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Alan Cooperman for WaPo reports: In a highly visible rift in the anti-abortion movement, a coalition of evangelical Protestant and Roman Catholic groups is attacking a longtime ally, Focus on the Family founder James C. Dobson.Using rhetoric that they have reserved in the past for abortion clinics, some of the coalition's leaders accuse Dobson and other national antiabortion leaders of building an "industry" around relentless fundraising and misleading information.At the center of the dispute is the Supreme Court's April 18 decision upholding the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, a federal law against a procedure in which a doctor partially delivers a late-term fetus before crushing its skull.Dobson and many other antiabortion leaders hailed the 5 to 4 ruling as a victory; abortion-rights organizations saw it as a defeat. But six weeks later, its consequences have been, in part, the reverse.
In an open letter to Dobson that was published as a full-page ad May 23 in the Colorado Springs Gazette, Focus on the Family's hometown newspaper, and May 30 in the Washington Times, the heads of five small but vocal groups called the Carhart decision "wicked," and accused Dobson of misleading Christians by applauding it.Carhart is even "more wicked than Roe" because it is "not a ban, but a partial-birth abortion manual" that affirms the legality of late-term abortions "as long as you follow its guidelines," the ads said. "Yet, for many years you have misled the Body of Christ about the ban, and now about the ruling itself." The Rev. Bob Enyart, a Christian talk radio host and pastor of the Denver Bible Church is quoted: "Over the past seven years, the partial-birth abortion ban as a fundraising technique has brought in over a quarter of a billion dollars" for major antiabortion groups, "but the ban has no authority to prevent a single abortion, and pro-life donors were never told that," he said. "That's why we call it the pro-life industry."
Marty Lederman at Balkinization observes the response from Focus on the Family, which argues that the still-legal D&E procedure is markedly less safe for the mother, and that's precisely why the law is a good thing -- because it leaves in place only a procedure that carries a higher risk of danger of internal bleeding from a perforated uterus … which in turn leads to "greater legal liability" for the doctors, and, as a result, fewer abortions.