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NPR/PBS/Marist Poll: Pro-Life Sentiment Far Exceeds Public Support for Democrats' Radical Abortion Stance

AP Photo/Eric Gay

National Democrats' lurch toward abortion extremism has been well documented and is at this point an undeniable trend.  Look no further than Joe Biden's shambolic flip-flop-flip on the Hyde Amendment, a longstanding policy that prevents federal taxpayer dollars from being used to fund abortions.  Before we get to Biden's mess, or the new poll referenced in the headline, two quick points: First, the Hyde Amendment has been one of the few 'truces,' if you will, in the wider public debate over this hot-button issue.

One party has now launched an all-out assault on that decades-old compromise.  Second, we've been endlessly told by advocates that abortion is a deeply personal decision that must be left entirely to a woman and her doctor.  Oh, and also US taxpayers, they're now adding.  Much like the disappearance of "safe, legal and rare," previous rhetorical nods to the heart-wrenching nature of abortion are being abandoned by fervent supporters.  As for Biden, his double backflip on this issue is quite extraordinary:


This tells us a few things: (1) The Democratic Party's descent into fringe fanaticism on this subject is nearly complete.  In order to secure that party's presidential nomination, it seems, one must favor legalized elective abortion for all nine months of pregnancy, with no restrictions, paid for by the American public.  (2) Joe Biden was demonstrably ill-equipped to defend his stance, pointing to a lack of preparedness and core conviction that could plague his campaign; he looks weaker today than at any point since his launch.  Remember, his team sent out a surrogate to make the case for Biden's long-held pro-Hyde position on television literally the night before he retreated:


And his campaign was telling reporters things like this:

If you're going to pull a 180 on a major issue, especially one about which you've spoken publicly and passionately for decades, you carefully scenario plan for that moment.  This was a rushed, amateurish cave job.  Biden has now walked away from a majority-supported viewpoint on the Hyde Amendment, even as he seems to have the "moderate" lane basically to himself.  The playbook to drag him leftward is now established.  SE Cupp asks what the point of his candidacy is if he's going to run scared when the Left gangs up on him, even when his stance is popular and entirely defensible.  Yes, I said 'popular.'  By a double-digit margin, the American people oppose public funding of abortion.  And the population for whom the Hyde Amendment would be jettisoned is even less likely to support the idea than wealthier Americans:


A brand new poll from NPR, PBS and Marist once again underscores the public's contradictory and somewhat incoherent policy preferences on the overall issue of abortion.  Pro-choicers will point out that in these numbers, a very large majority wants Roe v. Wade upheld, and more people self-identify as pro-choice than pro-life.  But within the same data set, pro-lifers will note that a similarly lopsided majority (also reflected in other data) of the public favors significant new restrictions on the practice -- and fewer than one-in-five voters share Democrats' desire for a no-limits regime:

Three-quarters of Americans say they want to keep in place the landmark Supreme Court ruling, Roe v. Wade, that made abortion legal in the United States, but a strong majority would like to see restrictions on abortion rights, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll. What the survey found is a great deal of complexity — and sometimes contradiction among Americans...Even though Americans are solidly against overturning Roe, a majority would also like to see abortion restricted in various ways. In a separate question, respondents were asked which of six choices comes closest to their view of abortion policy. In all, 61% said they were in favor of a combination of limitations that included allowing abortion in just the first three months of a pregnancy (23%); only in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the woman (29%); or only to save the life of the woman (9%)...Eighteen percent said abortion should be available to a woman any time she wants during her entire pregnancy. At the other end of the spectrum, 9% said it should never be permitted under any circumstance.


Yes, you read that right: Seventy-seven percent of Americans oppose overturning Roe v. Wade, yet 70 percent also want major new legal restrictions on abortion.  If you add up the coalition of pro-life positions (very limited exceptions, life of the mother, or totally banned), you get to 47 percent of the public -- nearly 30 points higher than the 'abortion throughout the entire pregnancy' posture increasingly adopted by the Democratic Party.  In other words, there is far greater popular support for measures like fetal heartbeat bills than there is for the new consensus of the Democratic field of presidential candidates.  If that comes as a surprise, it's because much of the media falls within this '16 percent' minority cohort:  

As for the point Nikki Haley and other pro-life women have been making, this poll finds that across gender and partisan demographics, conservative women "in many ways, are the backbone of the movement opposing abortion rights." I'll leave you with this:


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