As we mark the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, there is good news and bad news on abortion. The good news is that more Americans identify with the pro-life message than ever before; the bad news is that their president and his administration do not. First the bad news.
Barack Obama is not only the most radical champion of abortion rights this nation has ever seen, he has no equal anywhere in the world. To be exact, he stands alone in his determination to deny medical treatment to a baby born alive as a result of a botched abortion. Just as disconcerting, those who work for him are equally passionate about the subject: they want no time line or restrictions on abortion. They even defend abortion as health care, expecting an unsupportive public to pay for it.
By contrast, the public increasingly rejects this “everything goes” mentality. Indeed, the gap between what Washington wants, and what the American people want, has never been so wide. Time, it seems, is on the side of pro-lifers, even if it means that our side will not get all that it wants. Consider the data.
In a Gallup poll last May, a slight majority of Americans, 51 percent, identified themselves as pro-life. This was a first: never before have most Americans chosen the pro-life label. A few months later, Gallup was showing a 47-46 percent split, with our side slightly ahead. In between the May and August polls, a New York Times/CBS News survey last June showed that 36 percent of Americans said abortion should be generally available; 41 percent said it should be legal but under stricter limits than it is now; and 21 percent said it should not be permitted.
Why would more Americans identify themselves as pro-life at a time when they recently elected a pro-abortion extremist as president? First, Obama was not elected because of his position on abortion (only 60 percent, according to a Pew survey, even know what his position is): he was elected because the bottom fell out of the financial markets on Republican watch. Second, it just may be that his extremism on the subject repels many Americans.
The New York Times/CBS News poll is revealing: by combining the 41 percent who want tighter restrictions with the 21 percent who are opposed to abortion under all circumstances, we have a decisive 62 percent who cannot support Roe v. Wade. It’s actually higher than that: recall that the survey reported that 36 percent said abortion should be “generally” available, meaning, of course, that even in this group there are those who want some restrictions. To put it differently, abortion-on-demand, which is what Roe sanctions, is supported by very few Americans.
Who are the greatest proponents of abortion? As the Pew survey disclosed, they are overwhelmingly people who either take religion lightly or are non-believers. Conversely, the more seriously one takes his religion, the more likely he is to be pro-life. This makes intuitive sense, but how do we explain the fact that young people are more likely to be pro-life than middle-aged persons?
Of those aged 18-29, only 52 percent say abortion should be legal, as compared to 58 percent among those 30-49 and 56 percent among those aged 50-64; only 45 percent of seniors favor the legalization of abortion.
Could it be that young people are more conservative than we might have thought? Not really.
Young people, as compared to middle-aged and older Americans, are much more likely to be in favor of gay marriage; they have been taught since kindergarten that yesterday’s blacks are today’s gays. But whereas middle-aged Americans have gotten used to a culture of death, today’s youth have seen too many graphic pictures of babies developing in their mother’s wombs. And they have too many friends who are still living with the psychological fallout that accompanies abortion.
Regarding this latter point, the Pew survey showed that the majority of Americans in all categories—including those who are the most rabidly pro-abortion—say it is good to reduce the number of abortions. But why? Why would it be a good idea to reduce the incidence of a medical procedure—one that is entirely legal—when it does not result in the maiming or killing of an innocent human being? Hangnails are a problem for some, but no one goes around saying it would be a good idea not to cut them off.
The following incident, which occurred in December, is instructive.
“A 29-year-old homeless woman has given birth to a baby girl after, police said, she was befriended by a Maryland woman who held her captive for several days and tried to cut the baby from her womb,” reported the Associated Press. Officer Michelle Reedy, spokesperson for Prince George’s County police, commented on how the would-be baby killer behaved: “She bound the victim’s hands and proceeded to try to cut the victim’s abdomen to try to get the baby out. They believe she wanted the victim’s baby.”
Baby. Not fetus. Not clump of cells. Lots of young people can figure it out. Maybe they should tutor the White House.