Ice, Ice, Baby

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Jan. 23 2014 8:52 AM

Ice, Ice, Baby

My story on yesterday's March for Life, and on some fresh thinking in the pro-life movement, is up here. I didn't focus as much as I could have on the numbers that undergird pro-lifers' new confidence: A fall-off in the year-to-year number of abortions, and a higher pro-life affinity among people under 30 than among people from the generation preceding. What I found new, and interesting, was the concerted effort to emphasize the fun and beauty of babies, and downplay the Bible-banging and pictures of shredded fetuses. It's been happening for a while, but it's explicit now. Even Rick Santorum, who showed up at a pre-March seminar at the Family Research Council, was talking about it.

"This is a movement about unconditional love," said Santorum. "Not a movement of judgment. That's an incredible important transition for this movement in, what I think, is a very positive direction... for the young people, this is visual, and it's hard to see the little baby in there and say it's not a life."

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Of course, Santorum (who was wearing a jersey from the University of Dubuque), went on to challenge liberals to defend the culture of death. "Why don't they go out there and say, we need more abortions, if it's such a great thing?" he asked. And when a questioner asked him to run for president, he confirmed he was thinking about it and reminded everyone that he'd won 11 primaries or caucuses, only some of them binding, in 2012.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. You can reach him at daveweigel@gmail.com, or tweet at him @daveweigel.