How many Democrats are pro-life?

Recently, Democrats for Life President Kristen Day questioned Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg about whether the Democratic Party welcomes pro-life Democrats. She said, in part,

I am a proud pro-life Democrat. Do you want the support of pro-life Democratic voters? There are about 21 million of us.

NARAL President Ilyse Hogue objected to that stat, pointing to a Kaiser poll that found 94% of Democrats think decisions about abortion should be made by women in consultation with their doctors (as opposed to by lawmakers). Hogue said Day’s claim of 21M pro-life Dems is “impossible to defend.”

It’s not really, though.

As has always been the case, polling results regarding abortion heavily depend on the wording of the questions, and no doubt there’s room to debate which polls are the most accurate and why. But Day’s number isn’t pulled from thin air. Dr. Michael New explained succinctly:

  • There are 245 million eligible voters according to the U.S. Census Bureau (see Table 1 here).
  • 33% of voters are Democrats, according to Pew Research Center (number reported as of 1/28/20).
  • 29% of Democrats refer to themselves as “pro-life” according to Gallup.
  • 245,000,000 x 0.33 x 0.29 = 23,446,500 self-identified pro-life Democrats
Still you could reasonably argue that there’s a lot of difference between identifying as “pro-life” and wanting abortion to be outlawed. (To think more about what it means to be “pro-life,” check out our thought experiment/poll “Who are pro-lifers?” here). How many pro-life Democrats actually want to outlaw abortion?
Well the same Gallup link above found that 14% of Democrats say abortion should be illegal in all circumstances (compared to 39% who say it should be legal under any circumstance). Reworking the math above would get us 11,319,000 Democrats who think abortion should be illegal all the time, making Day’s stat seem pretty exaggerated.

But really that number is likely a lower limit, because the vast majority of pro-life people think abortion should be legal “under certain circumstances,” e.g. when a woman’s life is in danger. Gallup finds that 45% of Democrats take this view and, as has always been the problem with Gallup’s wording here, it’s difficult to gauge what percent of the legal “under certain circumstances” crowd would be typically considered pro-choice or pro-life. 

In any case more granular polls can give us more info. This poll from The Hill found that 12% of Democrats thought “abortion should be illegal under all circumstances” and another 32% thought “abortion should be legal in limited circumstances such as rape, incest, and to save the life of the mother,” giving a total of 45% of Democrats who took pretty strong anti-abortion positions. Working the math above again, that would give us 36,382,500 Democrats who think abortion should be illegal all or almost all the time, making Day’s stat seem awfully modest.

We’ve talked before about how different polls make it seem like the American public takes contradictory stances on abortion, and the same issues apply when we look at Democrats specifically. Even so, we get a range of somewhere between 1 out of 7 and almost 1 out of 2 Democrats who think abortion should be generally illegal. Democrats for Life of America is representing a large portion of the Democratic Party as they face off against increasingly dismissive and hostile party leadership.

Image taken from DFLA FB page.

How many Democrats are pro-life?

Recently, Democrats for Life President Kristen Day questioned Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg about whether the Democratic Party welcomes pro-life Democrats. She said, in part,

I am a proud pro-life Democrat. Do you want the support of pro-life Democratic voters? There are about 21 million of us.

NARAL President Ilyse Hogue objected to that stat, pointing to a Kaiser poll that found 94% of Democrats think decisions about abortion should be made by women in consultation with their doctors (as opposed to by lawmakers). Hogue said Day’s claim of 21M pro-life Dems is “impossible to defend.”

It’s not really, though.

As has always been the case, polling results regarding abortion heavily depend on the wording of the questions, and no doubt there’s room to debate which polls are the most accurate and why. But Day’s number isn’t pulled from thin air. Dr. Michael New explained succinctly:

  • There are 245 million eligible voters according to the U.S. Census Bureau (see Table 1 here).
  • 33% of voters are Democrats, according to Pew Research Center (number reported as of 1/28/20).
  • 29% of Democrats refer to themselves as “pro-life” according to Gallup.
  • 245,000,000 x 0.33 x 0.29 = 23,446,500 self-identified pro-life Democrats
Still you could reasonably argue that there’s a lot of difference between identifying as “pro-life” and wanting abortion to be outlawed. (To think more about what it means to be “pro-life,” check out our thought experiment/poll “Who are pro-lifers?” here). How many pro-life Democrats actually want to outlaw abortion?
Well the same Gallup link above found that 14% of Democrats say abortion should be illegal in all circumstances (compared to 39% who say it should be legal under any circumstance). Reworking the math above would get us 11,319,000 Democrats who think abortion should be illegal all the time, making Day’s stat seem pretty exaggerated.

