New Anti-Abortion Strategy

Irene Hubert works for the Maryland Bible College in Baltimore and she tries every day to blend religion and politics. On this night, she's brought religious and political leaders together for a friendship banquet.

"We might as well get used to this," she says. "When we go to heaven through Jesus Christ there are going to be Baptists and Catholics, and Presbyterians and Methodists, and Jewish and guess what, Democrats and Republicans"

Hubert is also a member of the Christian Coalition, reports CBS News Correspondent Phil Jones, and one of the multitude now involved in a quiet revolution to take abortion out of presidential politics.

"It's not the job of politics, it's almost the job of the church to get out, one on one, and educate the people what the bible says," she says.

Hubert says she is as opposed to abortion as those who've been on the front lines turning abortion into a litmus test for presidential candidates. But she believes it is time to deal with reality.

"We would like to see pro-life because we think that is God's mind, according to the bible," says Hubert. "But the important issue is getting in."

This new political orthodoxy is blessed by some at the very top of the religious right movement, including the father of the Christian Coalition.

"I think we must recognize that until there are at least two, maybe three Supreme Court justices changed, that Roe vs. Wade's not going to be taken off the books," says Pat Robertson. "And consequently, our greatest success would be incrementally."

"Incrementally." In past years, Christian Coalition members never used that word. The goal was to get a ban on all abortions. Now there is a growing willingness to settle for such things as partial-birth abortion and parental notification.

Is it all about winning now? "It is, it is," says Hubert. "You can't do anything if you don't win." Even if you have to compromise a little bit? "Is there compromise or is it taking the road to wisdom. There is a difference," she says.

This softening may appear to be an attempt to help Republican candidates who are less rigid on the abortion issue. But those who designed this strategy say it is to save the religious movement itself, which they confess is in jeopardy if it doesn't get a friend elected to the White House in 2000.