Page 8 - The Michigar - Monday, September 25, 1989
Pro-choicers may be
winning political battle
Pro-choice forces appear to have seized the momen-
tum in the nation's renewed battle over abortion, but
anti-abortion activists say they expect the tide to turn as
legislatures - and the Supreme Court - return to session
this fall and winter.
So far, a half-dozen states have emerged as early leg-
islative battlegrounds, but most lawmakers appear reluc-
tant to open the door that was unlocked by the Supreme
Court in July.
"I would say it's basically a standoff," said Lydia
Neumann, a spokeswoman for the Planned Parenthood
Federation of America, which favors access to abortion.
In the nation's two governor's races this fall, pro-
choice candidates have used their viewpoint for its po-
tchtial political advantage, while anti-abortion candi-
dates have sought to shift attention away from the is-
In New Jersey, Republican James Courter moderated
his strong anti-abortion views and is widely perceived to
have been hurt - either by his views or by his waffling.
Democrat James Floric strengthened his pro-choice
In Virginia, Democrat Douglas Wilder is aggres-
sively advertising his pro-choice position in hopes of
gaining ground on Republican Marshall Coleman, an
anti-abortion candidate who is considered the front-run-
Burke Balch, state legislative coordinator for the
National Right to Life Committee, insisted that a
strong anti-abortion position was not a political liabil-
ity. But in general, he conceded that pro-choice forces
have had the upper hand in the 2 1/2 months since the
Supreme Court upheld Missouri abortion restrictions.
"We've seen a season in which our friends on the
other side have had the natural advantages with them,"
he said. "Because it's been a debate not about the spe-
cific legislation but about abortion in general, and with
the considerable funding they've had to...have their say
in the media, they've had their innings."
Pennsylvania and Michigan are the most likely
states to enact new abortion restrictions this fall, while
prospects are less certain in four other states where the
issue is expected to come up before the end of the year.
He said the balance would shift this fall, when legis-
latures begin to consider specific bills and when the
Supreme Court begins another round of abortion rul-
Florida and Illinois are both expected to take up the
abortion issue at special sessions, and abortion bills are
expected to be introduced at a special session in
Thousands of people
gather in front of the state capitol building in Lansing to rally for abortion rights.
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Continued from Page 1
"A sleeping giant has come to
life after Webster and is striding
across Michigan," said the rally's
keynote speaker, National Abortion
Rights Action League Executive
Director Kate Michelman.
Speakers stressed that T HE Y
BELIEVE Michigan's legislators
should be held accountable to the
pro-choice majority. "If they don't
understand, we will replace them
with women and men who do," said
Dottie Jones, Chair of the Michigan
Rev. Charles Bergstrom, an
evangelical Lutheran minister and
spokesperson for the People for the
American Way action fund, said
most mainline religious groups sup-
port a women's right to choose a
safe and legal abortion.
"Too many on the other side
want to impose their morality on us.
On political issues, no one speaks
for God," Bergstrom said.
About 100 Ann Arbor residents
and University students met at
Pioneer High School for a send-off
rally before leaving for Lansing. The
speakers at Pioneer were Ann Arbor-
Washtenaw County NOW president
Jan Ben Dor, Ann Arbor city coun-
cilmember Ann Marie Coleman (D-
First Ward), and former Mayor
In an interview after the rally,
Sen. Lana Pollack (D-Ann Arbor),
who opposes the proposed legisla-
tion restricting abortion, said, "(The
abortion debate) is a political fight
now, and it is no longer along party
lines." Many Republicans were at
the event, she added, ensuring that
the pro-choice message will clearly
get back to other legislators.
The Michigan chapter of the
National Organization for Women
was the main sponsor of the event,
and the many co-sponsors included
Planned Parenthood of Michigan, the
League of Women Voters, Men for
Choice, Catholics for Free Choice,
and Grandmothers for Choice.
College Democrats President
Roger Kosson, one of several hun-
dred University students who at-
tended the rally, said he was pleased
A woman rallies for abortion rights at the capitol; Catholics for Choice
was one of the many groups represented at the rally.
by the composition of the crowd.
"My sense is there are a lot of every-
day people here who have never been
pxitically active," said Kosson, an
LSA senior. "Everyday people are
energized by the Webster decision."
Members of the crowd carried
signs painted with slogans like,
"Mind your own uterus," "My
mother is pro-choice and she loves
me," and "Pope, politician, pizza
maker, PTL's, stay out of my
Unlike past pro-choice 'demon
strations in the state, there was no
counter-protest during the rally.
Emily Emerick, a senior at Mercy College,
rights during the Lansing rally yesterday.
shows her support for abortion
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