Why Americans are becoming more pro-life

Brendan Hoffman GETTY IMAGES Pro-life activists march up Constitution Avenue at the March for Life rally on January 23, 2012 … Continued

Brendan Hoffman

GETTY IMAGES

Pro-life activists march up Constitution Avenue at the March for Life rally on January 23, 2012 in Washington, DC. Activists gather each year to protest on the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion.

For decades, abortion was thought of as an issue that riled up religious zealots in the Bible Belt. “Enlightened” Americans, however, saw abortion as the key to women’s liberation and a more egalitarian society.

Their notions about history and progress assured them that abortion was an essential part of the path forward, for women and for society more broadly.

Wednesday’s news that Gallup is now recording the lowest level of self-described pro-choicers in its history of tracking the abortion issue is no doubt an unwelcome hiccup in their vision for America.

The survey found:

The polling shows that rather than embracing abortion with increasing gusto, Americans–especially young Americans–are rejecting it with increasing disgust, and not just for religious reasons.

Why?

First, the fetus has been humanized. Modern science has helped us to understand with intricate detail the amazing phenomenon that occurs at the moment of fertilization. From then on, a pregnant woman can track the extraordinary chain of events that is triggered in the new life within her with a slew of Web sites and iPhone apps. She learns her baby’s heart starts beating at a mere 21 days after conception (before many women learn they are pregnant). She meets her baby on the ultrasound screen at eight weeks as opposed to at the end of nine months.

Heather McClelland

AP

About 3,500 people march down 4th Street in downtown Baton Rouge, La., during the 2nd annual Louisiana Life March on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2012.

Second, we have seen the way abortion is used in the world to undermine the rights of women, whether it is forced abortion in China, gender-selective abortion worldwide or its concentration among poor and minority women. Abortion is increasingly hard to square with women’s empowerment when it is the single greatest contributor tipping the scale towards a world with fewer women.

Finally, the pro-life movement has caught on to the importance of framing. You can’t win a debate if you are trying to take away the “rights” of a group. And that is a good thing – this is a nation where rights mean something. Which is why pro-lifers are increasingly framing abortion as a civil rights issue. It is a civil rights issue. At stake is the most elemental right we have as a human being, the right to be alive, the right not to be killed, regardless of one’s race, gender, or “viability.”

Many past civil rights movements in this country, such as the move to end slavery or the fight for women’s suffrage, were deeply rooted in religious conviction. Such is the case with the pro-life movement. But with each of these movements there was a tipping point where Americans saw that one need not be a devoutly religious person to recognize the social justice issue at stake and to get behind the cause. This is happening with abortion in America.

And as it turns out, the religious people behind much of the pro-life movement aren’t actually so nutty, or so old. Speaking about the teeming throngs at the 2010 March for Life, departing NARAL President, Nancy Keenan, said then, fearfully, “I just thought, my gosh, they are so young,” she said. “There are so many of them, and they are so young.”

Yup. Here we come. Our marches may get measly coverage. We may be the pitied laughingstock of ‘sophisticated’ urban cocktail parties. We may champion the Cinderella of human rights issues.

But we are winning. And our cause is life.

Ashley McGuire is editor-in-chief of AltCatholicah.



Written by
  • ccnl1

    It is great to see that the number of citizens who repect human life in all its forms is growing but it is not going to change the following:

    Why the Christian Right no longer matters in presidential elections:

    Once again, all the conservative votes in the country “ain’t” going to help a “pro-life” presidential candidate, i.e Mitt Romney, in 2012 as the “Immoral Majority” rules the country and will be doing so for awhile. The “Immoral Majority” you ask?

    The fastest growing USA voting bloc: In 2008, the 70+ million “Roe vs. Wade mothers and fathers” of aborted womb-babies” whose ranks grow by two million per year i.e. 78+ million “IM” voters in 2012.

    2008 Presidential popular vote results:

    69,456,897 for pro-abortion/choice BO, 59,934,814 for “pro-life” JM.

