The liberal past…?

The “Sunday Styles” section of the NYT had two stories out front, which present stark contrasts, both unsettling. One is “Where to pass the torch?” about 70s-era abortion rights activists seeing the ambivalence or indifference of the younger generation of women, even self-described feminists. One subject is Ann Baker, an abortion counselor who is cast thusly:

“I was so convinced that to stay independent, women needed abortion for a backup,” she said. “It was like a calling for me.”

And so, the following year, in 1976, when a counseling job opened at the abortion clinic here, a 30-minute drive across the Mississippi River from her home in St. Louis, Ms. Baker grabbed it and never left, becoming the head of counseling at the Hope Clinic for Women.


In that time, she estimates she has done abortion counseling for 25,000 women and a few girls, some as young as 11, others as old as 53. “It’s been my dream job,” she said. “I wanted to be standing by the side of someone who was making a decision that others would condemn her for, and support her and link arms and say, You’re a good person making a hard decision, and that’s what I’ve done for 33 years.”

But here is the question: As Ms. Baker’s generation approaches retirement — women whose commitment to abortion was forged in the pre-Roe v. Wade days — will younger women take their places at the clinics?

This and other passage from the piece are riveting in their discordance with where people are today, not to mention the moral ambivalence of abortion. But also–for me–in the indoctrination of activism from that era. The unasked question: Where to now? It seems if they don’t move ahead they’ll be left behind.

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posted March 13, 2009 at 12:22 pm

“It seems if they don’t move ahead they’ll be left behind.”
That’s a good thing. At least for those of us who are appalled by abortion. I’m glad that woman feels she has no one to “pass the torch” to.
Unfortunately, though, I think she’s wrong.

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posted March 13, 2009 at 3:56 pm

As a young woman, I remember the arguments for abortion. I did not believe them but I did not feel the need to get involved either until… I discovered how precious those little lives are to God. Then I became an avid supporter of pro-life. Recently I have had the privilege to do something about my pro-life convictions. I have begun praying with the 40 Days for Life movement. We are praying in a Lenten vigil outside an abortion mill near at hand.

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posted March 13, 2009 at 6:34 pm

God bless you, Nancy. As a sidewalk counselor I can’t tell you how much it means to have more people praying at these facilities. Last year at 40 days for life we had the guy from Texas A&M who started the 40 days movement speak outside the Planned Parenthood affiliate in our diocese to kick off the event.

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posted March 14, 2009 at 6:50 pm

There must ALWAYS be the option for a safe, clean, legal abortion, should a woman feel that is her only choice. Also needed is someone to offer options, but not push any of them. Best? Fewer need for abortions by having education in and ease of access to birth control methods. There will hopefully always be folks to help girls and women to the above. It is a woman’s right to control her reproduction.

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