But really that number is likely a lower limit, because the vast majority of pro-life people think abortion should be legal “under certain circumstances,” e.g. when a woman’s life is in danger. Gallup finds that 45% of Democrats take this view and, as has always been the problem with Gallup’s wording here, it’s difficult to gauge what percent of the legal “under certain circumstances” crowd would be typically considered pro-choice or pro-life. 

In any case more granular polls can give us more info. This poll from The Hill found that 12% of Democrats thought “abortion should be illegal under all circumstances” and another 32% thought “abortion should be legal in limited circumstances such as rape, incest, and to save the life of the mother,” giving a total of 45% of Democrats who took pretty strong anti-abortion positions. Working the math above again, that would give us 36,382,500 Democrats who think abortion should be illegal all or almost all the time, making Day’s stat seem awfully modest.

We’ve talked before about how different polls make it seem like the American public takes contradictory stances on abortion, and the same issues apply when we look at Democrats specifically. Even so, we get a range of somewhere between 1 out of 7 and almost 1 out of 2 Democrats who think abortion should be generally illegal. Democrats for Life of America is representing a large portion of the Democratic Party as they face off against increasingly dismissive and hostile party leadership.

Image taken from DFLA FB page.

Women who’ve had abortions don’t owe loyalty to the abortion industry

Since Roe v. Wade, there have been over 60 million abortions committed in the United States. Even if 40% of those were repeat abortions (statistics vary by year), about 36 million women have had at least one legal abortion in the past 40 years.

Some current and former abortion workers have wondered where all these women are. Why aren’t more of them active in the pro-choice movement? Certainly, there are many who are. But there has been no massive uprising of post-abortive women fighting for abortion rights. Despite high profile campaigns like Shout your Abortion, most post-abortive women keep their abortions to themselves. The fact that the pro-life movement is so powerful, even when such a large number of women have had abortions and would seem to have every reason to support that right, is telling.

Jeannie Jones counseled women and helped them get abortions both before and after Roe. She says:

I became convinced within a year or two of doing abortion counseling to great numbers at Amherst Medical that the whole thing – society’s condemnatory attitude toward abortion – was going to change so dramatically because there were all these women of all ages who had abortions and members of their families who knew about it. They had this experience of making this tough decision. I thought that was going to change the political landscape and I can’t believe [that opposition to legal abortion] is still going on. There’s this enormous number of women having abortions still, but it’s like you had one and you don’t have any sympathy or concern for anyone else. Where is this enormous population of people who personally had this experience? Where are their families?

[Source: David P Cline Creating Choice: A Community Responds to the Need for Abortion and Birth Control, 1961 – 1973 (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2006) 206]

Abortion is highly stigmatized despite many women having abortions.
Former abortion worker Robin Dizard is so frustrated that more post-abortive women haven’t been fighting for abortion rights that she contemplated “outing” her former patients. The fact that many post-abortive women just want to go on with their lives, and others join the pro-life movement, angers her. She writes about exposing women’s secret abortions in order to shame them into being pro-choice, or to discredit their pro-life activism:

[I]t’s something that has been used very effectively in outing [of gay people], for example. I’m not in favor of it but look what it does. And look what happens when the hypocrites who are holding elected office get found out: “Oh, Senator whoever you are, your office is full of pornography, that’s very interesting,” and then the guy pipes down a little bit.

[Source: Ibid. 207]


Ironically and perhaps unintentionally, Dizard compares having an abortion to looking at pornography. This comparison acknowledges the stigma surrounding abortion.

Many pro-life post-abortive women are in fact open about their abortions; they see them as tragic events in their lives. Often, it is the abortion experience that motivates post-abortive pro-life women, whether they feel comfortable talking about their abortions or not.

Abortion worker Steph Herold also expresses her frustration:

We need our patients, who we do everything for, to stand up for us. We don’t need them to tell their abortion stories to everyone they know, although of course that would be great. We need them to fight for abortion access in whatever way makes sense to them. If one in three US women has an abortion by age 45, where are these women? Why don’t they stand up for us?

[Source: Sarah Erdreich Generation Roe: Inside the Future of the Pro-Choice Movement (New York: Seven Stories Press, 2013) 175]

Herold’s fake “one in three” statistic has been debunked.

Herold isn’t seeing the women who had abortions at her facility on the pro-choice picket line.

Abortion facility owner Maggie Cage ran a full-page newspaper ad during Operation Rescue’s campaign. While pro-lifers staged sit ins in front of the facility door, Cage called for her former patients to come and “defend” the facility:

Where are you? Where are all the people we’ve helped over the years? We need you now. When you needed us, we were there. We held your hand and supported you. We see you in restaurants and at the grocery store, at PTA meetings and softball games. You are the businesspeople, the school officials, the politicians, the voters. We kept you safe. We held your secrets. But now we need help. Where are you?

[Source: Susan Wicklund This Common Secret: My Journey as an Abortion Doctor (New York: Public Affairs Perseus Books Group, 2007) 160]

All the current and former abortion workers quoted here avoid coming to an obvious conclusion: many women don’t consider their abortion experience empowering. At “best,” they want to forget about it. At “worst,” they actively work against abortion.

What about the numbers? How many women who have had abortions are active in the pro-life movement vs. the pro-choice movement?

Unfortunately, current statistics aren’t available. But there is an older study, done in 1981, which found that more post-abortive women were involved in National Right to Life than in NARAL (one of the most prominent pro-abortion groups, then and now).

[Source: Donald Granberg, “The Abortion Activists” Family Planning Perspectives July – August 1981]

The study was done by pro-choice researcher Donald Granberg and published in the journal of the Alan Guttmacher Institute. It found that 3% of women in National Right to Life and 36% of women in NARAL had had abortions. At first glance, it seems like women who have abortions are far more likely to join NARAL and be pro-choice. But when you actually count the numbers up, you find that more post-abortive women were members of National Right to Life.

At the time of the study, there were 12 million women in National Right to Life and 156,000 in NARAL. This means that 39,000 women in NARAL had abortions. In National Right to Life, the number was 245,000.

What this translates to, if you do the math, is that there were six times more post-abortive women in National Right to Life than in NARAL.

Of course, there is only so much we can determine from the study. It only includes two organizations (though at the time, they were the largest), and it is from decades ago. So, we don’t know how much it can be applied to today. But it is seems clear that the majority of the 36 million American women who have had abortions are not pro-abortion activists.

[Today’s guest post by Sarah Terzo is part of our paid blogging program.]

Women who’ve had abortions don’t owe loyalty to the abortion industry

Since Roe v. Wade, there have been over 60 million abortions committed in the United States. Even if 40% of those were repeat abortions (statistics vary by year), about 36 million women have had at least one legal abortion in the past 40 years.

Some current and former abortion workers have wondered where all these women are. Why aren’t more of them active in the pro-choice movement? Certainly, there are many who are. But there has been no massive uprising of post-abortive women fighting for abortion rights. Despite high profile campaigns like Shout your Abortion, most post-abortive women keep their abortions to themselves. The fact that the pro-life movement is so powerful, even when such a large number of women have had abortions and would seem to have every reason to support that right, is telling.

Jeannie Jones counseled women and helped them get abortions both before and after Roe. She says:

I became convinced within a year or two of doing abortion counseling to great numbers at Amherst Medical that the whole thing – society’s condemnatory attitude toward abortion – was going to change so dramatically because there were all these women of all ages who had abortions and members of their families who knew about it. They had this experience of making this tough decision. I thought that was going to change the political landscape and I can’t believe [that opposition to legal abortion] is still going on. There’s this enormous number of women having abortions still, but it’s like you had one and you don’t have any sympathy or concern for anyone else. Where is this enormous population of people who personally had this experience? Where are their families?

[Source: David P Cline Creating Choice: A Community Responds to the Need for Abortion and Birth Control, 1961 – 1973 (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2006) 206]

Abortion is highly stigmatized despite many women having abortions.
Former abortion worker Robin Dizard is so frustrated that more post-abortive women haven’t been fighting for abortion rights that she contemplated “outing” her former patients. The fact that many post-abortive women just want to go on with their lives, and others join the pro-life movement, angers her. She writes about exposing women’s secret abortions in order to shame them into being pro-choice, or to discredit their pro-life activism:

[I]t’s something that has been used very effectively in outing [of gay people], for example. I’m not in favor of it but look what it does. And look what happens when the hypocrites who are holding elected office get found out: “Oh, Senator whoever you are, your office is full of pornography, that’s very interesting,” and then the guy pipes down a little bit.

[Source: Ibid. 207]


Ironically and perhaps unintentionally, Dizard compares having an abortion to looking at pornography. This comparison acknowledges the stigma surrounding abortion.

Many pro-life post-abortive women are in fact open about their abortions; they see them as tragic events in their lives. Often, it is the abortion experience that motivates post-abortive pro-life women, whether they feel comfortable talking about their abortions or not.

Abortion worker Steph Herold also expresses her frustration:

We need our patients, who we do everything for, to stand up for us. We don’t need them to tell their abortion stories to everyone they know, although of course that would be great. We need them to fight for abortion access in whatever way makes sense to them. If one in three US women has an abortion by age 45, where are these women? Why don’t they stand up for us?

[Source: Sarah Erdreich Generation Roe: Inside the Future of the Pro-Choice Movement (New York: Seven Stories Press, 2013) 175]

Herold’s fake “one in three” statistic has been debunked.

Herold isn’t seeing the women who had abortions at her facility on the pro-choice picket line.

