A pro-abortion group’s 2009 report giving a “D” grade to the United States on abortion suggests pro-life progress at the state level. The report’s description of a murdered late-term abortionist as a hero may even be a sign of desperation, pro-life leaders say.
NARAL Pro-Choice America’s report, “Who Decides: The Status of Women's Reproductive Rights in the United States,” laments the decreasing number of abortion providers in the country. It claims various states enacted 29 pro-life laws but only passed 21 “pro-choice” bills.
According to the report’s analysis of governors and state legislators, states are pro-life by a 2 to 1 margin.
Fr. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, told CNSNews.com that the report shows the failure of efforts to make abortion acceptable.
"They can't take the stigma out of abortion, even if the legality of it is protected," Fr. Pavone commented. "As a result, they face a shortage of practitioners."
The news about individual states’ actions and sympathies also shows the importance of fighting abortion at the state level, he added.
NARAL President Nancy Keenan in her introduction to the report blamed “restrictive laws and outbreaks of violence” for the diminishing numbers of abortion providers. She characterized pro-lifers as “opponents of freedom” who are trying to “construct roadblocks on our path to progress.”
She cited the debate over health care legislation as an example.
Keenan lauded President Barack Obama for his abortion policies and personnel decisions, specifically mentioning Dawn Johnsen. Johnsen, a former NARAL legal counsel, is nominated to become the head of the influential Office of Legal Counsel but she has yet to be confirmed.
She also praised the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Within days of taking office, she said, President Obama “began to undo eight years of damage” to NARAL’s cause.
"He repealed the global gag rule, fixed the birth-control price crisis, re-funded the U.N. population program, and took steps to repeal Bush's eleventh-hour attack on reproductive rights, the Federal Refusal Rule,” Keenan continued.
The “refusal rule” proposed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services would have clarified the rights of health care providers to decline to participate in services to which they object in conscience. The rule would have helped protect individuals and institutions in the medical field who object to abortion.
Federal restrictions on partial-birth abortion and the Stupak-Pitts Amendment against federal abortion funding in health care were also criticized in the report.
NARAL praised California for passing a law that would permit some abortions even if Roe v. Wade were overturned. The group also praised New Mexico’s state funding of family planning for low-income women, including “emergency contraception.”
The abortion advocacy group criticized states that barred state funding of abortions or required parental and spousal notification for abortions. It also objected to Virginia’s provision of a “Choose Life” license plates for car owners.
NARAL’s report was dedicated to the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass), crediting him with writing a 1994 law restricting pro-life activists’ access to abortion clinics.
A second dedication of the report was made NARAL to the deceased late-term abortionist George Tiller, who was murdered at his church last year by a mentally disturbed man who opposed Tiller’s practice.
NARAL claimed that Tiller “compassionately and heroically served women from all across the country in order to ensure their right to reproductive-health services.” The report praised him for “kindness, courtesy, justice, love and respect.”
Before his death Tiller was acquitted on charges of performing illegal abortions. His abortion practice was under investigation by Kansas authorities at the time of his death.
Fr. Pavone said the dedication was consistent with NARAL’s efforts to portray abortionists as “heroes” while depicting pro-life activists as “dangerous or fanatical.”
"With the pro-abortion movement continuing to decline in this country, they are becoming desperate for heroes," Judie Brown, president of the American Life League, told CNSNews.com. "Any organization that advocates for women's health would be opposed to abortions and all its consequences."