March/April, 1998 Volume XII Number 11

Progressive blindness in Oregon

by Paul deParrie

Director and publisher Andrew Burnett has said, "The pro-life movement has gone from demanding the end of all abortion, to calling any politician 'pro-life' if he opposes even one abortion."
Well, folks, we're just about there.
The leadership of the Republican Party consider holding candidates to a "pro-life" litmus test before they can receive GOP funds for their campaigns. Yes, they were gonna finally hold their feet to the fire!
Under this proposal, before the candidate could receive a single penny fron GOP coffers they would have to say that they oppose "partial-birth" abortions.
So now, the "pro-'life" movement which once demanded that candidates oppose all abortions will be satisfied if a candidate states opposition to a single method of baby killing. What a great advance! Thank you, National Right to Life Committee!
[P.S. It didn't "work." The blatant pro-aborts in the GOP managed to keep the litmus test from becoming a sordid reality.]
But Congressmen like Canaday now make their entire careers on trying to pass totally useless bills which devalue children to the point where an abortionist might get only two years in jail for killing in the wrong way!
Right to Life bolsters such foolishness and generally goes to extremes of denial to support the new definition of "pro-life." [Oregon RTL prez, Gayle Atteberry spoke with Senator Gordon Smith shortly after the "pro-life" congressman voted for more international abortion money and ended up still supporting Smith for fear of "rupturing their relationship" and telling The Oregonian, "I am convinced that Gordon is convinced it is a pro-life vote." Honey, when Clinton vetoed the partial-birth abortion ban, He was convinced it was a pro-life action, too.]
Long time readers know that it was Life Advocate which first broke the story about the "partial-birth" or D&X abortions back in February of 1993. But few know about the agonizing discussion that took place among the editors over the decision to run the story.
As I remember it, Andrew first suggested that it might not be such a good idea to run the story.
"It might give people the idea that these abortions are somehow worse than earlier abortions," Cathy Ramey said.
We discussed the possibility that people might lose focus on the real issue -- abortion itself -- and fixate on the apparent gruesomeness of the D&X method. Eventually we decided that the story was too important to ignore but that we would be careful to not diminish the horror of earlier and less ugly-looking forms of abortion. We hoped we had succeeded -- but apparently not.
Even though we ran numerous pieces -- news and commentary -- warning about the danger of focusing on D&X, the whole "partial-birth" abortion controversy has become a cottage industry for some and a multi-national corporation for others. Millions of "pro-life" people have dedicated their time and money to the fight against a virtually non-existent evil while the clinics and the pharmacies go on chugging out death nearly unopposed. Pro-life activism has dwindled. Funding for activist groups has been so bad that the monthly newsletters I get from local groups across the country has dropped from a flood to a trickle.
I don't atribute all of this to the resources that the "partial-birth" fight has drawn off, but it is a serious part of the problem.
The most serious effect is that politicians can now buy off the pro-life community with a little song about their opposition to D&X. Just as Matt Trewhella noted in our last issue, presidential-hopeful Steve Forbes has parlayed this stance into glowing support from Christian Coalition, Concerned Women of America, and others.
I can't say that we at Life Advocate are to blame for this sorry turn of events, but it certainly taints that pride I once had about being the instrument used to break an important story. And who knows whether this would not have still become such a big deal even if we had chosen not to run it -- or at least make it a smaller story.
That's all water under the bridge now, but I would like to think that our readers are savvy enough to see through the smokescreen and devote themselves to activism and support of pro-life work which focuses on the target -- all unborn children.

President Clinton's deposition
The final 'pro-life' benchmark