abortion will never be restricted in the United States in any serious way. Never. Not in a million years. Americans would legalize cannibalism before they would restrict abortion. They would elect Darth Vader president before they would restrict abortion…
Just because a movement is hopeless doesn’t mean it doesn’t serve a useful purpose, though. The constant agitation of the pro-life movement has succeeded in getting the issue of abortion labeled as “controversial” in the public mind. This is no small feat. Compare what’s happened to other reactionary causes when they ceased to be thought controversial…Most of America, and all of the elite, would like to “settle” on abortion, too. In this case, though, there’s a minority that’s large and vocal enough that they can’t convincingly do it. Everybody knows that abortion is controversial. If I want it outlawed, most people disagree with me, but they don’t regard me as a lone nut.
If the reason for the pro-life movement is to bear witness against an evil we can’t stop, and the best we can aim for is not to get pushed completely out of the Overton window (like all my other beliefs), this affects how we consider the movement’s association with the Republican Party. It’s usual for pro-lifers to grumble about Republicans giving lip service to fetal rights to get our votes but then doing nothing for the cause once elected. What we should remember is that our stated goal is something the citizenry would never tolerate–if the Republican Party were to seriously pursue it, it would just mean its destruction as a viable national party and unimaginable rage directed at us. On the other hand, for the achievable goal of keeping opposition to abortion an opinion that doesn’t get one fired, ostracized, or committed, lip service is the best thing Republicans can do.
In fact, I’d say that this is the main service the Republican Party provides to its voters. Of course, it doesn’t provide it very well, and it doesn’t provide this cover of respectability to many groups that deserve it, but it may be the best that can be done in this age of liberal ideological hegemony and SJW aggressiveness.
Here’s a claim I used to laugh at: if gay marriage opponents play our cards right, we might end up being as successful as the pro-life movement. The pro-life movement always seemed to me a picture of failure. Then gay marriage came, and I realized that a belief can have it a lot worse than abortion opposition. “Racists” have known this for a long time.
Each year, politics seems to be less focused on policy and more on policing thought and opinion. I found it refreshing to hear that President Obama is pushing some policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; from what I’ve seen, the environmental movement as a whole seems more focused on stamping out “denial” and even “doubt”. I myself don’t deny in particular anything climatologists say, but even I was scandalized when a speaker at a regional APS meeting explicitly said that we need to be working to push the “climate change” buzzword because it’s less falsifiable than “global warming”.
I don’t care much what happens to the Republican Party, but while it exists, my only interest is that its most visible face, its presidential candidate, never be pro-choice. Once it seems that the Republican Party has dropped abortion opposition, abortion will cease to be a controversial subject. It will be part of the national consensus, just as the Supreme Court intended. And once pro-lifers are out of the Overton window, we needn’t hope that future Republicans will ever reach out to try to bring us back in.