Blog Post

Why Late-Term Abortion Support is Becoming Political Suicide

Commentary by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS

Leaders of the pro-abortion movement are furious at New York Times opinion columnist David Brooks who wrote a hard-hitting memo warning the Democratic party that support for late-term abortion and even Roe v. Wade is doing nothing more than stocking state legislatures with pro-life Republicans and keeping the party out of sync with most Americans.

Brooks penned his memo shortly after watching the Senate shoot down the Pain-Capable Infant Protection Act when only three Democrats voted in favor of the bill which would ban most abortions after 20 weeks.

“Yet as I was watching I kept wondering: How much is our position on late-term abortions hurting us? How many progressive priorities are we giving up just so we can have our way on this one?” he asks.

As he goes on to detail, the Democratic party’s support for abortion has already cost it far more than it has benefited – and it all began with Roe v. Wade which drew supporters of life out of the party and into the ranks of the Republicans.

“The G.O.P. became an alliance between its traditional pro-business wing and its burgeoning pro-life wing. Millions of Americans became single-issue voters. They consider the killing of the unborn the great moral issue of our time. Without pro-life voters, Ronald Reagan never would have been elected. Without single-issue voters who wanted pro-life judges, there would never have been a President Donald Trump.”

And by continuing their hardline support for abortion up to the point of birth, the party has suffered devastating losses in state houses across the country.

For example, the GOP controls the governorship and both houses of government in 26 states compared to the Democrats ruling in only 6. To the Democrats 15 governors, the Republicans have 34.

However, if Roe was overturned, he believes that roughly 21 states would outlaw the procedure and 20 others would keep it legal with the vast majority coming up with a compromise that allows it in the first few months but makes it difficult after that point.

“That’s what most Americans support,” he rightly states.

Overturning Roe might also depolarize the issue and perhaps draw pro-life voters away from national elections where they have been able to make a huge difference in crucial elections.

David Brooks

“Single-issue anti-abortion voters would no longer be automatic Republicans. The abortion debate would no longer be an absolutist position on one side against an absolutist position on the other,” he surmises.

He’s calling upon the Democratic party to acknowledge their vulnerability and realize how toxic it is becoming to support late-term abortion, especially in the face of scientific advances that have made it possible for babies to survive at 22 weeks.

These advances are precisely why the party should not be foolish enough to take millennial voters for granted.

“Boomers saw the pro-choice movement as integral to their feminism. Millennials do not,” he states.

He’s got the statistics to back up that statement. In 1991, 36 percent of young voters believed abortion should be permitted in all circumstances. Now, just 24 percent do.

“Young voters don’t like the Republican total ban. But they don’t like our position, either. Moreover, young pro-choice voters are much more ambivalent or apathetic than young pro-life ones," Brooks writes.

He concludes by asking the party to rethink their priorities.

“What does America need most right now? One of our talking points is that late-term abortions are extremely rare. If they are extremely rare, why are we giving them priority over all of our other issues combined?”

As National Review reported, the leaders in the abortion movement were incensed by his memo, accusing him of interfering with a woman’s right to choose.

Emily Cain, executive director of EMILY's List, issued the following pro-abortion boilerplate response:

"Just what women needed — another man arguing that we'll be better off if we let Republicans overturn Roe v. Wade," responded Emily Cain of EMILY’s List.

“Republicans and certain media commentators should know we'll never stop fighting to elect pro-choice Democratic women to office who will fight the GOP's dangerous anti-choice agenda. Republicans have ignored the economic realities faced by women for decades, and they'll keep doing it at their peril. Women won't go back."

NARAL and Planned Parenthood also weighed in, essentially telling Brooks to shut-up- and-sit-down.

As the Review’s Alexandra DeSanctis writes, instead of seeing how Brooks’ memo provided a rational explanation of why it’s politically suicidal for Democrats to unequivocally embrace the abortion-on-demand agenda, they proved that a “substantial wing of their party is occupied by activists for whom abortion is nothing short of a sacred calf. As Brooks’s column has proven, any attack on that idol is akin to sacrilege.”

In the end, “[T]heir fury proved his point even better than he could.”

We can only pray that these tough questions from “one of their own” will encourage the party’s leaders to do a little soul-searching about what is becoming an increasingly indefensible position on one of the most important civil rights issues of our time – the right to life.

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