The thousands of pregnancy centers in America today, which offer material and spiritual help to women, did not exist at the time of Roe v. Wade. Will the president raise their visibility and encourage women to seek their help? Will he encourage women who don't want their babies to carry them to term so that others can adopt them? Fewer American women are giving their babies up for adoption. There are approximately 1.2 million abortions each year in the United States and at least that many people/couples waiting to adopt. I conclude that abortion has contributed to the lack of available infants for those wishing to adopt them, which is one reason many couples adopt overseas.
There is heartening news for pro-lifers as evidence has emerged of a slight cultural shift. For the first time since the Gallup organization began measuring opinion on the subject, more Americans self-identify as "pro-life" (51 percent) than "pro-choice" (42 percent). Moreover, Gallup found that momentum is now on the side of pro-lifers. Just one year ago, those self-identifying as pro-life stood at 44 percent and those who were pro-choice at 50 percent. That is a dramatic reversal. In part, it is because of the tireless efforts by pro-lifers through pregnancy help centers, sonograms, testimonies of women who regret having had an abortion and TV commercials. It is also because a new generation has rejected the old arguments about coat hangers and back alleys. Younger people are taking a fresh look at the issue and embracing the moral argument that all human life is sacred, whatever its status.
Politicians are sensing this, which is why Obama is trying to have it both ways and possibly further divide the Catholic vote. But at least he is giving credibility to the moral argument, unlike most of his pro-choice peers. His speech was an appeal for discussion and respect for people with different views. That's a good beginning, but the ending is what counts and the initial actions of this president when it comes to abortion and stem cell research have not been pro-life.
Let's see if he can produce some fruit from what has so far been a dead stump.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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