This piece first appeared online at The Weekly Standard on October 31, 2011.
The unheralded gains of the pro-life movement
By Fred Barnes
Opponents of abortion are rarely interviewed on television these days. “It’s much harder to get on TV than it used to be,” says Charmaine Yoest, who heads Americans United for Life. Bookers of guests for news shows tell her, “We don’t want to talk about abortion. We’re tired of it.”
Perhaps the mainstream media are simply incapable of covering more than one social issue at a time. For the moment, the conflict over gay marriage and gays in the military is monopolizing media coverage, TV and print alike. Abortion is barely an afterthought.
There’s an upside to this for the pro-life movement, a benefit of benign neglect. Foes of gay rights are now seen by the press as fighting the bad war, roughly analogous to Vietnam. Pro-lifers are waging the good war, like World War II. “You get much less grief fighting against abortion than you do fighting to preserve traditional marriage,” says Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List.
If only the media knew. They have missed the most important breakthrough in the struggle over abortion in years: the resurgence of the pro-life crusade. The press elite was beaten on the story by publications such as Christianity Today (“The New Pro-Life Surge”) and Baptist Press (“5 Reasons the Pro-Life Movement is Winning”).
That the pro-life movement is bigger is a given. It’s also younger, increasingly entrepreneurial, more strategic in its thinking, better organized, tougher in dealing with allies and enemies alike, almost wildly ambitious, and more relentless than ever.
All that is dwarfed by an even bigger change. Pro-lifers have captured the high moral ground, chiefly thanks to advances in the quality of sonograms. Once fuzzy, sonograms now provide a high-resolution picture of the unborn child in the womb. Fetuses have become babies.
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