Daniel Doherty

Regardless of one’s position on the High Court’s infamous decision forty years ago today to legalize abortion “[a]t any stage of pregnancy, for any reason,” most Americans -- not to mention legal scholars and academics -- recognize that Roe is bad Constitutional law. Nevertheless, support for the controversial ruling has reached an all-time high, at least according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC poll:

Forty years after the Supreme Court legalized abortion in its Roe v. Wade decision, seven out of 10 Americans support the groundbreaking rulings, according to a poll released Tuesday.

The Wall Street Journal/NBC poll found only 24 percent of Americans would overturn the decision, which legalized abortion throughout the United States. The 70 percent level of support for the ruling is the highest since the poll began tracking it in 1989. Similarly, the 54 percent of Americans who believe abortion should be legal most or all of the time is a record high.

Only nine percent of Americans believe abortion should always be illegal, but 35 percent believe the only exceptions should be to save the life of the mother or in case of rape or incest.

Alternatively, the poll could contain some good news for opponents of abortion rights: nearly three-quarters of Americans believe there are some circumstances where abortion should be illegal.

The editor’s at National Review Online have a powerful op-ed out today. And while they acknowledge that pro-lifers are not necessarily “winning” the fight to preserve and protect innocent human life, they remind us that there’s still reason to be hopeful:

Pro-lifers are not winning: The suggestion is obscene. Nearly 56 million human beings have been killed in the womb since Roe, a toll that rises another million each year. The pro-life movement’s achievement is a witness, not a victory. We have maintained resistance to an injustice rather than vanquished it.

But neither have we suffered a final defeat, nor will we so long as Americans remain who are willing to stand for the country’s true founding principle: that all men are created equal by their Creator; that all of them have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, whatever their creed or station, their race or their place, their might or their weakness. The Supreme Court has been a formidable enemy of this principle for much of our history. It struck down laws against slavery in an attempt to settle that issue and call the contending sides to end a national division. It blocked congressional attempts to protect civil rights following the Civil War. Pro-lifers who are tempted to despair should remember that Plessy v. Ferguson was on the books for even longer than Roe has been.

Over on the other side of the debate, we labor under no such handicaps. We know that whether we will live to see victory over abortion is not in our hands. We also know that standing for truth, for mercy, and for justice is always within our power, and so we will keep doing it for as long as the evil endures.

I am absolutely convinced that protecting innocent human life is the greatest challenge of our time. Why? Because without life -- without the opportunity to live -- nothing else matters. The fact is that more than 50,000,000 unborn children have been aborted since 1973; that’s roughly one million every single year. As the NRO editor’s explain, the nation can never live up to its core founding principle -- the proposition that “all men are created equal” -- while such a hideous injustice is (a) legally sanctioned and (b) funded with taxpayer dollars.

I’ll leave you with this: Perhaps the greatest political advertisement of all time, courtesy of Dr. Ron Paul:

This whole notion of life not being valuable is something I was just never able to accept.


Daniel Doherty

Daniel Doherty is Townhall's Deputy News Editor. Follow him on Twitter @danpdoherty.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography