Wednesday, May 16, 2007


If Roe v. Wade is reversed (I am too optimistic to say "when" Roe v. Wade is reversed) then the legislatures of all 50 states will have a chance to outlaw abortion. Pennsylvania is one of the states that could outlaw abortion, although I think it is unlikely that it would happen.What pro-choice groups and individuals should be doing is planning now. Who will be calling and emailing others to contact their legislators? Who will be contacting the press? Who has conscientious objection to contacting legislators? Who can persuade such people that such qualms are wrong? Who can call press conferences? What lists of voters and financial supporters are available? Who lives in each legislative district, especially districts with legislators with bad ratings from pro-choice groups?Centrists and those to the left of center, in my judgment, often become paralyzed by issues of procedure and process and stategy. There is a core doubt that the First Amendment really, truly applies to them and that contacting elected officials really means anything. Right-wing groups often get their way because their members either have a stronger sense of personal efficacy or are more easily pressured to act.NOW is the time to work out all these issues. If Roe v. Wade is reversed, we can sure that within weeks--possibly within days or even within hours--bills will be introduced in legislatures around the country abolishing the right to have an abortion and, in some cases, even criminalizing abortions. Those who are pro-choice are not then going to have a heck of a lot of time to engage in detailed strategizing and hand holding supporters who are fearful that contacting elected officials is somehow non-productive, counterproductive, undignified, morally compromising, or a matter of such complexity that only hired lobbyists and Phds in Political Science can do it.The simple, honest truth is that people who participate in attempting to influence elected officials and elections in general have a lot of power to do good or not to do good. Hopefully, over time this group of self-selected influentials will be more representative of the general public than it is today. Right now, the group of people willing to contact legislators on public policy issues has a strongly right of center cast--even in many overwhelmingly Democratic districts. That has to change somewhat if choice is to be preserved around the country and in Pennsylvania.

March 18, 2007



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