I regret to report it was pro-life dissidents who caused the defeat of the South Dakota abortion ban initiative and worsened the lopsided trouncing of the Colorado personhood amendment. According to Medical News Today:

The defeat of abortion ballot measures across the country… may have been the result of divisions among anti-abortion groups. …

Opposition to the measure in South Dakota came from the anti-abortion groups American Life League and South Dakota Right to Life. The groups did not support the measure because of its exceptions to the abortion ban – cases of rape or incest or in narrowly defined instances “to preserve the health or life of the woman.” …

Voters defeated South Dakota’s measure by 55 percent to 45 percent, but the state produced a win for Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain, who opposes abortion rights. …

In Colorado, the failed Amendment 48 measure … found opposition from Americans United For Life and National Right to Lif e, which questioned the timing and the approach of the measure. …

The Tennessean added:

“Some of the strongest opponents of abortion may have been responsible for (the South Dakota) measure’s defeat,” said Bob Burns, a retired South Dakota State University political science professor. “… The Catholic Church had an ambivalent position.”

Meanwhile, abortion-rights supporters cautiously celebrated their victory at the polls.

As did some pro-life groups, unabashedly. I received this e-mail from a hardliner:

The bad news is Obama won. The good news is McCain lost. The bad news is that the personhood amendment failed. The good news is that the South Dakota abortion “ban” failed. The bad news is that Michigan voted to allow stem cell research. The good news is that California’s parental notification law failed. The bad news is that Washington voted to allow doctor-assisted suicide. The good news is that more and more pro-lifers are unwilling to waiver on their pro-life stance. Amen!

Two weeks after receiving that note, I’m still appalled.

It was “good news” a law was defeated mandating that young girls in one of the highest aborting states seek counsel from parents before aborting, legislation proven to rescue not only babies but their mothers from destruction?

“Amen” to the defeat of another law that would have saved 99 percent of all aborted babies in another state? In real numbers, that is approximately 675 annually. I can see them all in my mind’s eye, being told they must die for the sake of the 75 babies we can’t save anyway. It’s the principle?

Pro-lifers and pro-aborts on the same side? Hello?

The fact is groups at both ends of the pro-life ideological spectrum are actively sabotaging pro-life efforts with which they disagree, bound by a common fault: perfectionism.

Purist hardliners believe any pro-life law with exceptions such as for rape and incest means, “and then you can kill certain babies.” They believe attempting to limit abortions through such laws as parental notification or women’s right-to-know are actually forms of permission. They believe pro-lifers should only support perfect pro-life bills and perfect pro-life political candidates. Their goal is to pass a constitutional human life amendment.

Purist hardliners opposed the South Dakota and California proposals but supported the Colorado personhood amendment.

On the other side are incrementalists who believe abortion will be conquered one bite at a time by passing laws slowly regulating it to death.

Incrementalist hardliners opposed the South Dakota measure because they feared it wouldn’t survive a Supreme Court challenge. They feared Obama would win and add to the number of pro-Roe justices, already in the majority. They opposed the Colorado personhood amendment for that reason and also because they feared a huge loss would look bad for our side. They supported the California parental notice proposition.

I’ll add that certain incrementalists lobbied the bishops in both Colorado and South Dakota to oppose the pro-life endeavors, causing their “ambivalence.”

My problem with incrementalist hardliners is they operate from a place of fear. Jesus said we’re to be shrewd as snakes, but when at a certain point we behave more like the 10 spies who scouted Canaan, I’m out. Isaiah 46:12-13: “Listen to me, you stubborn people who are so far from doing right. For I am ready to set things right, not in the distant future, but right now!” In other words, it is never wrong to do the right thing. This is not blind faith.

But my problem is more with the purist hardliners. They’re irrational. They ignore arguments comparing the incremental approach, with which I agree – saving babies when we can until we can save them all – to the Underground Railroad or the Oscar Schindlers and Corrie ten Booms of the Holocaust.

This debate isn’t even comparable to “Sophie’s Choice,” being forced to choose which children live or die. All children slated for abortion are going to die. But if given the opportunity, do we not rescue any of them? Purists say no, not unless we can rescue all of them.

Somehow I doubt purists would have argued to let their own children die on the Titanic, since the number of people far outnumbered the seats on lifeboats.

Beyond the fact certain pro-life groups purposefully sentenced countless babies to death in the 2008 election is the fact they set back the entire movement. We could have won in South Dakota. Imagine how that victory would have snowballed around the country. That moment is now gone … forever?

Ah, but Obama won and our fears were confirmed, I hear incrementalist hardliners say.

Self-fulfilling prophecy, I say.

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