As the national debate continues over new abortion laws in New York and Virginia, the latter of which includes comments from Governor Ralph Northam seeming to defend infanticide, many are questioning how legislation that far outside the mainstream could have been proposed and passed (in the case of New York) despite a new poll showing 81 percent of Americans actually support “substantial abortion restrictions.”
The poll, conducted by Marist and commissioned by the Knights of Columbus, also shows that among those favoring restrictions on abortions, 66 percent were actually pro-choice proponents.
…66 percent of those who identify as pro-choice would restrict abortion to - at most - the first three months of pregnancy. Eighty two percent of women agree with that. The pollster says these findings have been consistent for the last eight years.
The Virginia bill, in particular, would appear to run counter to how most Americans think about abortion.
The controversy has centered on a provision concerning third-trimester abortions. Under currentVirginia law, in order for a patient to terminate a pregnancy in the third trimester, three doctors must certify that continuing the pregnancy would likely cause the patient’s death or “substantially and irremediably impair” her mental or physical health.The new bill would reduce the number of doctors to one, and remove the “substantially and irremediably” qualifier — abortions would be allowed in cases where a mother’s mental or physical health is threatened, even if the damage might not be irreversible.
Gov. Northam, a Democrat, was asked about the bill in a radio interview on Wednesday, and his response only added to the controversy. Appearing to discuss what would happen if a child was born after a failed attempt at abortion, he said, “the infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.”
March For Life President Jeanne Mancini released a statement when the poll was released:
“Abortion up until birth is not only brutishly callous, it is severely out of touch with mainstream America. These radical pro- abortion lawmakers need to do their homework. Is it really okay to kill a 7 pound baby who is not yet born? For well over ten years polls have shown that the consensus of Americans, including pro-choice Americans, would limit abortion to the first three months of pregnancy. Democrats have forgone safe, legal and rare and have now staked their ground in abortion extremism.”
Mancini told Town Hall she believes the disconnect stems from abortion proponents’ radical offensive in reaction to pro-life gains made at the federal and state level over the last several years. In short, she says, the other side sees that “life is winning.”
“I think that what might behind these new positions is a kind of crazy offensive in reaction to the new makeup of the Supreme Court and the incremental gains made in the states,” Mancini said. “We’ve seen the Democratic national platform move to a more extreme position in the last few years. In the 2016 election, it advocated for abortion up to birth and, by the way, everyone who ran on that platform lost.”
Mancini says in the past 5 years great strides have been made at the state level to protect life, with legislation passing that prohibits minors from crossing state lines to have abortions in some cases, to informed consent and ultrasound laws that require expectant mothers to see images of their child in utero.
“The reaction we’re seeing is very likely a reaction to those gains,” Mancini said.
When asked how a mainstream politician like the governor of Virginia could so easily defend something so many in the America find out of bounds, and whether or not the defense was linked with a tendency of so many Democratic legislators to take funding from Planned Parenthood, (the nation’s largest abortion provider gave Northam about $3 million), Mancini is circumspect.
“Planned Parenthood has something like a $1.3 billion dollar budget and a huge media machine behind it,” she says. “And almost 40 percent is taxpayer dollars. So while it’s sad when any elected official is not willing to do what’s right because of money they take from an advocacy group, there’s also a conflict of interest. 40 percent of that budget is taxpayer dollars and mainstream America does not agree with these new radical positions on abortion.”
She is also quick to point out that Planned Parenthood, despite the narrative they have crafted surrounding women’s health, has a singular agenda: pushing women to have abortions, a fact she hopes legislators will recognize going forward.
“All the money in the world won’t change the reality: they are the nation’s largest abortion provider and they push all policy in that direction,” she says.