    And the irony:

    And all because many women fail to take the Pill once a day or men fail to use a condom even though in most cases these men have them in their pockets. (maybe they should be called the “Stupid Majority”?)

    The failures of the widely used birth “control” methods i.e. the Pill and male condom have led to the large rate of abortions ( one million/yr) and S-TDs (19 million/yr) in the USA. Men and women must either recognize their responsibilities by using the Pill or condoms properly and/or use other safer birth control methods in order to reduce the epidemics of abortion and S-TDs.

    .

  • usapdx

    As time goes by, food prices will increase very much but today at 7 BILLION humans and 2 BILLION more humans by 2050, what will those that are against birth control answer be when earth cannot feed all humans? Time waits for no one. Well?

  • nectroll

    We can still produce more food as is. Our production just does not meet the demand, and then there is issues with distribution and corruption.

    Remember Ethiopia and Somalia, the military was taking all the food intentionally to starve the people.

  • nectroll

    Not to mention how much more food we would have if it was not wasted as cattle grain and alcohol production.

  • JustAthoughtt

    @usapdx
    This has no relevance to the issue at hand… If there is overpopulation in 100 years from now, the answer will be some form of birth control and people being responsible for their actions…
    It will not be the murder…
    Not the murder of the unborn, or the elderly, or the sick, or the disabled, or of ethnic groups, or of a sex etc etc etc

  • cricket44

    “Not the murder of the unborn, or the elderly, or the sick, or the disabled, or of ethnic groups, or of a sex etc etc etc ”

    There’s that imagination…also irrelevant to the issue at hand.

  • nectroll

    Yeah, totally imagination Crickett, currently 92% of Down Syndrome kids are aborted, sex selection abortions do happen, and there is a huge push for euthanasia right now.

    Can you even begin to describe how it might be possible to avoid financial collapse of the US with 16 Trillion in debt and a failing economy? I can only think of 2 ways and they are both very bad, one is through inflation with China would actively work against, and the other is to liquidate social security.

    Now that the Boomers are all going into retirement can you tell me who is going to take care of them? We cannot have an entire generation sucking up most of the US GDP with health care and retirement homes, it seems the chunk of the population that should have taken care of them were all aborted. The only reason we are not in huge trouble already is because of illegal immigration, and when things collapse most immigrants will run from the US.

  • usapdx

    If your around in 2050, remember your comment here. God bless.

  • nectroll

    This is not a fate I want, just a result of the natural law of the harvest.

  • newagent99

    hmm, guess you haven’t read the polls that ask

    whether the govt should make medical decisions for adults.
    the answer is NO , resoundingly.

    Or if the govt should decide family planning.
    the answer is NO , resoundingly

    Or if women who have an abortion should be imprisoned
    the answer is NO resoundingly

    Or is women should be forced to have a child against their will
    The answer is NO resoundingly

    so it all depends on what you ask.

    I ask you,
    do you think the govt should make YOUR medical decisions for you?

  • newagent99

    the simple truth is still the same

    If YOU don’t believe in abortion, don’t have one

    If YOU don’t believe in abortion and you are male, don’t
    have sex until you are willling to have a child.

  • ccnl1

    Ooops, make that “respect for all forms of human life.”

  • 4amnz6pdotl2

    For those who don’t believe in the Christian Bible: One-third of the Bible is prophesy. Approximately 50% of the Bible’s recorded prophecies had been fulfilled. The Bible prophetically declared second return of Jesus to establish his government upon this earth. The Bible prophetically tells us what the conditions will be like in this earth just prior to Christ’s second coming. Those conditions are being daily reported as taking place in today’s world. This indicates that the second coming of our Savior will soon occur. No one will go without food or any of the other necessities during the Lord’s reign on earth. Therefore there is no need for us to be concerned that natural conditions will reach the point where human beings will have to be murdered in order to save the world. God will save the world. However, before he does, man himself will exterminate billions of people in a third war. And other hundreds of millions will be destroyed in the Battle of Armageddon when they foolishly try to destroy Jesus–God–as he comes in the sky at the second coming. If you do not wish to be one these war-butchered souls, then all you have to do is receive Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. Before the Third World War arrives, Christians worldwilde will be safely removed from all the destuction in what is often termed the rapture. Mankind cannot and will not save himself. Only God can save you. Stop falling for all the scare tactics of those who preach the murderous “sustainability” doctrine. Turn to God. Trust God. Receive the gift of pardon and eternal life he promises. Men are liar and murderers. God keeps all his promises, and God–Jesus Christ–is our only Savior. Accept the Truth of God and the Truth will set you free from all the fear those who hate God preach to you from their political pulpits. May the Lord save your souls

