Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

More Americans Now Pro-Life Than Pro-Choice

...according to Gallup.
And by a comfortable margin. There’s been a significant shift over the last year. Movement has occurred among moderates, conservatives, men, and the young. Whether this new climate of opinion benefits the Republicans depends, of course, on leadership. Obama’s Court nomination will give our guys another chance to explain what ROE etc. actually say and why they were wrongly decided. The truth is they haven’t been so good at that so far. It also presents another chance to explain why if Republicanism becomes libertarianism or even Specterism it will not only lose its soul, but lose elections. (Thanks to Ivan the K.)

Discussions - 24 Comments

While I am happy to see more Americans identifying themselves as prolife, I am wondering if anyone has an explanation for the movement in the poll numbers over the past year. Why might the numbers have changed significantly in the past 12 months?

Yet most americans (59%) would support a nominee to SCOTUS who favors upholding Roe, and a majority (for years) favors abortion in at least some cases, such as to save the mother's life. Such folks can still call themselves pro-life.

ren, do you honestly think you will find anyone on this blog who does not support the idea of permitting abortion if it really is intended for the purpose of saving the life of the mother?

Part of the problem, as shown over and over again by polling, is that most Americans are seriously confused about what exactly Roe says and what the legal consequences would be if it were overturned.

Seems some here are confused as well, for Roe was overtaken by Casey, which is now controlling.

I would like to see the findings repeated in other studies before I start feeling good about the results. But fwiw, here are my totally unscientific findings from my conversations with urban, Northern, coastal,racially diverse and mostly Obama supporting people young people as related to abortion: They consider late term abortion to be the destruction of a living human being. I am surprised how often the word murder comes up to describe late term abortion. Many are under the impression that it is already illegal. Even people who who support keeping unlimited late term abortion legal are tentative in their opinions. This is a complete turnaround in the climate of opinion from when I was growing up in the same environment.

I mostly credit the change to changes in technology which allow us to more clearly see the shape and activity of the late stage fetus and forces supporters of an unlimited abortion licence for late stage abortions to fall back on stuff about perspectives, metaphors, and narratives to try to explain away the humanity that we can all now see.

These experiences also strengthen my frustration with the McCain campaign's stupidity in adopting a bitter, cynical and issueless rural/exurban social identity politics rather than an incrememtal and principled socially conservative politics. There are real lessons for Republicans but you won't learn them listening to Meghan McCain, Colin Powell or Arlen Specter.

On a related note, how many people have a clear opinion of Obama's postion on an unlimited license for partial birth abortion and what this might tell us about our moderate, compassionate, and empathetic President? That might be something for the Republicans to dramatize when they get a chance. Opposition to late term abortion seems to be a uniter (with the majority) rather than a divider.

But it is also no substitute for a compelling economic agenda.

Yep, it has been abortion on demand for any reason since Casey, which occurred shortly after Roe.

The debate has been purposely muddied. We have scientificly known for centuries that human life began with conception.

The debate has always been whether we accept this human life as worthwhile.

Of course, Julie, the whole problem with "saving the life of the mother" is the license it gives to abortion on demand. The number of cases where you would have to choose between the life of the child and mother is absolutely miniscule. Modern medicine has done wonders to help baby or mother without hurting the other, thus saving both. It's not an adversarial relationship as you well know.

TW: I did say, "really." But even granting that there would be loopholes that the wrong sort of people would pry open and exploit, I still think--in the most general way--life and death questions (and even, probably, problematic pregnancies that could have long term deleterious consequences to the physical health of the mother) ought not to be regulated too strenuously by government. The government has an interest in protecting the life of the child, certainly. But in those few instances where the mother's health interests are in conflict with the child's right to life, only the mother can decide if she is willing to sacrifice her health or her life for that child. Knowing what I would be willing to do is one thing . . . but it's not a guide for public policy.

Cases where the mother's health are at risk are not 'few' or 'miniscule'. There are hundreds of thousands of ectopic pregnancies in the U.S.. It is the leading cause of maternal mortality. With scientific advances in detection (BHCG levels,etc), those cases will only increase, not to mention all the problems that accompany such pregnancies, such as pelvic inflammatory diseases. The two people I know who work in this area have armed guards accompany them to their cars at night.

