Roundup: Myth of “Pro-Life Majority” Dispelled in New Gallup Poll

Myth of "Pro-Life Majority" Dispelled in New Gallup Poll
The much-touted "pro-life majority" found by a Gallup poll this past
spring has turned out to be a fluke, Amy Sullivan reports in TIME.  As Sullivan writes, "Now along comes a follow-up poll from Gallup
and whaddya know, the much ballyhooed pro-life majority seems to have
disappeared. The percentages of Americans calling themselves "pro-life"
and "pro-choice" are essentially the same (47% for pro-life; 46% for
pro-choice). Meanwhile, the positions they hold–a more useful
indicator than the labels people choose for themselves–haven’t budged.
A solid 78% think abortion should be legal in some or all
Sullivan’s analysis of the most telling aspect of the poll?
I’m with Mark Silk,
who thinks that the most interesting finding is that approximately 60%
of those who describe themselves as "pro-life" believe that abortion
should be legal in at least some circumstances. Anti-abortion activists
would say they’re not really pro-life, just like they insist that
politicians like Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio)
who support the use of contraception to prevent unwanted pregnancies
should not be described as pro-life. But clearly many Americans are
comfortable thinking of themselves as "pro-life" and at the same time
holding the belief that abortion should be legal. Now that’s a story.

Family Research Council Ad Misleads on Abortion Coverage

On Beliefnet,
Steven Waldman takes Family Research Council to task for a recent ad
that suggests that health care reform will allot taxpayer funds for
abortion care:
Planned Parenthood already gets money from the federal government
for family planning services and they’re not allowed to use it directly
for abortion. The Senate bill does not mandate abortion BUT it doesn’t
close the door to that possibility either. That’s why Senator Robert
Casey, a pro-life Democrat, voted against the amendment. "It’s too
broad and that the way it could be interpreted down the road might
include something like abortion," he said.
And what about the ad’s phrase, "spending tax dollars on abortions"?
There was a convoluted debate about this in the House Energy and
Commerce Committee. I’ve written about the details here,
but the bottom line is that the legislation does not mandate government
paying for abortion — but again leaves open that possibility.

Waldman also targets the Democratic Party:

While I’m not excusing Family Research Council’s exaggeration, the
Democrats should have seen this coming a mile away…No one thinks the Democrats will, or should, try to come up with
something that will win over the Family Research Council, which would
oppose health care even if abortion were clearly prohibited. But if you
want health care reform, the fact that the Democrats haven’t figured
out a way of assuaging pro-life Democrats at this point seems risky in
the extreme.

One More Time: Abortion Coverage and Health Care Reform

A New York Times FAQ on health care reform sets the record straight (again):

What if I don’t want my health
care dollars to pay for other
people’s abortions?

Abortion opponents say the legislation would use taxes to subsidize
insurance that could cover the procedure. Under the House bill, health
plans could choose to cover abortion, but they generally could not
use federal money to pay for the procedure and instead would have to
use money from the premiums paid by beneficiaries. Representative
Diana DeGette, Democrat of Colorado, said the bill would keep
current restrictions on the use of federal money for abortion.

And an NPR segment concurs, in an interview with Robert Farley of

[Host Melissa BLOCK]: let’s talk about the bill that has been approved in the House. It
includes an amendment from Democratic Congresswoman Lois Capps in
trying to make the bill abortion neutral. First of all, in the public
plan under that bill, is abortion coverage required?

Mr. FARLEY: It’s not required but it is allowable.

BLOCK: Okay. So not prohibited, not mandated…

BLOCK: We should explain that the public plan that’s being discussed
for health care is not like Medicaid. It’s not government-funded, but
there would be some government subsidies for low-income people to buy
insurance. So that does bring up the money question that that
questioner in Pennsylvania was alluding to. Would taxpayer dollars, in
fact, be paying for abortion through subsidies to those people who are

Mr. FARLEY: Well, this Capps Amendment seeks to answer
that question by segregating the money that would be used to cover
abortions. It would specifically prohibit federal dollars from being
used to subsidize abortions. Any of that money that would be used for
abortion coverage would have to be paid through the premiums paid by an
insured person.

BLOCK: So not from government funding.

Heading to a town hall meeting on health care reform this August?  Be prepared for questions from the "Pro-Life Toolkit," on CBN’s Brody File

Clinton Visits Congo, Denounces Sexual Violence in the Region

On a visit to Goma, Congo, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton denounced the sexual violence that has been a weapon of war in the region.  Reports the New York Times, "Mrs. Clinton used her unprecedented visit — she is the first secretary
of state to venture into the war zone here — to unveil a $17 million
plan to fight Congo’s stunning levels of sexual violence, a problem she
called ‘evil in its basest form.’" The $17 million will be used to "train doctors, supply
rape victims with video cameras to document violence, send American
military engineers to help build facilities and train Congolese police
officers, especially female police officers, to crack down on rapists."

Before departing, Clinton spoke to survivors of rape:

After the camp, she spoke with two rape survivors, including the
woman who lost her fetus and nearly bled to death in the bush. Mrs.
Clinton then talked with a group of doctors and advocates who
specialize in treating victims of sexual violence. Many said they felt

“Children are killed, women are raped and the world closes its eyes,” said one woman.

