At least once a year, I inevitably end up writing a post analyzing a new national poll measuring Americans' opinions about abortion. I do so not because public opinion is, or should be, the final word on the ethical or moral implications of the practice, but because it's important and instructive to routinely highlight how dramatically out-of-touch the elite consensus on this issue is. Democrats and their mainstream media allies skew overwhelmingly to the hard left on abortion, which is one of the 'hot button' issues on which the press is most aggressively and shamelessly biased.
Pro-life candidates and lawmakers are endlessly demagogued as "extremists" who oppose "women's health." In fact, the pro-life position -- broadly defined -- is not just a mainstream stance; it's held by a clear majority of Americans. Furthermore, the Republican Party's formal policy posture on abortion is far less "extreme" than the Democrats' increasingly radical platform plank. Yesterday, Lauretta flagged a fresh nationwide Gallup survey on abortion, the results of which are simultaneously stunning and entirely normal:
Gallup: Americans divided exactly evenly between "pro-life" and "pro-choice" on abortion. pic.twitter.com/8rD96eSr3Z— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) June 12, 2018
"43% of Americans say abortion should be legal in all (29%) or most (14%) circumstances, while a majority of 53% say it should be legal in only a few (35%) or no circumstances (18%)"— Ramesh Ponnuru (@RameshPonnuru) June 11, 2018
By a ten point margin, Americans select the "pro-life" positions (abortion should be legal in few or no circumstances) versus the "pro-choice" (abortion should be legal in all or most circumstances). Gallup does not publicly provide demographic breakdowns for their data, but previous surveys suggest that there is virtually zero gender gap on the question -- a pesky fact that complicates the abortion lobby's "women's rights" framing -- with women just as likely as men to favor curbs on abortion. A Marist poll published earlier this year confirmed that longstanding trend (in addition to tracking widespread public approval of various abortion restrictions):
I'm struck again by the lack of a gender gap. On the specific question of when abortion should and should not be illegal, 51 percent of women choose one of the three post pro-life options, compared to 22 percent who choose the two most pro-choice options; those numbers among men are 51 and 25 percent, respectively. In total, 78 percent of American women favor significant new restrictions on abortion. Among Millennial voters, 68 percent say abortion should be limited to the first trimester or restricted even further. Among Latinos, that number is 77 percent.
What's fascinating about anti-abortion sentiment remaining remarkably steady is the fact that it's happening against a backdrop of significant shifts on other major social issues. For instance, while polling on guns is mixed and favors the pro-gun rights side in a number of important respects, support for at least some enhanced gun control measures has jumped after the school massacre in Parkland, Florida. Meanwhile, the number of Americans favoring same-sex marriage has exploded in recent years -- including a sea change of historic proportions among Republican voters. Another Gallup data point out this week found an uptick in the public's views on the morality of sex between teenagers:
U.S. adults remain more likely to say that sex between teenagers is morally wrong (54%) rather than morally acceptable (42%). But the percentage who find it acceptable has grown by 10 percentage points since Gallup first polled on the question in 2013, including a six-point increase in the past year. Adults with children younger than 18 in their household (39%) and those without children younger than 18 (43%) are similarly likely to find sex between teenagers morally acceptable. Adults aged 18 to 29, whose adolescent years are not as far in their past, are the only age group in which a majority says sex between teens is morally acceptable, with 59% saying this.
If Americans are becoming much more liberal or libertarian about sexual behavior, one might think that support for legalized abortion would increase accordingly. But despite their best efforts, the abortion lobby is failing to convince the public that ending innocent human lives should simply be regarded as a normalized form of "healthcare" for women. I'll leave you with these recent and notable pro-life developments in Louisiana and Iowa:
A Democratic governor just signed a human rights bill that limits legalized abortion in LA to the first ~3.5 months of pregnancy. It passed overwhelmingly.— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) May 30, 2018
Earlier this month, IA's female governor signed a pro-life bill barring most elective abortions post-fetal heartbeat.