In the words of ND law professor emeritus, Charles Rice, "Whent the fertilized ovum lodges in the fallopian tube and grows there, the damaged portion of the tube, containing the human being, may be removed where it is clearly and imminently necessary to save the mother's life. Such operations are moral even under Catholic teaching. Morally, they are considered indirect abortions and are justified under the principle of the double effect, since the death of the child is an unintended effect of an operation independently justified by the necessity of saving the mother's life. They do not involve the intentional killing of the unborn child for the purpose of achieving another good, for example, the preservation of the mother's life. Legally, such operations are not considered abortions at all. No prosecution has ever been attempted in this country based on the removal of any of those conditions, even where the mother's life was not immediately threatened. There is no need, therefore, to provide a specific exception for such cases in a statue or constitional amendment prohibiting abortion. Apart from the cases such as the ectopic pregnancy and the cancerous uterus, there appears to be no medical or psychiatric justification for terminating a pregnancy." "The Winning Side: Questions on Living the Culture of Life" p. 222-23

Julie, women really do not have much right to choose to sacrifice themselves. I was very sick with my last child and my doctor told me no obstetrician could ethically allow the mother to die to save the life of the unborn child. I would not be allowed that option. When my chronically ill daughter-in-law found she was pregnant, she and my son had a hard time finding a doctor who would even consider risking her life and health for the child. The guy they found(Catholic, and my hero) saw her every week and when she was hospitalized for the last two months of the pregnancy with nutrients pouring directly into her bloodstream through an IV, he saw her every day. He also said that medical ethics demanded protecting the life of the mother, no matter her wishes.

Isn't it possible that people are more worried about the Obama Administration's morality and therefore take a stronger personal stand on the abortion question when talking to pollsters than they would have before the election? Yes, ultrasound and such imaging technology play a part in changing the American mind on this topic, but the immediate concern for people is that we as a nation do not become blasé when it comes to killing babies. No one is comfortable telling an unwilling mother that she must keep her child, but neither do most want her to make abortion her primary birth-control method.

In addition, with the probability of national health care, I would be surprised if most Americans are comfortable with the idea of their hard-earned tax dollars going to a routine slaughter of the unborn.

What Roe did was a "power shift" from the states to the federal government, taking away the rights of people in each state to decide for themselves. This will backfire big time against the pro-aborts. Our Declaration of Independence and Preamble to our Federal Constitution both indicate that human life is sacrosanct and CANNOT legally be taken by ANY government or group of people. Now that the supreme court has violated the very document it is supposed to protect, they have committed a CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY. That crime is as we all know from the Holocaust, punishable by death by hanging. I hold no empathy for those people guilty for the premeditated murder of nearly FIFTY MILLION American babies. They deserve just punishment, and we will have far more people swinging from the gallows than the 40 Nazis that were hanged for their crimes. We have DOCUMENTATION of all the supporters of these heinous acts, so there will be no denying their part in the American Holocaust. What goes 'round comes 'round. I can hardly wait...

to Tony:
I won't try to argue your post, however I will offer a few first person experiences for your consideration. I did have an ectopic pregnancy. I was given a drug to terminate it. The medical records showed it as an abortion. I don't know what legal ramifications it has - or could have with a change in law, but I do know that is what was on the chart. It was a very emotional time and I remember clearly that was on the chart because the nurse even commented to me not to worry about that word. Secondly, my cousin had a PROM (premature rupture of membranes) pregnancy. She fought like crazy to bring the twins to viability - but she developed an infection that risked her life. The doctors had to terminate the pregnancy - and induce labor to save her life. It isn't only ectopic and cancer as you suggest. I had another friend that lost her life and that of her unborn child b/c of toximia. There are many serious issues on all sides to consider.

Abortion is but one, albeit the largest and most immediate, element in the struggle between a Pro-Life point of view and the culture of death. Others central to the struggle are euthanasia, assisted suicide and the rationing of medical care.

Pro-choice....does not mean saving the mother's life it means having the right to choose I think. The examples being put forth though remind me of the ticking time bomb torture debate going on in the other thread. They are both issues that could be handled with some sanity instead of trying to use extreme examples to come up with some easy to understand draconian law. Mabye this is the greatest idea for a show in history, you could unite the country if Jack Bauer would retire from spying and become an abortion doctor who only took on cases where the mother was a serious health risk. You could even keep the ticking death clock.

Rosy I have a really good answer/theory. But think about comment 17 read the Audacity of Hope, consider the role of the internet and 3g networks, and consider the nature of barganning. Of course don't completly ignore Ren, lots of folks could be pro-life because they don't believe anything subtantial will occur as a result of taking the stance.

Hypothetically then lets assume that Ren becomes pro-life(or agrees to answer Gallup to this effect) in exchange for Brutus(argueing against torture)

Suppose I also join in, then we might have three people who agree to be pro-life and anti-torture, Brutus might be completly sincere in both. Ren might think fat chance that Casey is ever overturned, and I might think not even Nanci Pelosi can be anti-rendition. In other words some of our stances are believed by us to be mute points, but out of consideration for others we agree to tag along. We bargain till we reach a point where every participant is on a higher indifference curve.

This is a sort of abstract market way of putting it, but essentially this is also might be what happens online...

In many ways the shift in the pro-life position reflects the influence of the Obamacons.

