- - Thursday, October 30, 2014

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

With the recent collapse of the liberal establishment’s favorite “war on women” screed, it’s time to acknowledge a little discussed political truth: Life is a winning issue. Indeed, regardless of whether citizens describe themselves as “pro-life” or “pro-choice,” there is much upon which most can agree when it comes to applying common sense, even to such a volatile and controversial issue as abortion.

As Election Day 2014 approaches, the political momentum favors those candidates who stand for life. First, as a matter of the best public policy, the life issue involves not only the protection of the unborn, but also the protection of women. Most Americans would not want their daughters, wives or sisters to have an abortion surgery performed in a substandard facility or by a clinician who is neither licensed nor credentialed. Most assume that both abortion facilities and clinicians are held to the same standards as medical facilities and professionals — and they are surprised when they learn that in most states, they are not.

Second, Americans are beginning to discover that the true “extremists” in the abortion debate are the pro-abortion candidates. Many citizens don’t realize that the United States is one of four out of 195 nations with the most extreme abortion laws in the world, allowing for abortion through all nine months of pregnancy, for any reason at all, and even with taxpayer subsidies. For abortion advocates, no limits on abortion of any kind are acceptable.

The abortion lobby’s opposition to common-sense laws is inconsistent with the prudent approach most Americans expect. A recent CBS News poll revealed that 60 percent of Americans believe abortion should be “available under stricter limits” or not at all.

The extremism of the abortion lobby and their political allies is also exposed by lawsuits filed around the country opposing health and safety standards for women, even in light of the deaths of women in abortion clinics. That pro-abortion candidates would object to commonly recognized health and safety standards simply doesn’t make sense to most voters.

Third, the polling trends favor those candidates who support life. For example, when it comes to raising health and safety standards and regulating the abortion industry, 62 percent of Americans favor increased abortion restrictions, including prohibiting abortion after 20 weeks (five months) of pregnancy. Also, increasingly, Americans are self-identifying as “pro-life,” and even the pro-abortion Planned Parenthood Action Fund is urging candidates to move away from the “pro-choice” label because it conjures up abortion practices, which most Americans find offensive.

Fourth, as the abortion lobby has moved from choice to coercion, people have become aware that the federal government is prepared to seize funds, shut down businesses, destroy jobs and ignore constitutional rights to forcibly impose abortion throughout society. The overreach through laws such as Obamacare highlights the willingness of the left to use government power to mainstream abortion. In fact, the Government Accountability Office has recently verified that contrary to the law and President Obama’s promises, taxpayer funds are indeed being used to subsidize health insurance plans that cover abortion. It is not surprising, then, that Democratic candidates for federal office have distanced themselves from Obamacare and the Obama administration in general.

Prospective officeholders win when they stand with women, holding the abortion industry accountable for its actions. Prospective officeholders win when they illustrate the radical reality of abortion policy in the United States and that there are no limits on abortion that those making money from it will accept.

Prospective officeholders also win when they show just how much money the abortion lobby is taking from Americans while forcing businesses and nonprofit employers to fund either abortion or life-ending drugs and devices, often in disregard of the First Amendment conscience rights of their owners and managers.

The 2014 election, particularly in those states that have contested campaigns for U.S. Senate, will be a referendum on the policies of the Obama administration, just as the president said. Voters are increasingly growing weary of the broken promises and the extreme positions taken by intolerant pro-abortion politicians who have fought nuns, business owners and individuals who do not want to be compelled to fund anti-life policies and life-ending drugs and devices. Polling indicates that pro-life voters outnumber those who support abortion over all other issues.

When presented with the facts, Americans overwhelmingly favor a common-sense approach to handling challenging policy issues, such as abortion. When the abortion issue is properly handled and discussed on the campaign trail, candidates who support life can and will be successful at the ballot box. Candidates who avoid the issue do so at their peril and miss an opportunity not only to educate, but equally important, to win.

Ovide Lamontagne is general counsel with Americans United for Life.


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