NEW YORK — A new Time magazine cover story contends that pro-life advocates have been “winning the abortion war” through legislative successes, changes in public opinion and new ultrasound technology that shows the unborn baby.
“Pro-choice activists have been outflanked by their pro-life counterparts, who have successfully lobbied for state-based regulations that limit access,” writer Katie Pickert said on the Time website Jan. 3. “The pro-life cause has been winning the abortion war, in part, because it has pursued an organized and well-executed strategy. But public opinion is also increasingly on their side.”
Pickert made her case in the Jan. 14 Time cover story "What Choice?" The magazine cover says: “40 years ago, abortion-rights activists won an epic victory with Roe v. Wade. They’ve been losing ever since.”
“In many parts of the country today, obtaining an abortion is more difficult than at any point since the 1970s,” Pickert said.
Fewer doctors are willing to perform abortions, and the number of abortion facilities has declined from 2,908 in 1982 to 1,793 in 2008. The venue for abortions has shifted from hospitals to specialized facilities, which are easier targets for pro-life advocates and legislators.
In Pickert’s reckoning, pro-life legislative successes include various requirements, such as mandatory counseling, ultrasounds and waiting periods for women considering abortion; parental-notification requirements for minors; and new regulations on what facilities and abortionists may perform abortions.
In 2011, a record 92 bills that regulate abortions passed in 24 state legislatures.
Pickert cited surveys that report about 75% of Americans believe abortion should be legal in some or all cases, but most Americans also support state regulations, and only 41% of Americans self-identify as “pro-choice.”
“In a dynamic democracy like America, defending the status quo is always harder than fighting to change it,” she said.
She said there is a “generational divide,” with young pro-abortion-rights feminists not joining the feminist organizations that advanced legal abortion. However, she said these activists have an advantage over their elders in being more adept at Internet activism and being more relatable because of their age.
Pickert’s article said that pro-abortion activists are expanding their work beyond the term “pro-choice,” which some of them say is limited and outdated. They are now joining legal abortion to a broader agenda that includes child care, health insurance and economic opportunity, as well as contraception access and homosexual rights.