I want to talk about two pro-choice people who have been in the news lately.
The first is a pro-choice activist named Ted Shulman. It seems that this turkey recently pled guilty to making death threats against Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life and Princeton Professor Robert George. He could face up to 51 months in federal custody and will be sentenced on September 12. He has called himself the “first pro-choice terrorist.”
Maybe I’m missing something here, but I’ve done some research and am bothered that I have not seen the major pro-choice groups condemning this nut ball. For many, many years we have been quick to criticize the pro-life movement when they seem to disappear when one of their own engages in acts of violence or, if they do condemn the action, it is always with the caveat that “if the abortionist did not engage in the act of killing himself perhaps this would not have happened” or words to that effect.
Well, this pro-choicer is not going to play games with something as serious as this. Let me for the record condemn the actions of Mr. Shulman and I hope he does serve his time. What this guy did was wrong – period.
The other person I want to talk about is Nancy Keenan, the Executive Director of the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights League, who recently announced that she will be leaving the organization after the November presidential elections.
Interestingly, Nancy said she is moving on because it’s time to let the “younger folks” take over the reins. Now, Nancy is only 60 years old which, to me at least, still seems “not very old” but she makes a good point.
Many years ago, I was the Director of Government Affairs for NARAL. Literally two days after I joined the staff, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed a constitutional amendment overturned Roe v Wade, the Supreme Court case that legalized abortion. During that time, millions of dollars rolled into the NARAL office and it seemed like every day we were hiring a new staff person. Meanwhile, there were rallies all across the country, marches on Washington, television commercials. It was a very exciting time and many younger folks were engaged in the debate.
Ultimately, we won the battle as we defeated the amendment handily. But, once we turned back the threat to legal abortion, many of those activists left the movement and moved on to other issues. That is ironic down side when you win something.
Then, in the ensuing years the Supreme Court, the U.S. Congress and the state legislatures started chipping away at Roe but those battles weren’t “sexy” enough to get all the troops revved up again. There was no prominent “devil” to focus on. On the other hand, the pro-life movement always had the fetus to keep its attention so they kept the pressure up. Later the clinic protest movement grew bigger as some decided to take the battle to the streets, right at the spot where “babies were being killed.”
Polls can always be deceiving but generally it does appear that there are more young folks involved in the pro-life movement than the pro-choice movement. One possible reason is that they now have their “devil” in Barack Obama, who they like to call the “most pro-abortion President in our history.”
Frankly, if I were back at NARAL, I’m not sure what I would do to try to get the younger generation more energized. They certainly don’t remember the old days of illegal abortion and campaigns to try to remind them have failed. Meanwhile, it’s hard to get energized about a right that they have grown up with.
Nancy has the right idea. But she and NARAL have a tough task ahead.
- NARAL President Stepping Down, Citing Lacking Millennial Involvement In Pro-Choice Movement (mediaite.com)
- NARAL Pro-Choice Leader To Step Down (myfoxdetroit.com)
- NARAL Pro-Choice Leader To Step Down (myfoxdc.com)
- President Of Abortion Rights Group NARAL Will Step Down In January (npr.org)
- President Of Abortion Rights Group NARAL Will Step Down In January (wnyc.org)