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He's Running

When the Politics of Abortion Means Mainstream Consensus

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

The politics of abortion no longer resemble the token pro-lifer on ABC’s The View debating her four feisty, progressive co-hosts all alone. There’s plenty more agreement than you’d think across the usual lines when it comes to abortion in America.

A recent poll conducted by the Marist Institute for Public Opinion found the overwhelming attitude of Americans is supportive of substantial abortion restrictions. About 78 percent of Americans say they would essentially limit abortion to the first three months of pregnancy. We’re not just talking about pro-lifers, as you might imagine. This includes 6 in 10 who say they are pro-choice Americans.

But there’s more. The majority of Americans would limit abortion in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of an expectant mother. Taxpayer funding for abortion is opposed by 62 percent of Americans, including 45 percent who say they are pro-choice. Seventy percent of Americans—both pro-choice and pro-life—want abortionists to be required to have hospital admitting privileges and nearly 78 percent want abortion clinics to be held to the same health and safety standards as other outpatient surgery centers.

Marist Polling, by the way, is relied on by major broadcast outlets and newspaper publishers including NBC News, the Wall Street Journal and the McClatchy Corporation.

Your average pro-choice American supports solid restrictions on abortion and is closer to the pro-life position than people think. So why don’t we hear these agreeable sentiments echoed by pro-choice politicians or the ever-influential pro-choice lobby?

This summer, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton applauded the U.S. Supreme Court for reversing part of Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt (HB 2)that required abortion clinics to meet the same health and safety standards as ambulatory surgical centers and that abortionists have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital in case of medical emergencies. “SCOTUS's decision is a victory for women in Texas and across America. Safe abortion should be a right—not just on paper, but in reality,” tweeted Clinton. “This fight isn't over: The next president has to protect women's health. Women won't be ‘punished’ for exercising their basic rights.”

Remember last fall when Planned Parenthood President Cecil Richards told the House Oversight Committee “abortion is healthcare” in the midst of Congress’ investigation in the abortion giant’s harvesting and selling of baby parts?

Or how about when Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee stood in opposition to HB 2 in a supposed effort to “protect a woman’s right to choose, her health, and her sacred right of making such decision with her God, her family, and her physician.” Rep Lee asked: “Where does HB 2 and other bills have the right to interfere with that?” Well Rep. Lee, its mainstream America that supports abortion clinic requirements.

There’s no legislation mandating abortion on demand or abortion throughout most of a woman’s pregnancy. In fact, the Marist poll shows there is a consensus against these positions. Even so, pro-choice politicians pretend abortion restrictions equal restrictions on women’s human rights despite their supporters’ views.

Only about 1 in 10 Americans support the abortion-on-demand position, but you’d never know it to hear these radical pro-choice politicians talk. And that’s the point. It’s mainstream to want substantial abortion restrictions, and it’s actually radical to suggest otherwise.

With all the overlap relating to abortion restrictions, the “pro-life” and “pro-choice” labels have become obsolete. This is good news for cultural and political engagement. It means American citizens concerned about real women’s health, safety standards, and unborn life can ditch the labels and partisan politics and engage in authentic conversations about abortion.

Pro-lifers can stop playing defense and start recognizing their position on substantial abortion restrictions is the mainstream consensus position. Don’t be intimidated by the professional political bullies. You’re the popular lady (or gentleman) at The View table now.

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