Abortion facility owner Maggie Cage ran a full-page newspaper ad during Operation Rescue’s campaign. While pro-lifers staged sit ins in front of the facility door, Cage called for her former patients to come and “defend” the facility:

Where are you? Where are all the people we’ve helped over the years? We need you now. When you needed us, we were there. We held your hand and supported you. We see you in restaurants and at the grocery store, at PTA meetings and softball games. You are the businesspeople, the school officials, the politicians, the voters. We kept you safe. We held your secrets. But now we need help. Where are you?

[Source: Susan Wicklund This Common Secret: My Journey as an Abortion Doctor (New York: Public Affairs Perseus Books Group, 2007) 160]

All the current and former abortion workers quoted here avoid coming to an obvious conclusion: many women don’t consider their abortion experience empowering. At “best,” they want to forget about it. At “worst,” they actively work against abortion.

What about the numbers? How many women who have had abortions are active in the pro-life movement vs. the pro-choice movement?

Unfortunately, current statistics aren’t available. But there is an older study, done in 1981, which found that more post-abortive women were involved in National Right to Life than in NARAL (one of the most prominent pro-abortion groups, then and now).

[Source: Donald Granberg, “The Abortion Activists” Family Planning Perspectives July – August 1981]

The study was done by pro-choice researcher Donald Granberg and published in the journal of the Alan Guttmacher Institute. It found that 3% of women in National Right to Life and 36% of women in NARAL had had abortions. At first glance, it seems like women who have abortions are far more likely to join NARAL and be pro-choice. But when you actually count the numbers up, you find that more post-abortive women were members of National Right to Life.

At the time of the study, there were 12 million women in National Right to Life and 156,000 in NARAL. This means that 39,000 women in NARAL had abortions. In National Right to Life, the number was 245,000.

What this translates to, if you do the math, is that there were six times more post-abortive women in National Right to Life than in NARAL.

Of course, there is only so much we can determine from the study. It only includes two organizations (though at the time, they were the largest), and it is from decades ago. So, we don’t know how much it can be applied to today. But it is seems clear that the majority of the 36 million American women who have had abortions are not pro-abortion activists.

[Today’s guest post by Sarah Terzo is part of our paid blogging program.]

Recap: SPL at the Democrats for Life of America Conference

Many of our followers know by now that SPL is run by three atheist women: Monica the conservative, Kelsey the independent, and me (Terrisa), the flaming liberal. Naturally, when Democrats for Life of America cleverly sought out a secular speaker for their national conference in Lansing, Michigan, I was happy to fulfill the role!

I work full-time in the pro-life movement and have been to countless pro-life conferences. The first thing that is noticeably different about the DFLA National Conference is just how much resistance it inspires from pro-choice groups. This year, a local groups took out three (yes three!) expensive billboards with the MSU specific message “Go Green, Go White, Go Home Dems for Life!” Little did they know that DFLA Executive Director, Kristen Day, is MSU alumna! In addition, they dropped off flyers at the conference venue in the days leading up to the event. Similarly, last year at the 2018 conference in Denver, Colorado, a billboard was taken out exalting that “Abortion access is a Progressive Value” and NARAL hosted a press conference outside the venue to address the event!

I find these efforts kind of shocking considering what a relatively small pro-life effort we are. I’ve rarely if ever encountered anything similar at a more traditionally conservative event. Pro-life Dems are often referred to as unicorns, like we’re so rare were a myth. But it’s this effort to counter us that reminds me: Democrats who want to see abortion more restricted than it is today-contrary to the party platform-are actually in the majority. The abortion industry almost exclusively maintains political power through the financial relationship they have with our party. Pro-life Dems pose a unique threat to the future of that relationship.

The conference was lively, fun, diverse, and welcoming. Sure, it skewed a little older and more religious, but the topics and speakers were timely and engaged with topics relevant to us left-leaning types like protecting the life and dignity of immigrants, those who are incarcerated, death row inmates, the LGBT community, enemy combatants, and so much more. It’s pretty cool to be in a room full of people who align so closely in ideology to your own. Especially since being a pro-life activist alone can be so isolating.

I presented a talk that Kelsey, Monica, and I developed together earlier this year, discussing the relationship between millennials, secularists, and leftists, why it matters, and what we can do about it to effectively win hearts and minds for life! Due to the nature of the conference it has a bit more of a left take on the concept but be assured, SPL is nonpartisan and welcome to all! Check it out here.

Then on Tuesday, DFLA hosted a press conference outside the Democratic Presidential debate in nearby Detroit, Michigan. They have created a political action committee to compel a qualified pro-life Democratic candidate to come forward and run for President of the United States in 2020! I spoke about the need for someone to represent the majority of Democrats and even Millennials by supporting abortion restrictions. Kristen Day urged the party not to ignore the 1 in 3 Democrats who are pro-life.

