Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Anti-Choice Proponents Biggest Losers Of Election 2008

At almost every level, last week's election was a stinging defeat for the anti-choice movement, Many conservatives, contended that Obama will be "the most radical pro-choice president" in U.S. history.

In Congress, supporters of choice rights now hold 17 more seats in the House and at least four more in the Senate, according to NARAL Pro-Choice America. And at the state level, voters in Colorado, South Dakota and California defeated ballot measures that would have banned or restricted abortions.

Colorado voters on Tuesday rejected Amendment 48, which would have defined a "person" from the point of egg fertilization. If the measure had passed, Colorado would have become the first state to grant full constitutional rights to a fertilized egg. The potentially far-reaching ramifications of such a decision divided the anti-choice community, and the amendment lost endorsements from prominent activists who felt the personhood definition went too far. The amendment was defeated nearly 3 to 1.

Although South Dakota's Measure 11 included more exceptions to the outright abortion ban — for example, allowing abortion in rare cases of incest, rape or when the mother's life or health are endangered — than a similar initiative that was defeated in 2006, the new measure was rejected by 56% of voters. According to Kristine Wilfore, executive director of the Washington-based nonprofit Ballot Initiative Strategy Center, which advocates socially progressive issues, the initiative would have set in motion a future challenge to Roe v. Wade if passed. "It was an effort to get as close as possible to challenging Roe," Wilfore said, pointing out that South Dakota already has some of the most stringent abortion policies in the country. "This was just meant to be a test case."

Proposition 4, which would have required parental notification for girls under 18 seeking an abortion and mandated a 48-hour waiting period before the procedure, was rejected by California voters Tuesday by a vote of 52% to 48%. Prop 4 was similar to other parental-consent proposals that were defeated in 2005 and 2006.

Obama's election also dashed hopes within the anti-choice movement for possible Supreme Court vacancies over the next four years to be filled by judges who might support reversal of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision establishing a right to abortion.

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