Other News to Note
August 13: Philippine Information Agency: Campaign for male participation in family planning breaks ground in Dumaguete

August 13: Argus Leader: Abortion dispute sharpens

August 12: Rockford Register Star: Pro-life group defends graphic images

August 12: Baptist Press: Kennedy Shriver remembered for defense of unborn

August 12: WaPo: ‘Family Guy’s’ Look at the Lighter Side of Abortion

August 12: Science Daily: Seizures During Pregnancy Associated With Risk Of Pre-term And Small Babies

August 12: Peoples’ Weekly World: Death panels, euthanasia, abortion: health care fiction and facts

August 12: LifeSite: Member of Congress Admits House Health Care Bill Includes Abortion Funding

August 12: USA Today: More women wait to start families

August 12: FOX News: Disagreement, Distraction, and Dishonesty

August 12: Examiner: Giving up your baby: The other side of adoption

August 11: Catholic PRWire: Abstinence Is a Positive Challenge for NFP Couples, Says Top Expert

August 12: Telegraph: ‘Sex bus’ offers children free chlamydia tests

August 12: America Magazine: A Time for Reform

August 12: Unreasonable Faith: The Right Stuff: Dr. Patrick Johnston

August 12: Spectator: No Good Deeds

August 12: Forest Grove News Times: Keep abortion out of reforms

August 11: HuffPo: Far-Right Fearmongering on Death is Nothing New

August 12: Tulsa World: Ruling likely next week on challenge of ’08 abortion law

August 11: Morehead News: (Letter) Fight ‘anti-life’ measures

August 12: NYTimes: Frequently Asked Questions at Health Care Town Halls

August 12: AP: Oklahoma: Attorney: Don’t force ultrasound before abortion

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  • invalid-0

    Nice try Emily, I know you are desperate to get out of the minority of public opinion, but it’s not true.

    Although the figure is lower than the 51 percent who called themselves pro-life in the May Gallup survey, Gallup editor Lydia Saad admitted that “both 2009 readings show more Americans labeling themselves ‘pro-life’ than has been the case in recent years.”

    The new poll is the first one to have been conducted after the shooting death of late-term abortion practitioner George Tiller, which received considerable media coverage. The shooting, allegedly done by someone who has no ties with the pro-life movement, likely temporarily deflated the number of Americans who call themselves pro-life. As such, a Gallup poll conducted further after the incident would likely see a return to the May figures.

    Saad appears to acknowledge that the polls constitute a true shift in Americans’ thinking on abortion.

    “On a long-term basis, both 2009 measures, although differing slightly from one another, indicate a modest shift toward the ‘pro-life’ position,” she writes.

    And yes, 60 percent of pro-life people support abortion in some circumstances — i.e. the very very rare cases when a mother’s life is threatened or in cases of rape or incest. They, as other, better quality polls show, oppose 98 percent of all abortions.

  • invalid-0

    The shooting, allegedly done by someone who has no ties with the pro-life movement,

    What’s the weather like in your universe?

  • brianh

    "A solid 78% think abortion should be legal in some or all

    I suppose that’s one way of looking at the results.


    Another way would be to say that a full 75% feel that abortion should be illegal in some circumstances which is not the current state of things.  Abortion is legal in all 9 months for any reason currently and apparently 75% of American’t feel that there should be restrictions.


    I’d say that the results lean much more towards the Pro-Life side than the other side.

  • independentminded

    Most Americans, including Catholics, are for the right to choose.

  • invalid-0

    I’d say that the results lean much more towards the Pro-Life side than the other side.

    Except for the fact that 2/3rds of those polled don’t want to see Roe v. Wade overturned. But don’t let that interfere with your spin Brian.
    The fact of the matter is that the aims of anti-abortion extremists such as yourself are not shared by most people.

  • invalid-0

    Abortion is not legal for all 40 weeks gestation for any reason. Abortion after the 1st trimester is regulated and even further restricted during the 3rd. In fact, in “the current state of things” abortion IS illegal is some circumstances. I’m not sure what you’re railing against. Seems current conditions is what you’re arguing for.

  • adolmd

    Why should we pander to conservative democrats? Do the Republicans pander to liberal Republicans? No, they do NOT.


    Why NOT fund abortions with tax dollars? It is NOT a Choice if a woman can’t afford an abortion.


    Why should only the RICH people have a choice?When someone says "federal dollars should not fund abortion," they are in practice saying "poor people should not have a choice of abortion."


    People say "I don’t want my tax $$ to go to abortion." Others could say, "I don’t want my tax $$ to go to the War, to lung cancer for smokers, to liver cancer for alcoholics, etc. etc."

  • invalid-0

    I’m not so sure where people are getting the whole “most people are for the right to choose” line from. Most people are for the “right to choose” if a woman is raped, going to suffer some serious health complications/die as a result of pregnancy or if the ZEF has some serious health condition. Most people are not for the “right to choose” as it is now, where a woman can have an abortion because the moon rose over the pickle jar (i.e., for whatever reason she wants).

    Every single poll reflects that fact. Every last one. And try as some might, there’s no way to put a spin on that.

  • invalid-0

    A woman doesn’t and shouldn’t need any reason other than she does not wish to remain pregnant anymore. If more people understood the health complications of pregnancy and birth, there’d probably be more people who are for the right to choose. Instead, everyone lives in a fictional land where pregnancy is fun and delightful and poses no health risks and women who do not want to have a child are selfish sluts who can’t keep their legs closed.

    I wonder how many people would have different viewpoints if Americans were willing to have an honest discussion of pregnancy instead of pressuring women into motherhood where they must pretend everything is joyous.

    By the way, even if the majority of people do believe abortion should only be allowable in certain circumstances, you’ll find the majority of Americans do not want Roe v. Wade overturned. People’s opinions differ from what they want to see legally happen, especially if they were educated on what would happen if abortions were legal only in certain circumstances.

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