It’s an interesting time for being a pro-life Dem. Our party platform is as extreme as it gets, even calling for an end to the Hyde Amendment, which has saved more than 2 million lives. If you’re left-leaning and pro-life, now’s the time to be heard! Pro-life Dems are uniquely equipped to reach the next generation and replace the abortion influence with a culture of life. And together with our right leaning pro-life fam, we can end the abortion regime in America forever.

Recap: SPL at the Democrats for Life of America Conference

Many of our followers know by now that SPL is run by three atheist women: Monica the conservative, Kelsey the independent, and me (Terrisa), the flaming liberal. Naturally, when Democrats for Life of America cleverly sought out a secular speaker for their national conference in Lansing, Michigan, I was happy to fulfill the role!

I work full-time in the pro-life movement and have been to countless pro-life conferences. The first thing that is noticeably different about the DFLA National Conference is just how much resistance it inspires from pro-choice groups. This year, a local groups took out three (yes three!) expensive billboards with the MSU specific message “Go Green, Go White, Go Home Dems for Life!” Little did they know that DFLA Executive Director, Kristen Day, is MSU alumna! In addition, they dropped off flyers at the conference venue in the days leading up to the event. Similarly, last year at the 2018 conference in Denver, Colorado, a billboard was taken out exalting that “Abortion access is a Progressive Value” and NARAL hosted a press conference outside the venue to address the event!

I find these efforts kind of shocking considering what a relatively small pro-life effort we are. I’ve rarely if ever encountered anything similar at a more traditionally conservative event. Pro-life Dems are often referred to as unicorns, like we’re so rare were a myth. But it’s this effort to counter us that reminds me: Democrats who want to see abortion more restricted than it is today-contrary to the party platform-are actually in the majority. The abortion industry almost exclusively maintains political power through the financial relationship they have with our party. Pro-life Dems pose a unique threat to the future of that relationship.

The conference was lively, fun, diverse, and welcoming. Sure, it skewed a little older and more religious, but the topics and speakers were timely and engaged with topics relevant to us left-leaning types like protecting the life and dignity of immigrants, those who are incarcerated, death row inmates, the LGBT community, enemy combatants, and so much more. It’s pretty cool to be in a room full of people who align so closely in ideology to your own. Especially since being a pro-life activist alone can be so isolating.

I presented a talk that Kelsey, Monica, and I developed together earlier this year, discussing the relationship between millennials, secularists, and leftists, why it matters, and what we can do about it to effectively win hearts and minds for life! Due to the nature of the conference it has a bit more of a left take on the concept but be assured, SPL is nonpartisan and welcome to all! Check it out here.

Then on Tuesday, DFLA hosted a press conference outside the Democratic Presidential debate in nearby Detroit, Michigan. They have created a political action committee to compel a qualified pro-life Democratic candidate to come forward and run for President of the United States in 2020! I spoke about the need for someone to represent the majority of Democrats and even Millennials by supporting abortion restrictions. Kristen Day urged the party not to ignore the 1 in 3 Democrats who are pro-life.

It’s an interesting time for being a pro-life Dem. Our party platform is as extreme as it gets, even calling for an end to the Hyde Amendment, which has saved more than 2 million lives. If you’re left-leaning and pro-life, now’s the time to be heard! Pro-life Dems are uniquely equipped to reach the next generation and replace the abortion influence with a culture of life. And together with our right leaning pro-life fam, we can end the abortion regime in America forever.

Three Major News Items Today

Mississippi passes 15-week abortion limit: Last night, Mississippi governor Phil Bryant signed a law limiting abortion to the first 15 weeks of pregnancy, except to save the life or health of the mother. Here, for reference, is what a 15-week-old human looks like (via the Endowment for Human Development):

While much media coverage noted that the new law is exceptionally “tough” or “strict,” that’s only true if you have a narrow, USA-centric frame of reference. Mississippi’s 15-week limit is mundane in the context of other developed nations like Spain, France, Germany, and Belgium (14 weeks LMP); Italy (12 weeks LMP); Portugal (10 weeks LMP); and Ireland, Malta, and Poland (right to life recognized without regard to age).

Mississippi’s sole abortion business has already filed suit to block the law. It will likely remain unenforced while the case works its way through the court system. The current Supreme Court is 5-4 in favor of abortion, so the law will only be upheld if a Justice soon retires or dies.

Illinois Primaries: Both the Democratic and Republican primary races in Illinois, being held today, are critical for pro-life advocates. On the Democratic side, abortion extremists have targeted Dan Lipinski, one of the last remaining pro-life Democrats in the House of Representatives. His challenger, Marie Newman, is funded primarily by NARAL and Planned Parenthood. Pro-Life Action League, Susan B. Anthony List, Democrats for Life, and many others are working phones and knocking on doors for Rep. Lipinski. Illinois has an open primary; pro-lifers of all stripes, including the independent and unaffiliated, who live in the 3rd Congressional District are strongly encouraged to cross over and vote for Lipinski. We must beat back those in the Democratic Party who would impose an abortion litmus test and treat the fundamental human right to life as a partisan issue.

