This week abortion proponent William Saletan at Slate reviewed a conference held at Princeton in October that sought to find areas of common ground on abortion. From it Saletan gleaned 5 suggestions for pro-lifers, in synopsis:

1. Reduce the abortion rate through voluntary means. “Rather than focus on passing laws… study data on why women seek abortions and… systematically address those factors…. Help women avoid pregnancies they don’t want, and you’ll wipe out the vast majority of abortions without having to enact a single restriction.”

2. Subsidize maternity. “Money can’t buy everything. But it can make it easier to carry a pregnancy to term and raise the child. To that extent, it can discourage some abortions.” Saletan suggested both taxpayer support and church support. “Every parish that can afford to should have a women’s shelter designed to support mothers and their newly born children.”

3. Embrace contraception. “[I]f pro-lifers were to embrace contraception and give it moral sanction – it would prevent more abortions than any anti-abortion law would.”

4. Early abortions are better than late ones. “‘And do you think that reducing gestational age of abortion is a common-ground goal?’ [quoting Christina Page]. From a pro-life standpoint, trading late abortions for early ones is hardly ideal. But it’s better than nothing, and if you pursue it, nobody will stand in your way.”

5. Choose your friends by your mission, not your mission by your friends. “[T]he pro-lifers who co-organized the conference… have been derided and accused of treachery [for]… cooperat[ing] with pro-choicers…. The reason why young, poorly funded people represented the pro-life movement… is that the old, well-funded people who think they own the movement failed to show up. That’s the role young people ought to play in history: thinking in new ways and taking on new challenges when the older generation has lost its compass or its courage. If the pro-life movement is going to be a movement and not just a self-congratulatory fundraising machine, it will need people like Gushee and Camosy to lead the way. These forward thinkers may have to choose between preventing abortions and pleasing the pro-life establishment.”


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