Some abortion opponents, such as Serrin Foster of Feminists for Life, urge bipartisan efforts to support pregnant young women as they pursue careers or education, so they don't feel financial pressure to have an abortion. But supporters of legal access to abortion look askance at such proposals if they are coupled with calls to take abortion decision-making out of a woman's hands.
For Carrie Gordon Earll, now senior policy analyst for the conservative ministry Focus on the Family, that Roe-established freedom of choice once seemed logical. She got pregnant in 1981 while attending a Christian college and opted to have an abortion.
She recently made a video expressing her regrets.
"I can look back at those 40 years and say without a doubt, the world is not a better place because of abortion, women are not in a better place," she says. "What it has created is a world where you're almost expected to abort if you're pregnant at an inopportune time."
In an interview, Earll mused on how the anti-abortion movement has persevered since Roe.
"We've had 40 years of marketing by Hollywood and the cultural elites that abortion is a good thing, and we still have a battle going on," she said. "We're holding our own."
A similar refrain of perseverance is sounded by Dr. Douglas Laube of Madison, Wis., who began performing abortions as part of his practice a year after the Roe decision.
"It was important for women to be able to legally ensure their right to make their own decision," said Laube, who is chairman of Physicians for Reproductive Health Choice. "But it served to polarize society politically."
Laube is worried by the spread of anti-abortion state laws, but encouraged by the surge of women becoming obstetrician-gynecologists — a trend he hopes will ease the shortage of abortion providers.
"I see the movement toward the religious right being countered by a growing movement among practitioners and advocates for maintaining this as legal," he said. "That means the controversy will continue. But it also means we will hold our ground."
Associated Press writer Emily Wagster Pettus in Jackson, Miss., contributed to this report. Follow David Crary on Twitter at http://twitter.com/CraryAP
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