- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 16, 2003

Nearly 70 percent of Americans say they favor "restoring legal protection for unborn children," according to a new poll that pro-life groups say shows public opinion is swinging their way on the abortion issue.
"This is the new, big change in this country," Sandy Rios, president of Concerned Women for America, said yesterday as she and other leaders of pro-life and traditional family groups released the findings of a Wirthlin Worldwide poll taken last month.
Some 1,000 adults were asked whether, in light of medical advances that reveal the unborn child's body and facial features in detail, "are you in favor of restoring legal protection for unborn children?" Sixty-eight percent of the randomly surveyed adults said they were in favor of legal protection, with 44 percent in strong agreement of such action.
Almost the same number 66 percent said they favored nominees to the Supreme Court "who would uphold laws that restore legal protection to unborn children."
These polls reflect a growing pro-life attitude, said Janet Folger, president of Faith2Action, a new outreach organization for pro-life and traditional family issues. "We have the American people standing with us."
The grass-roots leaders praised President Bush and his administration for their pro-life positions, including proclaiming Sunday as National Sanctity of Human Life Day. "He's done more, practically speaking, than any other president," said Mrs. Rios.
The sanctity of human life proclamation, issued Tuesday, is the second for Mr. Bush, who is following the tradition of Presidents Reagan and George Bush.
The six-paragraph document urges Americans to "reaffirm our commitment to respecting the life and dignity of every human being" and to "rededicate ourselves to compassionate service."
The president acknowledged the significance of the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act he signed last year, which amended the legal definitions of "person," "human being," "child" and "individual" to include any fetus surviving an abortion procedure.
Mr. Bush also restated his administration's support for "compassionate alternatives to abortion," such as group homes for unwed pregnant women, abstinence education and adoption.
"Every child is a priority and a blessing, and I believe that all should be welcomed in life and protected by law," he added. "Through ethical policies and the compassion of Americans, we will continue to build a culture that respects life."
NARAL Pro-Choice America said Mr. Bush's message was out of step with the beliefs of many Americans.
"A majority of Americans believe that women should have the right to choose and that decision should be between a woman and her doctor," the group said in a statement.
NARAL Pro-Choice America yesterday released a state-by-state report on abortion that found hundreds of laws restricting "a woman's rights to choose" and "elevating fetal rights."
Despite 30 years of legalized abortion, "women have fewer reproductive rights than their mothers had in 1973," said Kate Michelman, president of NARAL. With more states "ready to enact further restrictions," she said, there's a clear case "for mobilizing a pro-choice America."


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