A good friend of mine who is a longtime supporter of SPL suggests that "perhaps a different lesson needs to be drawn: the pro-life cause has the wrong allies." When the pro-life movement is allied with fiscal conservatives, who are inclined to cut social programs, it's all too easy for abortion supporters to accuse us of not caring about people after they are born. (I myself described this alliance as "strained" when I appeared on NPR.) The Democratic Party, with its historic concern for those who cannot speak for themselves, would seem to be a better fit-- in theory. In practice, of course, the Democratic Party is married to abortion. So it's only natural that, in a country with a pro-life majority and a two-party system, the GOP would ally with us.
Are Republicans the "wrong" allies? My response is to quote Jason Jones: it's a tragedy that the pro-life flag was not firmly planted in both parties. We must reach out to people on the left as well as the right. But that shouldn't mean abandoning those allies we already have.
What does all of this mean for pro-life political strategy in the short term? I'll conclude with two quick thoughts, and welcome yours.
First, we must be very clear about the fact that pro-lifers do amazing work to provide for needy families through private charity, regardless of the political situation. Pro-life organizations and individuals that do this work are often reluctant to talk about it, possessing a certain humility and embarrassment about "tooting one's own horn." That has to stop.
Second, I've noticed an interesting trend emerging among some fiscal conservatives. Rather than the usual dry talk of waste, balanced budgets, and so on, they have shifted their messaging to focus on the debt we are leaving to our children. In short, they're saying that they do care very much about people who are already born, and using that as a basis for their fiscal conservatism. That could be a harmonious fit with the pro-life position. With a few other tweaks, like an intense focus on education reform, the Republicans could plausibly market themselves as the party of children's issues (including, but not limited to, the child's right to be born).