Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Dissuading Women from Seeking an Abortion
Guttmacher Policy Review: All That's Old Is New Again: The Long Campaign To Persuade Women to Forego Abortion, by Rachel Benson Gold:
Just days after assuming office, prochoice President Barak Obama laid out his vision for a public policy agenda that would respond constructively to the ongoing national debate over abortion. . . . Within weeks, the administration announced an initiative to seek the advice of a wide range of individuals representing a diversity of views on how to move forward on this presumed common ground.
Leading abortion opponents reacted quickly with alarm. Concerned Women for America President Wendy Wright, for one, requested a meeting with the White House, to protest how the administration's initiative was being framed. Calling concepts such as the need for abortion and unintended pregnancy "completely subjective," Wright argued instead for an explicit goal of reducing abortions.
Indeed, the organized antiabortion movement has never thrown its weight behind efforts to address abortion by helping women avoid unintended pregnancies in the first place. On the contrary, most national "profamily" and antiabortion organizations are either actively hostile to or, as in the case of the National Right to Life Committee, resolutely "neutral" on contraception and family planning service programs. Instead, they have worked to eliminate abortion altogether, by trying to ban the procedure outright. Failing that, or as a way of laying the groundwork, they have promoted a wide range of policies aimed at deterring as many women as possible from having an abortion. Many of these policies, at their heart, are premised on the notion that women who intend to have an abortion (and, to some extent, the public at large) do not fully understand what an abortion really is—and that, if they did, they would behave differently. . . .
Julie Graves Krishnaswami