President Obama has promised to pass a "Freedom of Choice Act" to ban abortion restrictions, yet hasn't lifted a finger; nor have pro-choice advocates raised a fuss. With Democrats in Congress and a liberal national mood, why not strike now? Because the controversy over partial-birth abortion settled the issue years ago, Jon A. Shields writes in The New Republic.
With grisly drawings of speared fetuses, pro-life groups turned the public against the procedure, and abortion in general. But the partial-birth abortion ban also robbed pro-lifers of “one of the few campaigns that moved the national conscience," writes Shields. Simultaneously, it made Roe v. Wade acceptable—after all, Americans concluded, "our abortion laws are relatively restrictive." Now both sides of the debate prefer to keep quiet.