  • 4amnz6pdotl2

    For those who don’t believe in the Christian Bible: almost one-third of the Bible is prophesy. Approximately 50% of the Bible’s recorded prophecies have already been fulfilled. The rest will soon be fulfilled. The Bible prophetically declares the soon second coming of Jesus Christ to establish his government, his reign as King upon this earth. Soon? The Bible prophetically tells us what conditions will be like in this earth just prior to Christ’s second coming. Those conditions are being daily reported as taking place and extant in today’s world. This indicates that the second coming of our Savior will soon occur. No one will go without food or any other necessity or good thing during the Lord’s reign on earth. It will be a time of peace, abundance and every good blessing over all the earth. Therefore there is no need for us to be concerned that natural conditions will someday reach the point where human beings will have to be murdered in order to save the world from overpopulation. God will save the world before that day ever comes. However, before he does, billions of unbelieving people will die during the prophesied seven-year period called the Tribulation. And other hundreds of millions will be destroyed in the Battle of Armageddon when they foolishly try to war against and destroy Jesus–God–as he comes in the sky at the second coming. If you do not wish to be one these condemned souls, then all you have to do is receive Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. Make him your King. Repent of your sins, ask him into your “heart,” and accept his loving rule in your life. Before the Third World War and the Tribulation arrive, Christians worldwide will be safely removed from all the destruction in what is often referred to as the rapture. Mankind cannot and will not save itself from itself. Only God can save you. Stop falling for all the scare tactics of those who preach the murderous “sustainability” doctrine. Turn to God. Trust God.

  • nectroll

    Continuing with this logic:
    If you don’t believe in slavery don’t own a slave.
    If you don’t like rape, don’t choose to be raped.

    Although I fully agree with your last sentence.

  • nectroll

    Guess you have not read the latest Gallup polls.

    If it were just a medical decision, I’d completely agree, but I’d still favor informed consent for medical decisions. The abortion industry routinely fights informed consent legislation and continually spreads “blob of tissue” lies. This industry needs informed consent legislation more than any other industry because of the dishonesty that is inherent to this line of work.

  • XVIIHailSkins

    Does it ever bother you that a complete stranger could read the first two sentences of this post and become perfectly aware of the limits to which you are willing to stretch your intellect? Does it bother you that a stranger can know your mind better than you do?

  • usapdx

    If your teenage daughter was raped, what would you do?

  • XVIIHailSkins

    If your entire viewpoint on this issue could be distilled into a provocative yet irrelevant question, would you copy/paste it on every thread trying to get a rise out of christian fundamentalists?

    Obviously there are innumerable cases in which rape, miscarriage, etc. demonstrate that we cannot deal in absolutes on this issue. Every remotely cranial person in this country has moved past the point you are trying to make. The relevant discussion is whether or not economic or social inconvenience can adequately justify an abortion (as is the case 99% of the time), and the correct answer is no. The nuances of a proper abortion law will continue to be discussed by people with an interest in morality, and the neanderthals on either side of the debate will continue to hurl absolutist statements at each other, ensuring that no rational compromise will occur.

  • JustAthoughtt

    Well said

  • JustAthoughtt

    Science is constantly proved wrong, and ever changing… but that doesn’t stop people from having strong faith in it.

