During the current legislative session, more than 300 provisions were introduced across the country to prevent access to abortion, including some of the most severe abortion restrictions we've ever seen. For months, we have been lamenting that these extremist politicians must think we're stupid if they think we won't realize that their legislative maneuvering is part of a coordinated, national plan to outlaw women's health clinics and cut off access to abortion care.
Well at least one former political operative is willing to come out and say the truth – abortion opponents' true goal is not to make abortion clinics safer, but to close all abortion clinics. ...
[Former Alabama gubernatorial press secretary J. Peppar Bryars stated]: "Our goal should remain, as Williams said, to make all abortion illegal and inaccessible in Alabama. And our strategy and arguments should always support that long-term goal…"First of all, I had to laugh at the allegation that we want to "outlaw women's health clinics," appearing in an article accusing us of being deceptive. News flash: gynecologists existed before Roe v. Wade, and will continue to exist after the right to life is restored. Women's health offerings like pap smears, mammograms, STD testing and treatment, etc. simply are not at issue here. "Women's health" is not synonymous with abortion!
Bryars' cool and clear admission of the true goals of the anti-abortion strategy stands in stark contrast to misleading public arguments abortion opponents often make. For example, when Dan McConchie, vice president for legislative affairs of Americans United for Life, is quoted saying: "stricter regulations of doctors and facilities represented a genuine effort to ensure that if clinics are going to operate, they operate to high standards that protect women's health and safety," we can infer that their true concern is less about women's safety and more about returning us to a time when abortion was inaccessible in this country.
And of course, those gynecologists who offer other surgical procedures (tubal ligation, for example) are subject to state safety regulations; abortion is the unjustified exception. The ACLU wants abortion to be called health care, but not be regulated like health care. Not gonna happen.
All that said, I don't think Dan McConchie's quote is at all incompatible with AUL's openly pro-life aims. (Disclosure: I know Dan personally.) His statement, again, was that if clinics are going to operate, we should hold them to high standards.
This is a basic argument from common ground. We may have different ideas about the morality of abortion, but surely we can agree that something must be done about the Douglas Karpens, Steven Chase Brighams, James Pendergrafts, etc. of the world... right?
I guess not.
The bottom line is that abortion advocacy groups are not willing to deal with the subpar abortionists in their midst. (And why should they be? The media didn't blame them for Kermit Gosnell, in spite of the grand jury's clear findings; they know they can get away with it.) So the task is left to us. It's our responsibility. And we will take it on.
The ACLU obsesses over what our "real" goal is, but there's no good reason why we should limit ourselves to a single goal. This is about life and about women's safety.