Meanwhile, on the GOP side, Illinois primary voters have the opportunity to boot Governor Bruce Rauner from office. Gov. Rauner is infamous for signing a bill to destroy the Hyde Amendment in Illinois, introducing widespread taxpayer subsidies for the abortion industry. He betrayed not only those pro-lifers who voted for him, but the more than 144,000 Illinoisans who owe their very lives to Hyde Amendment protections. His primary opponent, Jeanne Ives, is an unapologetic pro-life advocate.

Today at the Supreme Court: The U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments today in National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) v. Becerra. NIFLA is an umbrella organization for pregnancy resource centers and clinics, who are challenging a California law that forces them to advertise abortions. Pro-life advocates from across the nation (including our own Terrisa Bukovinac, flying all the way from San Francisco!) are convening outside the Court this morning to stand up for life and freedom of speech. It’s going to be an incredible rally, and if you can’t make it in person, you can watch it live at the March for Life facebook page.

Three Major News Items Today

Mississippi passes 15-week abortion limit: Last night, Mississippi governor Phil Bryant signed a law limiting abortion to the first 15 weeks of pregnancy, except to save the life or health of the mother. Here, for reference, is what a 15-week-old human looks like (via the Endowment for Human Development):

While much media coverage noted that the new law is exceptionally “tough” or “strict,” that’s only true if you have a narrow, USA-centric frame of reference. Mississippi’s 15-week limit is mundane in the context of other developed nations like Spain, France, Germany, and Belgium (14 weeks LMP); Italy (12 weeks LMP); Portugal (10 weeks LMP); and Ireland, Malta, and Poland (right to life recognized without regard to age).

Mississippi’s sole abortion business has already filed suit to block the law. It will likely remain unenforced while the case works its way through the court system. The current Supreme Court is 5-4 in favor of abortion, so the law will only be upheld if a Justice soon retires or dies.

Illinois Primaries: Both the Democratic and Republican primary races in Illinois, being held today, are critical for pro-life advocates. On the Democratic side, abortion extremists have targeted Dan Lipinski, one of the last remaining pro-life Democrats in the House of Representatives. His challenger, Marie Newman, is funded primarily by NARAL and Planned Parenthood. Pro-Life Action League, Susan B. Anthony List, Democrats for Life, and many others are working phones and knocking on doors for Rep. Lipinski. Illinois has an open primary; pro-lifers of all stripes, including the independent and unaffiliated, who live in the 3rd Congressional District are strongly encouraged to cross over and vote for Lipinski. We must beat back those in the Democratic Party who would impose an abortion litmus test and treat the fundamental human right to life as a partisan issue.

Meanwhile, on the GOP side, Illinois primary voters have the opportunity to boot Governor Bruce Rauner from office. Gov. Rauner is infamous for signing a bill to destroy the Hyde Amendment in Illinois, introducing widespread taxpayer subsidies for the abortion industry. He betrayed not only those pro-lifers who voted for him, but the more than 144,000 Illinoisans who owe their very lives to Hyde Amendment protections. His primary opponent, Jeanne Ives, is an unapologetic pro-life advocate.

Today at the Supreme Court: The U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments today in National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) v. Becerra. NIFLA is an umbrella organization for pregnancy resource centers and clinics, who are challenging a California law that forces them to advertise abortions. Pro-life advocates from across the nation (including our own Terrisa Bukovinac, flying all the way from San Francisco!) are convening outside the Court this morning to stand up for life and freedom of speech. It’s going to be an incredible rally, and if you can’t make it in person, you can watch it live at the March for Life facebook page.

Behind Enemy Lines: Undercover at a NARAL training session

All over the country, student and activist pro-life groups
regularly meet to discuss the intimidating task of developing a sound messaging
program to effectively reach members of their communities. Which key words will
connect with women the most? How do we handle the most difficult questions with
the appropriate amount of care? Often overlooked in all this is that simultaneously,
as a foil to this work, abortion rights advocates are meeting in these very
same communities, discussing these very same issues of messaging. Just as
pro-lifers grapple with how to message about issues such as restricting
reproductive freedom, bodily autonomy, and abortion in the case of rape, conversely, abortion rights activists are laboring to present their views on
parental consent, late-term abortion, and public financing of abortions in the
most palatable terms to the general public. 
Out of a desire to better
understand our opponents’ viewpoints and be prepared for the types of messaging
young women at risk for abortion may be hearing, our Students for Life group
decided to secretly infiltrate a NARAL training session in California.
What we encountered there was a pro-choice movement that is both shrewd in its
marketing and emboldened in its goals.

