Time for the anti-abortion lobby to embrace moderacy
Regular readers of the Nexus may recall a story about an American group seeking a "third way" debate on abortion.
Calling itself Faith in Public Life, this group has sought to find middle ground for people of various faiths to find middle ground on various topics, including abortion.
The group has aired ads calling on Americans to think about practical solutions to abortion.
Barack Obama's administration -- despite having earned itself a reputation for being in favour of abortion rights -- has embraced this initiative, and tomorrow will host a conference call between religious conservatives and abortion rights advocates.
The call is expected to focus on practical initiatives to reduce the demand for abortion, which will likely straddle two key goals: reducing unplanned pregnancies and providing women with better options should they find themselves with an unplanned pregnancy.
With religious conservatives being given a voice in what may eventually emerge as American abortion program, they must recognize that they have a golden opportunity before them.
In Comeback: Conservatism that Can Win Again David Frum insists that its liberals, not conservatives, who are extremists on the topic of abortion.
This simply isn't true. For every pro-abortion activist who insists that no constraints on access to abortion -- even constraints on method -- can be tolerated there is a religious conservative who insists that Roe v Wade must be overturned, and abortion criminalized.
There are extremists to be found on both sides of the issue. With the door being opened to a top-level discussion on abortion policy it will be up to religious conservatives to prove that they aren't extreme by pursuing moderate policy reforms.
If religious conservatives begin the process stridently opposing birth control and demanding abstainance-only sex education in schools, this door will rapidly close on them. And rightfully so.
While many religious conservatives may loathe to admit it, coupling their fight against abortion with initiatives that will only lead to more unplanned pregnancies simply will not work, for reasons that are utterly obvious.
Organizations like Feminists for Life -- which counts Sarah Palin as a member -- should come to the table proposing programming that will help young women continue their academic careers.
Catholic leaders should accept programs that will provide high school students with access to and education about birth control.
They should also propose mandatory teachings about abstainance as an option -- as opposed to something taught exclusively -- in sex ed classrooms.
Pro-abortion activists should also soften their position on term limits, and accept that at certain points of a pregnancy -- particularly post-viability -- complete freedom to abort will simply not apply.
They should also drop their objections to bans of inhumane abortion methods, such as partial-birth abortions.
While both sides will have to work together to produce the kind of policy Barack Obama clearly wants, this process will ultimately emerge as a litmus test for the anti-abortion movement.
It can either come to the table with moderate proposals, prepared to negotiate, or it can continue to justify its reputation for extremism. The choice is entirely up to them.