(Photo: Doreen Dotto/Wikimedia Commons)
In her first public appearance since dropping out of the GOP race earlier this month, former presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann has predicted that the 2012 elections will result in an "end to abortion" by next year.
Bachmann's prediction – made at a pro-life rally Sunday marking the 39th anniversary of Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion - reflects a promising year for pro-lifers, who have seen GOP candidates and state legislatures repeatedly address the controversial issue of abortion.
"Here on our watch we will stand, we will stand for life, we will never forget, we will never give up, and next year we will gather in a day of celebration when we have finally ended abortion in this all important election," Bachmann told those in attendance at the rally, sponsored by the Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life organization, in St. Paul, as reported by Minnesota Public Radio.
"Join me this year. Choose life," the congresswoman said.
Bachmann's statement proves telling of the current pro-life fight in America. A long-disputed quarrel over the "sanctity of life" versus a women's "right to choose," the abortion debate has resulted in a tug-of-war between pro-life and pro-choice activists over the past three decades.
The Minnesota congresswoman has not made it clear whether she intends to run for a fourth term, but the topic of abortion has been a heated point of interest in both the GOP debates and on state ballots.
Remaining Republican candidates Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney have ardently declared who is the most pro-life of the bunch.
Gingrich has previously challenged fellow runner and former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney's stance on abortion, saying that Romney's proposed healthcare plan supplies funding for tax-paid abortions.
Romney defended himself, saying at the CNN Southern Republican Debate in late January that "[…] you can count on me as president of the United States to pursue a policy that protects the life of the unborn, whether here in this country or overseas."
"And I'll reverse the policies of this president," Romney added.
Santorum is considered by many to be the most ardent pro-life supporter of the entire GOP lineup. On Monday, Jan. 23, Santorum expressed his views on abortion in an article published in the Wall Street Journal.
Santorum described President Barack Obama's record on abortion policy as "radical and extreme."
The issue of abortion has also ended up on several state ballots in 2011, including New Hampshire, Mississippi, and Ohio.
The Personhood Amendment appeared on Mississippi's ballot in November. If passed, the bill would have declared life at fertilization, subsequently outlawing abortion in Mississippi, and providing the state with the most stringent anti-abortion law in the country.
As of Jan. 1, 2012, the new Parental Consent law came into effect in New Hampshire. The law requires all minors in the state to receive parental permission before undergoing an abortion, unless they can prove they are emotionally and mentally mature enough to make an independent decision.
According to a Quinnipiac University Poll released Thursday, Jan. 19, the Ohio electorate is evenly divided over the Heartbeat Bill, a law which, if passed, would require a doctor to test for a fetal heartbeat. If a heartbeat is detected, abortion would be illegal. Although the Bill has passed the House, it will not be addressed by Senate until the March 6 primaries.
For many, this new burst of conservative values comes at a refreshing time, as many argue the Obama administration has actively protected abortion rights.
For example, on Dec. 15, the Obama administration refused to supply Texas with a large health plan fund unless the state provide some of the federal funding to Planned Parenthood, arguing that the organization provides an array of health services besides abortion.
While many argue that this is an optimistic turning point for the pro-life fight, there is still much work to be done. According to statistics released by the Guttmacher Institute, 22 percent of all pregnancies in America end in abortion.