Messaging Tactics                   
The messaging tactics seem to be emotionally aware and
politically savvy. The issue of abortion was highly shrouded in the language of
social justice. The “lived experiences of women” and “meeting women where they
are at” were highly emphasized. It seemed that the objective question of “the
morality of abortion” was countered with the subjective “lived experiences” of
women obtaining abortions—as if obtaining an abortion was a form of identity,
that could not be understood or questioned beyond the person experiencing it.
Euphemisms were also used abundantly. As the trainer noted, while many
Americans do not mind abortion being legal, a clear majority of Americans have
strong ethical qualms with abortion. As such, the word “choice” can lose its
power if many people view the choice as immoral. Therefore, incorporating more
universal terms such as “economic security” can be more effective. As pro-lifer
writer Jill Stanek has noted, “The pro-choice movement has been reduced to
euphemisms about euphemisms.”
In a moment of shocking honesty in a portion on
parental notification, the trainer noted that many parents do not feel that
their children should have rights to abortion, prioritizing their child’s
safety over their child’s personal privacy. She added that it’s important to
relay to the parents, that of course their
kid will come to them, but what about children who are more unfortunate and
don’t have anyone to trust? Never mind that they’re advocating for the right of
all children to circumvent their
parents; at least the parents they’re talking to feel good about their kids.
For someone willing to be so disingenuous with parents, she was strikingly
honest with us about these tactics.
Above: Pro-abortion signs with “access” messaging

Policy Goals

Another component that jumped out at us was how far the
conversation has shifted as the pro-choice has become more dissatisfied with
the status quo and more emboldened in their policy goals. Long gone are the
reverence for the trimester regime of Roe, the regulations provided for by
Casey, the consensus of Hyde and the cautious verbiage of the 90’s which sought
to make abortion “safe, legal and rare.” In their absence, “accessibility” has become the catch-all word. The NARAL spokeswoman made it
clear that this prioritization of accessibility is the main driver behind
2018’s SB 320 in California, and the 2016 Democratic party platform, explicitly
including the overturning of the Hyde Amendment. When directly asked about this
by one of our members, the spokeswoman said that assuming a Democratic victory in
2020, the overturning of Hyde will be a top legislative priority in 2021. She
also acknowledged that she never imagined a day when two national candidates
would both advocate overturning Hyde. How far we’ve come. It is clear to us,
that within the next 5 years it is highly likely that the battle over Hyde will
be the front lines in the abortion debate.
The Litmus Test
Being as the training was held at a county Democratic Party office, it was only natural that the infamous “litmus test”
question to arise. Ever since Tom Perez’s well-known snafu, Democrats have been
contentiously debating whether their big tent can tolerate the presence of
pro-lifers. It was here that the level of extremism was made evident. The NARAL
spokeswoman said that if they feel confident their candidate can maintain the Democrat
seat in question, then they would primary the only three Democrats that voted for the 20 week abortion ban. She also noted that NARAL endorsed Hillary over
Bernie. This is rather remarkable, given that they did not endorse Hillary in
2008; but Bernie, who has a 100 percent voting rating from NARAL and a 0 rating
from the National Right to Life, made the unpardonable sin of endorsing a
pro-life Democrat from Nebraska. Apparently it is not just pro-life Democrats who will not be tolerated by NARAL, but also stalwart pro-choicers who merely wish to
co-exist with pro-life Democrats.

Conclusion

Having discussed the abortion issue for over 10 years now, I felt
a strange connection with the people there. I could relate to their passion and
excitement about the issues being discussed. I myself have been in many similar
pro-life talks and have the same types of conversations they have with the
public week in and week out. It was interesting to think that these people have
devoted their lives to defending that which my moral intuition tells me is the
greatest moral wrong. In that moment, I realized perhaps they view me and my
friends as doing the same and being equally misguided. 
Although, I can say that the
evening did not end with moral ambiguity. As the training was wrapping up the
spokeswoman did a brief Q&A. Answering one question she tongue-in-cheek replied “We’re very live and let live here” and then belly-laughed saying, “Sorry,
I have a very dark sense of humor.” Dark indeed. 
At last: something we can agree
on.
[Today’s guest post is by Jeremy R.]

