NYT’s Bob Herbert Says Pro-Choice is THE Issue on Countdown


This is significant, and certainly underscores why more Americans are turning toward pro-choice values as they see just how far outside the mainstream social conservatives really are.

Undecided women voters are the key, and pro-choice values are a significant advantage in 2008, according to New York Times columnist Bob Herbert. In addition to the veep selection McCain is considering, one has to wonder if he really wants HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt to go forward with his proposal that would redefine contraception as abortion. McCain does believe life begins at conception, and that certainly poses a threat to contraception, if in fact he supports Leavitt’s proposal, and quite frankly, even if he doesn’t.

Family Planning is more important to the lives of real Americans now than ever before, as more people consider climate change, issues of consumption, the economy, health care reform, education, the war, and just about any other major issue in this election. At the core of every issue, are thoughts of family, wanting to be responsible parents, laying a solid foundation for any life you responsibly choose to bring into the world.

Because of this, Americans are choosing evidence-based comprehensive sexuality education over abstinence-only, teaching education and prevention to adults as well as youth, and creating better support systems whether you choose to use contraception or not. Whether you choose to have a child, or not, by birth or adoption. Americans increasingly understand that a threat to any choice is a threat to all choices, and that private health care decisions are best made by individuals, families and their doctors; not legislatures, and not a Supreme Court that is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Bob Herbert is right, and both the Obama and McCain campaigns understand that. The only question that remains is if social conservatives will be energized by a candidate that barely pays them lip service?


 

 

Like this story? Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

To schedule an interview with contact director of communications Rachel Perrone at rachel@rhrealitycheck.org.

  • invalid-0

    In your first sentence, are you saying just that people are moving towards a pro-choice viewpoint, or that a higher amount are moving towards that viewpoint than the reverse?

  • scott-swenson

    I’m suggesting that there is an increasing consensus toward values of education, prevention and choice and away from the strict social conservative position of abstinence-only, and opposition to contraception or choice.


    Be the change you seek,

    Scott Swenson, Editor

  • http://www.newmorningfoundation.org invalid-0

    First, thank you for your comments, which always make for good reading.
    Second, can you share a source — a study, survey, etc — that we can use to cite the “increasing consensus”? If there’s one, I would like to know about it.
    Thank you – B

  • scott-swenson

    The notion of a trend is coming from reading several tea leaves, and connecting issues that people don’t always connect. For example, the overwhelming reaction to the proposed HHS regulations redefining contraception as abortion. This issue has struck a nerve online, witnessed in high traffic (this site and others), and the success of the 325,000 signatures gathered by Move On and Planned Parenthood. That indicates that people see the importance of contraception as prevention and family planning tools.

    On top of that there are many polls that show wide spread support for contraception, even religious conservatives use contraception, and that at some point in their lives 98 percent of American women do. At 98 percent you know that includes lots of conservatives and all political parties, faiths, etc. Catholics for Choice has several good reports, including a 2006 survey on contraception that indicates Catholics support and use contraception at the same rate as non-Catholics.

    Next, polling supports comprehensive sexuality education over abstinence-only, and the rejection of federal funds by more than 20 states (run by politicians/policymakers who don’t reject federal money easily) of abstinence-only policies indicate the importance for real sex-ed. This page at the Reproductive Rights Prof Blog links to several polls supportive of a range of sexual and reproductive health issues.

    Lastly, polling indicates significant numbers of swing women voters will be persuaded to vote based in part on a candidate’s support for choice.

    You put these issues together and witness what happened with the Democratic Platform, where both pro-choice and pro-life Democrats claim progress, and the fact that McCain is seriously considering a pro-choice running mate (which is in part based on polling read by his team) and I feel very safe in saying that there is an emerging consensus for a progressive education and prevention agenda on sexual and reproductive health, as opposed to a social conservative prohibition agenda on abortion.

    Be the change you seek,

    Scott Swenson, Editor

  • invalid-0

    Reading tea leaves is quasi-religious ballyhoo, and NARAL polling doesn’t count as an unbiased source. Most Americans are fine with sex ed and contraception and will be for a long time, but that doesn’t mean that those of us who are fit into the pro-choice viewpoint. There are a lot of us switching from a pro-legal abortion mindset to the pro-life/anti-abortion/anti-choice camp. I’m one, and I have a lot of other funky new pro-life friends that don’t exactly fit the stereotypical pro-life mold.

    There have been polls showing an increase in anti-abortion sentiments amongst younger age groups, even as they move towards more tolerant positions on LGBTI issues, and I have yet to see anything suggesting this trend isn’t ending.

  • scott-swenson

    Pro-Life Atheist,
    If you acknowledge the need for comprehensive sexuality education and contraception as a means to prevent unintended pregnancies, you are in fact part of a growing consensus in the country, regardless of your beliefs on abortion, and the truth is that represents pro-choice values. Pro-choice values have always been about far more than abortion, and include the rights to choose whether and when and how many children to have, and how. You may want to deny women the right to make their own medical decisions and therefore call yourself pro-life, but try espousing your views on sex ed, contraception and gays at most places where other people opposed to women making their own medical decisions gather, and I think you’ll find out what I mean. There are many people, elected officials and others, who may not choose abortion but work to put in place policies to reduce unintended pregnancies. They have far more in common with pro-choice values than they realize. That’s where the consensus is, and for a majority of Americans that consensus extends to allowing people to make the best medical decisions for themselves, after putting education and prevention agendas first.

     

    Here are unaffiliated polls that demonstrate the vast majority of Americans support legal abortion, some with and some without restriction. Only a small percentage (as few as ten percent) of people believe abortion should be outlawed in all cases, which is the traditional pro-life view.

     

    I don’t post polls I don’t trust and I base my judgment on polls on the questions asked and the methodology, though you are right to critique the organizational bias that can drive polling too. That happens on both sides, I happen to think the NARAL poll I cited above does not fall into that category, but respect your suspicion.


    Be the change you seek,

    Scott Swenson, Editor