Pro-Life Battle Moves To States, Incremental Strategy Is Key

Smart politics are in order.

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Conservative leader L. Brent Bozell III understands that half a loaf is better than no bread at all.

Bozell: The greatest danger occurs at the moment of victory. That maxim, attributed to Napoleon, is particularly applicable to the American pro-life movement. Yes, Roe v. Wade has been overturned, and that victory is worth celebrating. But the war — or at least other significant battles — can still be lost without continued vigilance and a coherent strategy. And if abortion is codified through federal legislation, it could be every bit as legal as Roe was not.

It’s important to recognize that abortion activists remain a major force in the field. In fact, the Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health decision has served as a rallying point for them.

Just 24 hours after Roe’s reversal, donations to Planned Parenthood increased 40-fold over their typical daily take, with more than half of contributions coming from first-time donors. And more than 20 woke corporations are offering to cover expenses for employees traveling to get out-of-state abortions.

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Most significantly, though, pro-abortionists can still count on the left-wing media to serve up one-sided, unquestioning stories that dutifully repeat their colorful falsehoods, exaggerate the ramifications of the Dobbs decision, paint defenders of life as being extremist and hijack the narratives surrounding the issue.

Even before the next phase begins, the pro-abortion left has muddled the issue with unfounded claims that women will be forced into pregnancy as a result of the ruling, and with false assertions that the ruling takes away the “constitutional right to abortion.”

After Dobbs, the abortion debate now moves to the nation’s various state legislatures, finally allowing American citizens to have a voice in one of the most contentious issues of our time. But given the powerful and motivated forces mobilizing against the innocent, it’s important to recognize that an incrementalist approach will be required.

In states with strong voter support for full abortion bans, by all means, legislatures should act without delay to seize the moment. But the same approach in states where support for an outright ban is tepid at best, not only risks legislative defeat, but could also serve to rally the left’s activist base and provide fresh opportunities to reverse our Dobbs victory.

If the pro-life movement instead pursues an incrementalist strategy in those states, it would inevitably result in a permanent triumph for the innocent unborn. Polling reveals that 70 percent of Americans generally favor abortion restrictions after the first trimester. Even among those who identify as “pro-choice,” 55 percent support abortion restrictions of some kind. These numbers clearly show that it’s possible to win approval for legislation that at least places some limits on abortion…

As the pro-life movement enters its next phase, a strategy that pursues full abortion outlaws where possible while adopting incremental gains offers the best way forward to secure not just one victory, but a permanent victory for life.

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