- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 14, 2006

There’s a Rolling Stone-style irony about what liberal groups demand of Judge Sam Alito. While they may not get what they want, they will get what we need.

What do they purport to want? “Mainstream.” The Coalition of groups against Judge Alito objects to him on the grounds America needs a “mainstream nominee.” What they of course really ask for — among other things — is someone who will uphold Roe v. Wade and keep abortion law as is: no restrictions whatsoever. Senate Judiciary Democrats have already made it clear in their opening statements that supporting Roe is a “mainstream” must-have. Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois says Judge Alito’s abortion track record “raises troubling questions.” Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts is “genuinely troubled” by it. California Sen. Diane Feinstein sees trouble on the way also, already threatening to filibuster if the judge fails to proclaim fidelity to Roe. Clearly, with Judge Alito, they are not getting what they want.

Despite the intensity of demands from feminists like the National Organization for Women’s “Enraged and Engaged” Coalition, in Judge Alito, we are likely to get what America needs and asked for in the 2004 election. The Susan B. Anthony List saw this as particularly true for women in our electoral successes and mobilization efforts. So, if these Anti-Alito feminist groups want mainstream rulings on abortion law, America will be well served if Judge Alito is confirmed.

Why? We know so far Judge Alito will not pledge to uphold Roe, just as he won’t predict exactly how he’ll rule on future cases. If there is any chance the will of mainstream America, trending pro-life, will find its way into abortion law, the genuine mainstream will be served by having Judge Alito on the high court. Rolling Stones aside, the real and laughable irony is the Anti-Alito crowd insists on a mainstream nominee with the hope mainstream, reasonable limits on abortion never become law.

But again, reasonable restrictions are what America asked for on Election Day 2004. The American political landscape has been and is increasingly trending in a pro-life direction. This is also true of American women. The ballot box reflects the mainstream better than any other instrument in our democracy, and it has spoken. The numbers from Election Day 2004 say pro-life voters outvoted pro-abortion voters, and pro-life women outvoted pro-abortion women.

This is clear in the Senate results. Of the nine new senators, seven are pro-life. It could not have been made clearer in the election that the Senate would be the decision center for the direction of the nation’s courts on abortion law.

And in the House — the chamber most responsive to public opinion because of its short election cycle — 20 of the 38 new representatives elected in 2004 are pro-life. One reason pro-life candidates may have fared so well in the last election involves the fact voters see their votes overturned time and time again on abortion. In 2003, Congress passed and President Bush signed a mainstream initiative — the Partial Birth Abortion ban. An overwhelming majority of Americans supported the ban. According to a July 2005 Quinnipiac poll, 77 percent of American women support such a ban. But is this mainstream law now enforced? No. Like a host of other reasonable abortion restrictions, it has swum downstream with Roe and is headed for a second Supreme Court review.

The Supreme Court struck down state Partial Birth Abortion bans in 2000 and is slated to review the federal law passed in 2003. But shall mainstream electoral and legislative be allowed to prevail or will the courts again block the popular will?

Mrs. Feinstein does American women no favors in presuming to speak for us on the abortion issue. Women are more pro-life than pro-abortion. The evidence? Take the Susan B. Anthony List’s polling in eight targeted presidential battleground states with tight Senate races. It showed abortion moved inconsistent women voters more than any other issue.

Women mobilized to vote on that issue voted for Mr. Bush over John Kerry in six of those eight states. In the targeted Florida, Louisiana and Missouri Senate races; women supported the pro-life over the pro-abortion candidate.

In that same 2004 election, 77 percent of candidates supported by the Susan B. Anthony List because of their pro-life position won. Compare that to our far wealthier nemesis, EMILY’s List, whose win record was a mere 33 percent.

(Susan B. Anthony List’s goal is to increase the percentage of pro-life women in Congress. EMILY’s List does the same for pro-abortion women.)

Opinion polls consistently bear out this trend among Americans, among women and young women in particular. Seventy percent of high-school senior girls polled in a January 2005 Hamilton College/Zogby poll said they “would not consider abortion if they became pregnant.” Mainstream opinion is not in sync with Roe v Wade, which allows for any abortion at any time during pregnancy for any reason.

What women and all Americans need is the uniquely democratic privilege of enacting authentic mainstream legislation on an issue that touches millions of women and most families intimately at some time or other.

In 2006 America, the following statement is true: All Americans, including American women are not getting any satisfaction from the democratic process on our nation’s abortion laws. Time to get what we want and need.

MARJORIE DANNENFELSER

President of the Susan B. Anthony List, a 501 (c)(4) nonprofit membership organization with a connected political action committee and more 140,000 members nationwide.

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