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Abolitionism, incrementalism, and saving lives

By Scott Tibbs, February 28, 2018

I do not understand how anyone can look at the number of abortions annually and the abortion rate per women of childbearing age and conclude that incrementalism has failed. The United States saw 1,608,000 abortions in 1990. The years before and after that saw 1,566,000 abortions and 1,556,000 abortions, respectively. We had 958,000 abortions in 2013 and 926,000 abortions in 2014. The population has significantly increased in that time, so the abortion rate has dropped even more.

Lives are being saved, due to the efforts of pro-life legislators and governors as well as pro-life efforts in Congress. We are not seeing nearly as many babies die a brutal death as we were thirty years ago. Obviously, over nine hundred thousand murders a year is still tragic and if we had any kind of a conscience at all we would be horrified by this genocide. But the fact of the matter is that incrementalism is working.

With that said, we should not abandon the idea of abolition. The heartbeat bill is one tactic that we should use more often, as well as banning abortion after twenty weeks. (Of course, the latter would only protect a tiny fraction of babies killed by abortion.) There is simply no good reason for pro-life leaders to oppose it. Even if it is struck down, we can (and should) still continue chipping away at baby murder with the incrementalist tactics that have saved millions of precious lives.

Are we serious about ending abortion or not? Yes, incrementalist tactics have saved millions of lives, but we are still seeing well over nine hundred thousand abortions a year. Do we not feel the urgency to end this slaughter? What are we afraid of? If the legislation is struck down by activist judges, then we keep plugging away. We chip away at abortion incrementally while also working for legislation to ban it altogether, as Curt Nisly has done in the Indiana state legislature. We are in a better position now for a constitutional amendment banning abortion than at any time since 1973. Why would we not increase the pressure, when we are winning?