Behind Enemy Lines: Undercover at a NARAL training session

All over the country, student and activist pro-life groups
regularly meet to discuss the intimidating task of developing a sound messaging
program to effectively reach members of their communities. Which key words will
connect with women the most? How do we handle the most difficult questions with
the appropriate amount of care? Often overlooked in all this is that simultaneously,
as a foil to this work, abortion rights advocates are meeting in these very
same communities, discussing these very same issues of messaging. Just as
pro-lifers grapple with how to message about issues such as restricting
reproductive freedom, bodily autonomy, and abortion in the case of rape, conversely, abortion rights activists are laboring to present their views on
parental consent, late-term abortion, and public financing of abortions in the
most palatable terms to the general public. 
Out of a desire to better
understand our opponents’ viewpoints and be prepared for the types of messaging
young women at risk for abortion may be hearing, our Students for Life group
decided to secretly infiltrate a NARAL training session in California.
What we encountered there was a pro-choice movement that is both shrewd in its
marketing and emboldened in its goals.

Messaging Tactics                   
The messaging tactics seem to be emotionally aware and
politically savvy. The issue of abortion was highly shrouded in the language of
social justice. The “lived experiences of women” and “meeting women where they
are at” were highly emphasized. It seemed that the objective question of “the
morality of abortion” was countered with the subjective “lived experiences” of
women obtaining abortions—as if obtaining an abortion was a form of identity,
that could not be understood or questioned beyond the person experiencing it.
Euphemisms were also used abundantly. As the trainer noted, while many
Americans do not mind abortion being legal, a clear majority of Americans have
strong ethical qualms with abortion. As such, the word “choice” can lose its
power if many people view the choice as immoral. Therefore, incorporating more
universal terms such as “economic security” can be more effective. As pro-lifer
writer Jill Stanek has noted, “The pro-choice movement has been reduced to
euphemisms about euphemisms.”
In a moment of shocking honesty in a portion on
parental notification, the trainer noted that many parents do not feel that
their children should have rights to abortion, prioritizing their child’s
safety over their child’s personal privacy. She added that it’s important to
relay to the parents, that of course their
kid will come to them, but what about children who are more unfortunate and
don’t have anyone to trust? Never mind that they’re advocating for the right of
all children to circumvent their
parents; at least the parents they’re talking to feel good about their kids.
For someone willing to be so disingenuous with parents, she was strikingly
honest with us about these tactics.
Above: Pro-abortion signs with “access” messaging

Policy Goals

Another component that jumped out at us was how far the
conversation has shifted as the pro-choice has become more dissatisfied with
the status quo and more emboldened in their policy goals. Long gone are the
reverence for the trimester regime of Roe, the regulations provided for by
Casey, the consensus of Hyde and the cautious verbiage of the 90’s which sought
to make abortion “safe, legal and rare.” In their absence, “accessibility” has become the catch-all word. The NARAL spokeswoman made it
clear that this prioritization of accessibility is the main driver behind
2018’s SB 320 in California, and the 2016 Democratic party platform, explicitly
including the overturning of the Hyde Amendment. When directly asked about this
by one of our members, the spokeswoman said that assuming a Democratic victory in
2020, the overturning of Hyde will be a top legislative priority in 2021. She
also acknowledged that she never imagined a day when two national candidates
would both advocate overturning Hyde. How far we’ve come. It is clear to us,
that within the next 5 years it is highly likely that the battle over Hyde will
be the front lines in the abortion debate.
The Litmus Test
Being as the training was held at a county Democratic Party office, it was only natural that the infamous “litmus test”
question to arise. Ever since Tom Perez’s well-known snafu, Democrats have been
contentiously debating whether their big tent can tolerate the presence of
pro-lifers. It was here that the level of extremism was made evident. The NARAL
spokeswoman said that if they feel confident their candidate can maintain the Democrat
seat in question, then they would primary the only three Democrats that voted for the 20 week abortion ban. She also noted that NARAL endorsed Hillary over
Bernie. This is rather remarkable, given that they did not endorse Hillary in
2008; but Bernie, who has a 100 percent voting rating from NARAL and a 0 rating
from the National Right to Life, made the unpardonable sin of endorsing a
pro-life Democrat from Nebraska. Apparently it is not just pro-life Democrats who will not be tolerated by NARAL, but also stalwart pro-choicers who merely wish to
co-exist with pro-life Democrats.

Conclusion

Having discussed the abortion issue for over 10 years now, I felt
a strange connection with the people there. I could relate to their passion and
excitement about the issues being discussed. I myself have been in many similar
pro-life talks and have the same types of conversations they have with the
public week in and week out. It was interesting to think that these people have
devoted their lives to defending that which my moral intuition tells me is the
greatest moral wrong. In that moment, I realized perhaps they view me and my
friends as doing the same and being equally misguided. 
Although, I can say that the
evening did not end with moral ambiguity. As the training was wrapping up the
spokeswoman did a brief Q&A. Answering one question she tongue-in-cheek replied “We’re very live and let live here” and then belly-laughed saying, “Sorry,
I have a very dark sense of humor.” Dark indeed. 
At last: something we can agree
on.
[Today’s guest post is by Jeremy R.]