Time to End the Abortion Wars - The Majority of Voters are Pro-Choice
The extreme right has finally learned the truth: the Bush administration could care less about abortion. His grandfather was the treasurer of Planned Parenthood! The three anti-abortion measure on the South Dakota, California, and Oregon ballots were ALL defeated:
From the country‘s heartland, voters sent messages that altered America‘s culture wars and dismayed the religious right — defending abortion rights in South Dakota, endorsing stem cell research in Missouri, and, in a national first, rejecting a same-sex marriage ban in Arizona.
The verdict on abortion rights was particularly clear. Oregon and California voters defeated measures that would have required parents to be notified before a girl under 18 could get an abortion, and South Dakotans — by a margin of 56 percent to 44 percent — rejected a new state law that would have banned all abortions except to save a pregnant woman‘s life.
"This was really a rebellion in the heart of red-state, pro-life America — the heart of the northern Bible Belt," said Sarah Stoesz, head of the Planned Parenthood chapter that oversees South Dakota. "It sends a very strong message to the rest of the country."
South Dakota legislators had passed the law in expectation it would trigger a court challenge and lead to a possible Supreme Court reversal of the 1973 Roe v. Wade Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion. Abortion-rights leaders said Wednesday that such strategies should be abandoned.
Anti-abortion leaders said the GOP shared some of the blame for the defeat. The Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer, president of Human Life International, said President Bush and other top Republicans failed to campaign strongly for the South Dakota abortion ban and against the Missouri stem cell measure.
The anti-abortion group Operation Rescue said the election results meant any legislation from Congress restricting abortion would be "virtually impossible" for the next two years.
Janice Shaw Crouse, a conservative analyst with Concerned Women for America, suggested that Republicans — some of them entangled in corruption and sex scandals — had lost some of the selling power of the "family values" themes they had pushed in recent elections.
In Missouri, anti-abortion groups, evangelical Christian clergy and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis campaigned hard against the stem cell measure, contending it would condone life-destroying embryonic research.
"I‘ve had several family members that have had debilitating illnesses," said Forck, 50. "It goes against my church, but to eliminate pain in my life, I thought it was worth it."
However, gay-rights supporters took heart at the relatively close results in some of the seven states, notably in South Dakota, where the ban received only 52 percent of the vote.
"It‘s the end of an era for divisive, gay-bashing politics -- at least in the minds of the American people," said Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign.
Similarly, abortion-rights groups welcomed the defeat of Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline, a Republican who had touted his efforts to seize women‘s medical records from abortion clinics.
"It is time to end the abortion wars," said Frances Kissling, president of Catholics for a Free Choice.
One election subplot was a campaign led by New York City real estate investor Howard Rich to promote ballot measures in numerous states seeking to rein in state and local government.
Of nine Rich-supported measures, only one succeeded — a property-rights measure in Arizona that would require state and local authorities to compensate property owners if land-use regulations lower the value of their property. Similar measures lost in California, Idaho and Washington, while Oregon and Colorado rejected term-limit bills, and Maine, Nebraska and Oregon rejected proposals to cap state spending.