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a libertarian own-goal?

By Diogenes (articles ) | Feb 16, 2004

An interesting take in soft-Lefty William Saletan's new book, which bears the (regrettably) unconvincing sub-title, How Conservatives Won the Abortion War.

The book reads as a pretty straight narrative that, in large part, tells the story of the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (now NARAL: Pro-Choice America) and its entry into the political spotlight during the legal battles over abortion in the early 1980s. That's when amendments to the Arkansas constitution would have banned state abortion funding, but NARAL and others packaged their opposition as the rejection of government interference in family life -- a "conservative" idea, Saletan reminds the reader repeatedly.

"Swing voters didn't share the activists' concerns about women's rights or the welfare of teenagers and the poor," he notes, "but they are willing to reject the measure on other grounds: the perils of big government, the sovereignty of families…and the rights of rape victims."

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