( – promoted by DD4RP)
Feminist Marjorie Dannenfelser of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List (the conservative counterpart to the liberal Emily’s List) had a column published in HumanEvents.com last month (2-23-09) wherein she criticized Barack Obama’s administration over its obsession to subsidize the abortion industry. However, she opined that Obama’s overreach might benefit the pro-life movement & placed her comments in historical perspective:
It is one thing to take a “pro-choice” position on an issue, allowing others to engage in activity even if one is personally opposed. It is quite another to be forced to facilitate activity one opposes in conscience. Actions such as those can galvanize public opinion and result in the changes the public – not the activists – really want.
For Susan B. Anthony’s best known cause, the cause of women’s suffrage, that moment came long after she died. Public outrage over the jailing and violent treatment of suffragists in Alice Paul’s National Women’s Party inspired President Woodrow Wilson’s linchpin support for women’s suffrage. In an incident dubbed the “Night of Terror,” thirty-three women were viciously beaten while in jail at Occoquan, Virginia. When the women went on a hunger strike to draw attention to the violence, they were brutally force-fed.
Americans everywhere were made complicit in the abuse. The nation objected to its institutions and tax dollars being used to fight the suffrage movement in such a violent way. This event galvanized public sympathy and helped assemble votes for passage of the 19th Amendment.
Similarly, Congress’ passage of The Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 made northerners complicit in the institution of slavery and had the effect of strengthening and animating the abolitionist movement at a crucial point in its struggle. Under this law, Congress required law enforcement officials to return runaway slaves to their masters. The outrage of citizens opposed to slavery who were nevertheless required to return human “property” to slave owners made slavery visible. Those who considered themselves “pro-choice” or moderate on the question of abolition were forced to take sides one way or the other. This turned up the heat of the debate and helped lead to the war that would end slavery in America.
President Obama may very well be supplying an “overreach” moment for the right to life movement by attempting to require taxpayers to fully fund abortions in federal programs and the domestic and international abortion industries themselves. This “abortion industry bailout” during a time of acute economic crisis is a dramatic overreach that far outstrips citizens’ public opinion.
I think Dannenfelser is right. Like Jimmy Carter before him, Obama’s self righteousness on an issue – in this instance it’s the abortion issue – will blind him to the backlash he himself is helping to foster. The mass media’s bias on abortion will ensure that Obama will be kept clueless to the public’s growing resentment against having some of its citizens coerced into violating the principles of their conscience.