There are endless arguments within the pro-life movement about incrementalism. I have summed up my own views in an Interim cover story. “How to Chip Away at Abortion” (August 2006). Michael J. New has also written about the effectiveness of incremental laws in saving unborn human lives.
Daniel McConchie of Americans United for Life points to another person who thinks incrementalism matters: abortionist LeRoy Carhart. McConchie notes:
After the death of late-term abortionist George Tiller in Kansas, Carhart reportedly considered opening new abortion centers elsewhere. Now, according to KETV in Iowa, Carhart is going to open three new facilities in other states – Indiana, Iowa, and Maryland. In the KETV interview, he admits that his reason for leaving* Nebraska is because that state’s laws have become so pro-life. In fact, before this current year’s legislative session, Nebraska was 9th on the AUL ranking.
Carhart’s move gives us a great reason to push legislators to pass new pro-life laws. They can make a difference. And after all, no state wants to become the new late-term abortion headquarters for the country.
It would be more accurate to describe Carhart as expanding beyond his Omaha-based operations than leaving Nebraska altogether, but it does appear he must do so out of necessity because of decreasing business in his landmark abortion facility. Nebraska bans late-term abortion because of the pain it causes the unborn baby. In the KETV interview, Carhart says he is going to states with laws that do not restrict abortion so he can continue destroying babies in the third trimester. Of course incrementalism is effective; if it wasn’t, the pro-abortion movement wouldn’t go ballistic over every little change pro-life legislators propose. If it weren’t effective, Carhart wouldn’t be looking for new business.
Of course, the irony is that there will be more abortion elsewhere including Maryland and Indiana where Carhart plans to open two new abortion mills. So while incrementalism is a necessary strategy to help reduce abortion, ultimately the goal must be to eliminate abortion altogether with a federal law or constitutional amendment.