Abortion / Government Watch

Beyond Abortion Polls


Polls continue to shift on abortion, after the Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade with Dobbs in June.  Democrats – including friends of mine – are sure the public is pro-Roe and anti-Dobbs, while Conservatives – other friends – see the mood as pro-life. A deep dive shows a split nation, polls confounded by nuance and exceptions. But they miss the point: Abortion is not about polls.

Having written about the nation’s views before Dobbs, after the leak, after the decision – recently pointing out the odd disparity in federal prosecutions for pro- and anti-abortion violence, a quick review of polls may be in order. In order, too, is remembering that Dobbs was chiefly a victory for federalism, meaning states’ rights, not a re-litigation of abortion.

On one side, the pro-life view highlights key facts, beyond science and law, reaching to the heart of the question – is abortion moral? In May 2021, the nation was almost evenly split on that question.

By May 2022, digging deeper, Pew reported: “Overall, just seven percent of all U.S. adults say abortion is morally acceptable in all cases,” while “13 percent say it is morally wrong in all cases,” and a third say it “is morally wrong in most cases, while … 24 percent say it is morally acceptable most of the time.”  Chillingly, a fifth who “do not consider abortion a moral issue.”

What do we make of that? Are we pro-life or pro-abortion? While public views change, and may tip hard one way or the other, science (saving children earlier and earlier in a pregnancy) and Dobbs both push toward reducing abortions – for birth control, convenience, or gender choice.

Science and Dobbs also offer moral arguments for ending abortions, since the question of morality reduces to human life and when it begins. If we can detect human life earlier, accept a human heart and brain mean a person, the moral imperative becomes protecting that life.

Some in the Democratic Party have tried to ignore or redefine morality, which is like redefining where the sun rises (which does not change where it rises). Imagining a society can long endure without moral compass (or not caring), they push laws and bills that permit (by redefining terms or leaving them undefined) ending life in the third trimester, 9th month, and at birth.

New York’s 2019 pro-abortion law, for example, permitted anyone to perform an abortion, decriminalized the act, redefined the timeframe to include abortion for an undefined “health” need (without limit, including mental health), removed infant medical protections, and left “viability” undefined (permitting abortion for imperfections), thus – effectively – permits abortion to last day of term.

Interestingly, even defenders of that law acknowledge the fact. A public battle over what undefined terms mean rages, but the real takeaway for most legal and moral scholars is these laws open the door to abortion without limit, since defenders allow open redefinition.

To those who see clear evidence of human life in the womb, who fear the error of killing a child, who wish to preserve their own souls against grave error, these pieces of legislation are hard to read, morally indefensible, almost inconceivable – but the laws do exist.

Ironically, the Dobbs case, while overturning a poorly reasoned, judicially unsustainable idea – that the US Constitution contains a right to abortion – actually empowers states, including New York and California, to permit abortion at birth, until an unborn child’s rights are recognized.

So, what does all this mean? Answering that question – as friends have recently tutored me – tends to be hard if we turn to polls, including which matter most which should be trusted, what they say, and what they mean. 

Maybe the issue is not one, in the end, that should be decided by polls. Maybe polls, whatever they say, or whatever we want them to say, or whatever we think they say – are irrelevant. 

Maybe science, law, and a deep dive into the quiet of our own beating hearts, a journey to the center of our own storm-tossed souls, to that hard-to-reach, nearly inaccessible part of who we are – the part that dares ponder “what if …” – maybe that is where we will find the answer. 

For sure, if we do not look there, choosing instead to wrestle the meaning of polls, we sidestep the only real answer to a plainly moral question. Polls will not give us that answer, whatever they say about what others think and feel, about our nation and whether we are advancing or retreating in collective conscience.

No, the real issue – the one people want most not to talk about – is what happens inside you, inside your own conscience – that rare, supremely human intersection of your heart, soul, and brain which makes you who you are, who you have always been – and when … did that begin?

While you’re here, we have a small favor to ask…

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2 months ago

This is to all my Brown and Black Sisters and Brothers: Please do your homework. Delve into the abortion issue from the beginning. You will find that abortion kills a disproportionate amount of African American babies compared to White or even Latino babies! If that does not smack of genocide, I don’t know what does! PLEASE WAKE UP!

2 months ago

How can we trust anything the media says . I ignore the media as much as possible. Dems and media are a distraction on purpose to cover real plan . Japs did same.

2 months ago
Reply to  Tom

Where do you get your news if you do not trust anything in media. Just wondering ??? and how do you know that is the truth

3 months ago

This May heat up the question!!! People who want to live like dogs and shack up with who they want and for how long use abortion as a back door if conception occurs.Have your fun and no commitments. They will fight to keep their back door. Morales are not considered. Destroy the family the cornerstone of America.Supreme court returned abortion control to the states and people want to march over it.It’s not right only mothers life and rape.Hitler did this and people wanted to kill all theGermans..IMO.99

Kathy Houser
3 months ago

Law is not a popularity contest! I am sure lots of people polled would be against making it illegal to drive while intoxicated or beating one’s wife or helping yourself to merchandise in a clothing or grocery store. The constitution says the federal government cannot rule that abortion is illegal; that is up to individual states. So if you don’t like it, picket your state legislatures.

3 months ago

Reading some of the comments of our Founding Fathers relative to the Constitution I have concluded that they would not approve of polls guiding legislation.

My thought is that The U.S. as a Judeo-Christian society must still consider the difference between God’s Laws and Caesar’s laws. I do not doubt that there is life soon after conception — dead cells do not divide, only live ones do. Those enacting Caesar’s laws must consider the best path for maintaining a civil and peaceful society. Caesar’s law will no doubt be less morally stringent then God’s laws but Caesar is concerned with keeping order in today’s diverse society. God will make His judgement in due time.

I have noted some district attorneys will charge the killer of a pregnant female with two homicide charges acknowledging the presence of an unborn human being. Caesar must decide at what point such a crime becomes a double crime.

As one now in his fifth score of life, I hope I can provide some helpful thoughts. I do believe the decision to about or not to abort should be made after all parties involved have discussed all options with medical and spiritual advisors. I don’t believe government has a place advocating the practice nor denying it when medically necessary If used for birth-control I do not believe the taxpayer should be subsidizing the practice (we subsidize enough mistakes already!). When medically necessary insurance should cover.

I am encouraged that the supreme Court is making decisions based on the Constitution instead of political expediency!

2 months ago
Reply to  David

Excellent statement. I thank you for presenting this logical argument. I don’t know much about the insurance industries stance on paying for abortion unless the mothers health is in question. If the insurance industry is not willing to pay for an abortion of convenience, then that is a very bold statement. This whole argument seems to be more money oriented than morally oriented; it seems to be about who pays the bill. I somewhat lean towards this is a woman’s decision. Those involved in this decision should not expect me, as a taxpayer to be paying for an abortion of convenience at the local, state or federal level. It’s your decision, you take the responsibility for it – oh, I forgot – we’re not making people pay for their student loans either…sorry, what was I thinking.

John Riley
3 months ago

The only “polls” that count are the votes on any referendum in each of the states. If you don’t like how your state representative is voting vote against that representative.

3 months ago

The left rewrites history, definitions, believes that there are more than 2 sexes; male & female. The Democratic Party, legacy and social media and numerous companies parrot the same disinformation.

3 months ago

Pretty sure the 60-80 million or more babies are pro-life!

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