By Dan Gilgoff, God & Country
The annual March for Life in Washington has long been a Republican/Christian right affair, with messages sent from the White House during Republican administrations and with the Family Research Council playing host to the affiliated Blogs for Life conference. This year's March for Life, held on the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, sees the introduction of new voices to the event: moderate and liberal religious groups that advocate reducing the number of abortions by means other than overturning Roe.
A coalition calling itself RealAbortionSolutions.org, organized by the politically progressive group Faith in Public Life, has bought ads in tomorrow's Washington Examiner and Washington Post Express and on D.C.-area Christian radio to promote a more Democratic-friendly approach toward the "pro-life" cause. The ads promote what they call "solutions based on results, not rhetoric," by expanding adoption, supporting pregnant women and new mothers, preventing unintended pregnancies, and other steps that avoid curtailing abortion rights. You can view and listen to the ads here.
Another progressive faith group—Catholics United—is holding a legislative briefing on Capitol Hill tomorrow to offer similar policy recommendations for reducing the abortion rate. Carrying a banner that says "Congress Reduce Abortion Now," Catholics United allies will participate in the March for Life, distributing fliers to fellow marchers that propose "effective and results-oriented approaches to reducing abortion."
This is the kind of pro-life, anti-Christian right activity that didn't happen much before the 2004 election. Neither of these groups, Faith in Public Life or Catholics United, even existed until after that election. Such groups claimed to have impact in closing the so-called God Gap during the 2008 election, when Barack Obama made gains among many religious constituencies. Now, we'll see if they have any affect on policy with allies in the White House and in control of Congress. Their credibility—and further Democratic gains among religious and culturally conservative voters—depend on it.
Corrected on 1/22/09: An earlier version of this article incorrectly reported the name of one group. The group's name is Catholics United.