Support First Things by turning your adblocker off or by making a  donation. Thanks!

And then there’s this. Writing in the L.A. Times , Frances Kissling and Kate Michelman (former president of Catholics for a Free Choice and former president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, respectively) read the writing on the wall. They lament: “Twenty years ago, being pro-life was déclassé. Now it is a respectable point of view.”

And they explain how this come to be:

Science facilitated the swing of the pendulum. [RTA: Wait, I thought pro-lifers were anti-science.] Three-dimensional ultrasound images of babies in utero began to grace the family fridge. Fetuses underwent surgery. More premature babies survived and were healthier. They commanded our attention, and the question of what we owe them, if anything, could not be dismissed.

These trends gave antiabortionists an advantage, and they made the best of it. Now, we rarely hear them talk about murdering babies. Instead, they present a sophisticated philosophical and political challenge. Caring societies, they say, seek to expand inclusion into “the human community.” Those once excluded, such as women and minorities, are now equal. Why not welcome the fetus (who, after all, is us) into our community?

Advocates of choice have had a hard time dealing with the increased visibility of the fetus.

Somehow, though, they don’t think any of that explains why more and more young people are pro-life. The real reason is something else all together: “Let’s face it: Disapproval of women’s sexuality is a historical constant. So our claim that women can be trusted still falls on deaf ears.” Ahh, yes, that’s the reason!

And they close with this:

If pro-choice values are to regain the moral high ground, genuine discussion about these challenges needs to take place within the movement. It is inadequate to try to message our way out of this problem. Our vigorous defense of the right to choose needs to be accompanied by greater openness regarding the real conflict between life and choice, between rights and responsibility. It is time for a serious reassessment of how to think about abortion in a world that is radically changed from 1973.

Is this the op/ed that will signal the end of the NARAL generaton?



Filter First Thoughts Posts

Related Articles