It probably wasn't the case that these folks influenced Obama, but that they influenced friends who voted for Obama, to flip on the issue in exchange for support of Obama.

In the words of ND law professor emeritus, Charles Rice, "Whent the fertilized ovum lodges in the fallopian tube and grows there, the damaged portion of the tube, containing the human being, may be removed where it is clearly and imminently necessary to save the mother's life. Such operations are moral even under Catholic teaching. Morally, they are considered indirect abortions and are justified under the principle of the double effect, since the death of the child is an unintended effect of an operation independently justified by the necessity of saving the mother's life. They do not involve the intentional killing of the unborn child for the purpose of achieving another good, for example, the preservation of the mother's life. Legally, such operations are not considered abortions at all.

Removing a part of the fallopian tube and reducing the woman's future fertility by half is in many cases unnecessary--a woman can either take medication to expel the embryo, or have the embryo removed surgically without taking part of the ovary with it. Rice articulates an excessive scrupulosity, based on the physician's fear of dirty hands; the procedure he articulates is not intended for the health of the patient. All of the language about double-intent starts to get pretty disingenuous in the case of ectopic pregnancy, when you start removing ovaries in order to soothe your own conscience. Better to be honest about what you are doing and why it's necessary, and to adjust your conscience accordingly. Life is often tragic, but we don't save our souls by mutilating others.

Is it even POSSIBLE to carry an ectopic pregnancy to term? I don't believe that it is, but correct me if I am wrong. Having said that, isn't all of this debate a bunch of nothing? Who would object to a woman ending an ectopic pregnancy that would most certainly harm her and has no realistic chance of ending in life for a child? Perhaps there are some people on the fringes who might argue that this is "God's will" or something . . . but no serious person is making the case that women ought to be forced to carry on with pregnancies that endanger their lives.

Perhaps there are some people on the fringes who might argue that this is "God's will" or something . . . but no serious person is making the case that women ought to be forced to carry on with pregnancies that endanger their lives.

Hmmm. Just weeks ago, we heard the story of a 9-year-old girl in Brazil who had been repeatedly raped by her stepfather, and who had become pregnant with twins. Several doctors testified that her life was at risk, and that she was much too small to be carrying such a pregnancy. Upon obtaining a clandestine abortion, she and her mother were automatically excommunicated. (Not the step-father, though).

From MSNBC: Fatima Maia, director of the public university hospital where the abortion was performed, said the 15-week-old pregnancy posed a serious risk to the 80-pound girl.

"She is very small. Her uterus doesn't have the ability to hold one, let alone two children," Maia told the Jornal do Brasil newspaper.

But Marcio Miranda, a lawyer for the Archdiocese of Olinda and Recife in northeastern Brazil, said the girl should have carried the twins to term and had a cesarean section.

"It's the law of God: Do not kill. We consider this murder," Miranda said in comments reported by O Globo.

Calls to Miranda were not immediately returned.

Brazil is home to more Catholics than any other nation.

So, Julie, I'll leave it up to you to determine whether "these people" are sufficiently "serious," but I assure you that they have seriously thought about these issues and written official handbooks in order to squash any notion that a pregnant woman's (or girl's!) life is in any way primary to the embryo or fetus she sustains. When it is clear that those in positions of Catholic authority don't have many scruples about risking the life of an abused nine-year old girl, I'm going to guess that women don't fare too well under the official system.

mod, that's a horrible story, but you had to go to Brazil to find an example, and that about people who Julie considers in her comment as being on the fringes. I don't see how you can beat her argument with this stick.

In any event, the fact remains that even in Brazil, the girl still got the abortion. Abortion is legal there in cases of rape, incest and threats to the life of the mother. It was not a "clandestine" abortion, as you say. It was performed at a public hospital, after all. The local Catholic officials protested it, but it had no effect.

I suppose you think that because I am a Catholic, I will somehow defend the decision of the local Catholic authorities to "excommunicate" her mother and the doctors who performed the abortion. I can tell you that the Vatican does not defend them. This is from another report: "To try and give a different perspective, Archbishop Rino Fisichella, a Vatican prelate, defended the doctors."

I don't know what's going on with the local Catholic authorities in that poor girl's diocese, but the "official system" of Brazil did better by her than did her own family. Three years of abuse and rape by the stepfather? Are you kidding? I know that this goes on all the time, but I'm sorry. I have a nine year old daughter. It is beyond difficult for me to imagine a scenario where something like that goes on for 3 years (!) without my knowing it and doing something about it before it ends in such horrific circumstances. I don't think the mother should be excommunicated for procuring the abortion. But she probably ought to suffer some consequence for not protecting her daughter from a rapist in her own home.

A link to Archbishop Rino Fisichella's official statement.

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