A SPLIT IN THE ANTI-ABORTION MOVEMENT? I recently stumbled across this item from the Christian press in which prominent anti-choicer Leslee Unruh admits that during the South Dakota abortion ban campaign she faced more harassment from hardline "pro-lifers" than from pro-choicers.

"When you�re running a pro-life campaign the last thing you need is pro-lifers who have a different strategy and won�t respect the people in the state," Unruh said. [...] "When someone works as hard as I have for 22 years, the outside pro-lifers coming in and bringing trucks and (bringing) anger and hate�that affects the community."

All of the tactics that "scared" Unruh -- gory photos of dismembered fetuses, disruptive prayer vigils, videotaping reporters and volunteers -- are classic moves by anti-abortion groups. Maybe she should be asking pro-choicers for some advice. We've got a lot of experience dealing with that sort of harassment.

This is yet another sign that Unruh's brand of anti-choice/"pro-woman" framing could divide the anti-abortion movement -- separating the savvier types (see also: Feminists for Life) from those who prefer to wail, "Don't kill the baaaaabies!". I agree with Sarah Blustain and Reva Siegel that the antis who falsely fly the "pro-woman" flag make for more formidable adversaries, so their rising prominence is troubling. But the challenge they pose to the more traditional, fetus-focused activists could make the anti-choicers compete within their movement for resources and political support, which would work in pro-choicers' favor. I'll be curious to see how it shakes out.

--Ann Friedman

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