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How Liberals Dropped the Ball on Abortion

Interviews with over 50 insiders reveal a divided pro-choice movement
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 1, 2019 1:40 PM CST
In this Jan. 22, 2019, file photo, people taking part in an anti-abortion march hold signs as they stand on the steps of the Legislative building at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash.   (Associated Press)

(Newser) – America's pro-life movement is surging, and not just because of conservative activists—at least according to a detailed New York Times piece about the abortion rights movement's fragmentation along political, financial, and cultural lines. "It's really, really complicated and somewhat controversial where the pro-choice movement lost," says a Rutgers University professor versed in abortion history. With Midwestern and Southern states passing 58 abortion restrictions over six months in 2019, many pointed to years of steady work by conservatives to win state legislatures, pressure judges, and, as the Guardian noted in June, gerrymander districts to win state legislatures. But interviews with over 50 people on the pro-choice side tell another story.

They say national pro-choice leaders had become overly confident, relying too much on President Obama's abortion protections and assuming Hillary Clinton would win in 2016. Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood was riven by internal discord and apparently didn't realize the funding problems faced by independent clinics, which perform some 60% of America's abortions. By one account, pro-choice leaders in swanky New York and California zip codes had lost touch with red-state America. Now Democratic Party presidential candidates are pushing back with ardent pro-choice stands, but polling shows America is still only moderately pro-choice. "I hope they continue doing what they are doing," says one active conservative. "We'll run the table in 2020." Click for the full Times piece. (Read more abortion rights stories.)

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