This past weekend, pro-abortion activists – afraid the Supreme Court may overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision imputing abortion “rights” to the Constitution – descended on Washington. They called this march the fifth “Women’s March,” first organized by anti-Trump women in 2017. Truth is, the event was replete with irony, represents rising radicalism, is off base.
Obvious ironies were that this march was far smaller than the annual “March for Life” (against abortion), that defending on-demand abortions – let alone “late-term” and “at-birth” – defies rising anti-abortion sentiment, that state legislatures are moving strongly against, that federal rulings continue narrowing the “right,” and that states would retain authority to permit abortions even if Roe is overturned.
Perhaps the saddest irony is that, as of 2021, some 62 million abortions have been performed since Roe. If half that number were girls, a March on Washington of Girls who Perished by Abortion would number 31 million – swamping the agitators, activists, and pro-abortion enthusiasts with voices denied those aborted. And, of course, none of the activists and enthusiasts were aborted by their mothers.
But something bigger is afoot here, an attempt to preserve a waning pro-abortion narrative, federal money flows to abortion providers, undermine the anti-abortion Hyde Amendment, and lay groundwork for a federal pro-abortion law (favored by Democrats) and to “pack” the Supreme Court.
Look at data first. With respect to the ironies surrounding the October 2 “Women’s March,” an attempt to leverage anti-Trump sentiment, consider facts. In 1987, Ronald Reagan, as President, the “March for Life” drew 10,000 in-person participants. By 2013, 650,000 Americans showed up. Even in blizzards, thousands show up, with demographic estimates suggesting half are under 30. See, e.g., March for Life (Washington, D.C.).
Contrast? The October 2 event, which aimed to create a groundswell nationally, drew several thousand in D.C., only 1000 at the latest hub of activism in Texas. Texas passed a law, allowed to stand by the Supreme Court, which protects a baby after a “heartbeat” is detected. Notably, mainstream media outlets fan the pro-abortion message, sliding over the turnout disparity. See, e.g., Gov. Greg Abbott signs into law one of nation’s strictest abortion measures, banning procedure as early as six weeks into a pregnancy; Texas law sparks hundreds of U.S. protests against abortion restrictions.
So, while Democrats push abortion “until birth,” and achieved that outcome in states like New York, conservatives in both parties push to restrict the right, with far more favoring restriction and reversal. See, e.g., New York ‘celebrates’ legalizing abortion until birth as Catholic bishops question Cuomo’s faith.
More data: National polls show open-ended pro-abortion sentiment is in retrograde, while anti-abortion sentiment is rising. By way of example, while polls tend to conflict and reflect the way questions are asked, one 2019 national poll is illustrative.
As reported, the national Marist poll found “overwhelming opposition to late-term abortions,” and “by a nearly three-to-one margin – 71 percent to 25 percent – respondents said abortion generally should be illegal during the third trimester of pregnancy.” See, New poll: Big majorities of Democrats and young people reject late-term abortion.
Moreover, “about 66 percent of adults said abortion should be banned after 20 weeks except to save the life of the mother, while 18 percent said abortion should be allowed any time until birth.”
What does that tell us? While pro-abortion activists would like to push the message that open-ended abortion rights are favored, they are not. The narrative is a false one or weighted in ways that tend to misstate sentiment.
Two last data points.
At present, State legislatures areas they were pre-Roe – strongly anti-abortion. Thus, 47 states have pushed various, measured restrictions on abortion in 2021, continuing trends begun in 2011. Those favoring and disfavoring see it. See, e.g., Florida may consider abortion bill similar to Texas after SCOTUS decision; State Abortion Legislation in 2021; 2021 Is on Track to Become the Most Devastating Antiabortion State Legislative Session in Decades.
Likewise, Federal court rulings continue to narrow the scope of Roe, at an increasing pace – in effect questioning the original decision’s jurisprudence. Thus, a variety of limits have evolved since the 1980s. See, e.g., 2021 Is on Track to Become the Most Devastating Antiabortion State Legislative Session in Decades; A History of Key Abortion Rulings of the U.S. Supreme Court; Abortion rights groups warn of imminent crackdown if Roe v. Wade overturned.
The meaning of recent pro-abortion activism, efforts to ignite, inflame, and fan sentiment in favor of the Democrat agenda – but against the trendline of public, state legislative, and federal judicial sentiment?
The answer is clear. Democrats are seeking to use this moment – when they have virtual one-party control over the Congress and White House – to push codification of an open-ended federal right to abortion, and to use the abortion issue to “pack” the High Court, undermine respect for a potential reversal of Roe, and perhaps even intimidate the High Court into avoiding the controversy.
In the end, this pro-abortion mania – another attempt to leverage anti-Trump sentiment for leftist ends, including cooption of the Supreme Court – will fail. Americans are as tired of being manipulated, being told to resent each other, disrespect their Constitution, Supreme Court, and the other party – as they are sick of being told they must favor abortion at birth. This march – and the ones we can expect ahead – are just way off base.