On Thursday night, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) called on anti-choice activists to work together with the pro-choice community to stop abortions. The former Vice Presidential candidate made the request during a speech for the Susan B Anthony List, a group with the goal of electing anti-choice Republican women:
“To advance the pro-life cause, we need to work with people who consider themselves pro-choice—because our task isn’t to purge our ranks. It’s to grow them.[…]
“We understand the best way to advance a cause isn’t to push our political adversaries away. It’s to convince them.[…]
“Labels can be misleading. A pro-choice Republican senator from Massachusetts nearly derailed Obamacare just by being elected. But a pro-life Democratic congressman from Michigan delivered the votes that passed it into law.”
If anti-abortion activists truly want to work with abortion supporters, they should heed the advice President Obama gave in his commencement address to Notre Dame, a Jesuit school that grappled with Obamacare’s birth control mandate: “[L]et’s work together to reduce the number of women seeking abortions by reducing unintended pregnancies… [and] make sure that all of our health care policies are grounded in clear ethics and sound science.”
This requires a big commitment from the anti-abortion community. Conservatives have, for a long time, tried to convince the public that contraception is almost as morally hazardous in their eyes as an abortion. But that is against their interests in terms of reducing abortion numbers: Studies show that greater access to contraception — especially when it comes at no cost to the patient as Obamacare’s birth control mandate does — cuts unintended pregnancy and abortion rates.
They have also pushed an anti-science narrative on Plan B, also known as the morning after pill, by referring to it as a form of abortion when it is not. Plan B, too, has proven to reduce unintended pregnancies.