Is Time Hoping for a Civil War in the Pro-life Movement?

July 29th, 2013 8:54 PM

Recent polls show Americans are perfectly okay with legislation being pursued in statehouses across the fruited plan to institute a ban on abortions occurring after the 20th week of pregnancy. This is despite a drumbeat of media puffery to glorify pro-choice absolutists like Texas State Sen. Wendy Davis (D) and to attack the successful pushes for abortion-regulating legislation in Ohio, North Carolina and Texas. So what's the liberal media to do as they are finding out their hard work has been for naught? Why, try to convince Americans that the pro-life movement is on the verge of a bitter civil war.

On July 24, Time magazine's Grace Wyler filed a story on how the "Personhood Movement Continues to Divide Pro-Life Activists." Wyler zeroes in on an isolated incident from Wisconsin to make her case. The core of her piece is summed up with this excerpt:

There are folks even in the pro-life movement who believe that there should be exceptions to abortion, so there is going to be some tension in the pro-life movement over personhood,” says Matt Sande, legislative director for Pro-Life Wisconsin, a pro-personhood group that pushed for the amendment. “The incremental approach is not working — the number of abortions is climbing over time. We need to end this. We need to end surgical abortion, without exception, without compromise, without apology. And that’s what personhood does.”

In Wisconsin, mainstream pro-lifers have been frustrated by the personhood movement’s lack of pragmatism and black-and-white view of what they see as complicated political, legal, biological and moral questions.

The state’s largest pro-life group, Wisconsin Right to Life, has opposed the recent personhood push, warning that the proposed amendment will waste money, time and potentially hurt the state’s pro-life efforts in the long run.

“I don’t want to talk about the personhood amendment anymore. I’m done talking about the personhood amendment,” says Sue Armacost, the legislative director of Wisconsin Right to Life. “This particular measure might sound good from a pro-life perspective, but it’s not going to save one single life.”

A disagreement over policy is a sign for an irreparable separation?  If that’s the case, Wyler should note that the Democratic Party – and the political left in general – is fraught with differences of opinion which should most certainly mean their doom.

What’s more is that Wyler included statements in her piece that negates her thesis of a pro-life divide. In the closing of her piece, she buried Charmaine Yoest of Americans United For Life’s statement, which said that the pro-life movement “isn’t a one size fits all" kind of deal.

What's more, Wyler noted that most pro-life groups have distanced themselves from Personhood groups.  In short, the Personhood supporters represent a passionate and vocal, but minority wing of the movement. Their passion and commitment to the pro-life cause is beyond doubt, but their tactics and strategy for waging the ongoing fight for the hearts and minds of Americans is disputed by those who favor a more incremental approach.

In all, it’s disingenuous to turn a state/local issue to construct a shoddy narrative that the pro-life movement is in a state of civil war, but it's perfectly understandable that the liberal media would want to encourage these internal debates to become full-fledged wars, all the better to arrest the progress of the pro-life movement on the national and state stages.