Somewhere along the line, the anti-abortion groups decided that they were “pro-life” and that simple choice of words tilts the debate. How can anyone be opposed to life? At the same time, no one wants to be called “pro-abortion” so those who support abortion rights called themselves “pro-choice.”
Polls about abortion rights ask people to identify themselves using the terms “pro-life” and “pro-choice.” Those are the choices – are you for or against life, are you for or against choice. Nowhere does anyone ask, are you both?
I am. I don’t like abortion. I would rather see a woman choose another option if it is medically or emotionally possible. But it is not my choice, it is hers. I would prefer abortions be prevented by preventing unwanted pregnancies through good, factual sex education and easy access to birth control. I would prefer to see boys taught greater responsibility instead of their culture teaching them that manhood is defined by how many girls they screw and impregnate. I would rather see abortion be, as Bill Clinton so eloquently put it “safe, available and rare.”
The latest Gallup polls show 50% of Americans are “pro-life,” and only 41% are “pro-choice.” With only two ways to identify themselves, the words matter. The poll then brought down the responders by political affiliation. Democrats are pro-choice, Republicans pro-life, and there’s nothing new to see here, folks. Then, the ultimately loaded question: is abortion morally acceptable or morally wrong? The wrongs won out, 51% to 38%. But the right to choose an abortion is a civil right. The fact that it and gay marriage are being judged by moral or religious standards is unconstitutional.
There is only one part of this poll that anyone should pay attention to: do you think abortion should be legal under any circumstances, legal under certain circumstances or illegal in all circumstances? There was no follow-up question about the types of circumstances, which makes the results, 52% of American adults favor abortion under certain circumstances, highly ambiguous. Legal under certain circumstances garnered 25% and illegal in all circumstances got only 20%. So, 77% of us agree that legal abortion should be available. We’re just not exactly agreed on what circumstances are acceptable.
How about life of the mother? How about extreme defect in the fetus? How about rape and incest? How about during the first 12 weeks? How about during the first 20 weeks?
The pro-life groups are just thrilled with the poll. It allegedly proves that they are making progress at making abortion illegal again. And the pro-choice forces are putzing around failing to make the case that criminalizing abortion is a really, truly stupid thing to do. It not only does not eliminate abortion, it kills and maims women.
How is it that the right wing has managed to hire all the best public relations people? They can craft messages that hit every button, push every fear, play to every ignorance, while the left can’t get its act together to distribute facts to counter the propaganda.