signs in the yard, the get-out-the-vote efforts, inviting someone to your home for coffee 25 people to talk about this issue is so powerful when youre faced with a nation where less than 40% of us vote in non-presidential years, and less than 50% of us vote in presidential years. There is no substitute for retail politicking, and I think that is what really has changed peoples minds.
Jennifer Bingham: And thats what we did in Missouri. What Kelly was saying about shock and also warming the heart; we sent this out to people. This was shocking, obviously, to get something in the mail. Its not like your typical piece of political mail; this has a woman with tattoos all over her body. And you open up and inside heres the warmth, heres the baby and the sonogram. And then heres the temporary tattoo. What we knew was that these women are not voting; theyre inconsistent voters.
Theyre not voting for a reason. Half of the reason probably is because they dont feel that their vote is important and nothing is getting through to them. This got through. If you get this in the mail, youre going to open this and youre going to say, "Wow, who is this person with this tattoo on the back of their leg and what are they sending me this for?"
People actually took action in this. We asked them to go to our Web site or to call an "800" number and sign a petition. And we were really pleasantly surprised with the results a lot of people took action. And actually getting people to focus is half the battle. We did this, you got this, you got two postcards, you got two phone calls. And what we did is we consistently once we knew what the issue was that was important to you, thats the issue we focused on. We didnt talk to you about taxes if youre issue was parental consent. If your issue was parental consent, you got five different contacts on parental consent in five different ways and in five different unique ways that are going to get your attention. And I think Missouri is a prime example. That was one of the states where we had 35,000 women we contacted I think made a difference. Conclusion
Ken Connor: Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of the Family Research Council, I want to thank each of our distinguished panelists for the contribution theyve made to this discussion. Its been fascinating and illuminating. Now, unless some of you be overly anxious about your inability to keep track of this valuable data and information that came out today. And unless you worry that your notes may not have captured all of it, tomorrow all of these remarks will appear in transcript form on FRCs Web site. And you can go to that Web site, www.frc.org, and recover that information. And I think it will be of great value to you moving forward, especially those of you who want to join in this effort to rebuild a culture of life in which every child is welcomed in life and protected by law.
And I would be remiss if I didnt extend a special thanks to our staff member, Kristin Hansen who has worked so hard to make this program a success. And to make sure that you knew about it and to make arrangements to see that the information generated here was spread abroad the land. We thank each of you for coming. We look forward, Lord willing, to the coming of the day when every child, when every human being, black or white, rich or poor, whole or handicapped, born or unborn, is respected and protected in American life.
Thank you for coming.
ÞThere are two ways to communicate with the public. You can either shock their conscience or warm their heart, since nearly form is really just a variation of one or the other. I think for the pro-life movement both have worked effectively. I actually would urge us to be a little bit more on the warm the heart side because, again, remember, if you had to hold up a symbol of what the pro-life movement is, you would have a live baby. Maybe even one thats eight-months and born a month prematurely, whatever it is. Our symbols can definitely warm the heart. But I think, once in awhile, to shock the conscience is important, too.
Secondly, and thinking more tactically, Im a huge fan of retail politics. There is no substitute for it. If you told me heres $8 million, and asked me how many network ads I would run with it, my answer is zero.
But the retail politicking, the stickers on the bumpers, the signs in the yard, the get-out-the-vote efforts, inviting someone to your home for coffee 25 people to talk about this issue
. There is no substitute for retail politicking, and I think that is what really has changed peoples minds.Ü
There is a up to $500.00 (not to exceed ever $25,000) fine to any one that kills an 'endangered' fox, or upsets/touches certain turtle nest eggs along our shores. Under the detailed listings of the federal Endangered Species Act.
There is a $350.00 to $500.00 'amount due' to kill the human species. (AKA abortion) And in second/third human trimesters; scissors are jabbed into the HUMAN head and the brains are sucked out-In elective surgeries- daily, in the United States, all under the guise of a woman's "right." The only real "right" is the "right" to remain silent.
When will humans become "endangered" and protected?
When will the so called pro-"choicers" realize basic science skills of the food-chain? Human's are NOT at the bottom of the food-chain.
Do they really see what they do, with their political correctness all in the guise of a "woman's right"?
Looks fruitfull to me: F.R. Poll:Should Roe vs Wade be overturned?
F.R. Poll:Should Roe vs Wade be overturned?
2,634 votes - 81%
461 votes - 14%
124 votes - 3%
A Word About Honesty
One last introductory thought. Before we go further, we must ask ourselves a critical question: Are we interested in what is true and right, or are we merely interested in what is not disturbing or inconvenient?
Here is the reason I ask. I have made an observation based on hundreds of conversations with people on tough moral issues. Few are really interested in doing what is right. This may seem like a strong statement, but in the course of conversation it becomes obvious. Sure, they give reasons for their views, convincing even themselves that they have a genuine interest in morality. Their true colors show, however, when their reasons turn out to be bad ones. They fish around for other justifications. They begin twisting the facts to fit their views. They reject or ignore contrary points instead of refuting them.
As their options diminish, their search becomes more frantic. It soon becomes clear they never had any intention of being ethical at all. Their justifications were only rationalizations all along. Instead of changing their opinions and, ultimately, their conduct, they become angry. Stripped of the appearance of being moral, they leave mad, still bent on doing what they intended to do in the first place.
Why do people do that? Because the moral demands of the truth are often an unpleasant burden to bear. When self-interest is at stake, we change the rules. We resort to contorted, disfigured arguments. We attack individuals rather than ideas. We take refuge behind the claim that the question is complicated when it is not difficult at all. In the end we fire our final salvo, "It is my right!" The last refuge of the libertine.
We who are interested in what is true, however, let our judgments rest on the evidence. When the facts go against what we want, we make the difficult choice for the right reasons. We remain loyal to what is true and good, not to what's convenient.
This is true for me as a pro-lifer. I and virtually every other pro-lifer will abandon the fight if the unborn is not a human person worthy of protection just like every other human being.
Generally speaking, we're not interested in snooping around bedrooms, arbitrarily restricting freedoms or passing laws because of deep-seated bigotry or a devious desire to control private choices. We are concerned because abortion may possibly take the life of an innocent human person simply because the child in the way and can not defend itself.
But how do we know? By answering the only important question in the abortion controversy: What is the unborn? What-or who-is in the womb? Virtually every other question dissipates once you resolve this critical issue. Once answered, we will know what is right. Whether we will do what's right is another issue. * Greg Koukl is the radio talk show host for the program "Stand To Reason". Arguments For The Humanness Of A Fetus Michigan Theological Seminary, Journal Of Christian Apologetics, JCA 1:1 (Summer 1997) 94
Here is one of the (to my mind) greatest philosophers produced by England in the last century, telling people-especially other philosophers-that sometimes it is better to walk away than to argue. Why? Because a person's conscience can become so corrupt, and lead to such equally corrupt rationalizations, that to engage them in serious argument about those rationalizations is both pointless-being unlikely to have the slightest impact on their thinking-and, what is worse, dangerous-bringing the thinker of good will into serious danger of having his own conscience perverted by the sophistries of the other.