The New York Times reported on September 17 that those who want limits on abortion are “out of step” with public opinion. The Times is wrong. Consider the data from four different polling companies.
In June 2018, a Gallup poll found that only 13 percent of Americans said abortion should be legal in the last three months. In May 2022, a Pew Research Center survey revealed that only 19 percent said abortion should be legal in all cases. In June 2022, a Rasmussen poll reported that only 5 percent believe abortion should be legal in all cases. In July 2022, a Harvard poll found that 72 percent opposed abortion generally after 15 weeks.
It is those who want no limits on abortion who are wildly “out of step” with public opinion.
What about the horror stories peddled by the media about abortion performed to save the life of the mother, or in cases of incest or rape? They make up an estimated 1-2 percent of all abortions, and almost all restrictive laws allow for such abortions.
If the media were fair, they would report on the most extreme defense of abortion being made by those on that side. For example, babies are being born alive as a result of a botched abortion and there is no national legislation banning it. Every time pro-life politicians seek to pass the “Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act,” they are stymied.
Before he was hounded from office for being an alleged predator, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo bragged how much he defended the rights of women by signing into law a provision that removed abortion from the criminal code. In practice, this meant that medical staff who did not act to treat a baby born alive as a result of a botched abortion could not be tried for this offense.
This is not abortion—it’s infanticide.
In 2019, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam famously commented on an abortion bill he was championing. “If a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen. The infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensure between the physicians and the mother.” In other words, the baby would be denied his or her inalienable right to life.
For the most part, the media downplayed this story. At that time, they were much more interested in reporting on Northam’s blackface imitation of Michael Jackson, and other racist conduct he allegedly engaged in when he was a student in medical school. That was more important than his support for infanticide.
The media have also given short shrift to an incredibly extremist piece of congressional legislation, the “Women’s Health Protection Act.” As the bishops’ conference correctly notes, it “would impose abortion on demand nationwide at any stage of pregnancy through federal statute. Immediately upon passage, the WHPA would invalidate state laws banning abortion at any stage of pregnancy, including laws that prohibit abortion based on race, sex, disability, or other characteristics.”
So who is really “out of step”?