  • DRJJJ

    Tax payer funded, drive through abortions for teens on demand is a National disgrace any way you try to sell it! It’s a result of the push for secularization of church and state, it’s called progressive and it’s ruining families, marriages, and our youth! Pro life has a wholesome ring to it-don’t ya think vs pro death!What our government does with it’s time and money says everything about us! Seems we’ve talked more about private sex lives than public debt, etc!

  • XVIIHailSkins

    ‘Seems we’ve talked more about private sex lives than public debt.’

    And if you were to pick the faction of American society that is most responsible for this digression in public discourse, which do you think it might be? Which faction is hell bent on diverting our attention away from economics and towards the interpretation of ancient scripture? Which faction would have you believe that the question of gay marriage is the great political issue of our time? Which faction has attempted to amalgamate religious dogmatism and fiscal conservatism so that the two terms are almost indistinguishable in our national consciousness?

    If you think American christians are not responsible for our current impasse in the abortion discussion, then you haven’t been paying attention. They have effectively denied rationality a seat at the table.

  • Catken1

    “At stake is the most elemental right we have as a human being, the right to be alive, the right not to be killed, regardless of one’s race, gender, or “viability.”

    And the anti-choice crowd has framed the argument like this, because to them, there is only one human being involved in a pregnancy, the fetus, and one piece of property which it inhabits.

    Do any of us, any born humans, have the right to sustain our lives with someone else’s organs, body parts, and physical resources without that person’s consent, without them having the right to say no or change their mind during the process? Does anyone have that right, over any other human?

    Am I not “humanized”? Do people not see me as a full human being? And yet I can’t take so little as a pint of blood from my mother without her explicit and continuing consent – as it should be. Why is a pregnant woman less human,. less the owner of her own physical resources and internal organs, than is the mother of a born child?

    As for forced abortion in China, it is every bit as wrong as coerced pregnancy, and it is only the other side of the anti-choice coin – the idea that government, and not the person whose body is being used, gets to decide when and how a woman may or must nurture an unborn baby to term.

  • Catken1

    “The relevant discussion is whether or not economic or social inconvenience can adequately justify an abortion (as is the case 99% of the time), and the correct answer is no”

    Can economic or social inconvenience adequately justify you killing an innocent person by refusing to give blood? Do you not still have that right, even if your only reason for letting the poor little innocent helpless doe-eyed child die is that you don’t like needles, or don’t feel like donating that day?

  • Catken1

    “If you don’t believe in slavery don’t own a slave. ”

    What is slavery? Is it not one person owning another’s body, and having the right to command the work and energy of that body without needing to gain the other person’s consent?

    What is the anti-choice movement but the desire to ensure that every fetus owns its mother’s body, and may command the use of her work and her resources without needing her continuing consent?

    As for rape, it’s not us who insist that a rape victim get nine months of additional pain, draining work, and brutal emotional punishment for committing the “crime” of being raped.

  • Catken1

    “We can still produce more food as is.”

    But not more fossil fuel. And what are we going to do with all those waste products?

  • dcrswm

    Pretty sure the bible has a stance on this, force her to marry her rapist, problem solved.

  • ccnl1

    It is great to see that the number of citizens who respect human life in all its forms is growing but it is not going to change the following:

    Why the Christian Right no longer matters in presidential elections:

    Once again, all the conservative votes in the country “ain’t” going to help a “pro-life” presidential candidate, i.e Mitt Romney, in 2012 as the “Immoral Majority” rules the country and will be doing so for awhile. The “Immoral Majority” you ask?

    The fastest growing USA voting bloc: In 2008, the 70+ million “Roe vs. Wade mothers and fathers” of aborted womb-babies” whose ranks grow by two million per year i.e. 78+ million “IM” voters in 2012.

    2008 Presidential popular vote results:

    69,456,897 for pro-abortion/choice BO, 59,934,814 for “pro-life” JM.

    And the irony:

    And all because many women fail to take the Pill once a day or men fail to use a condom even though in most cases these men have them in their pockets. (maybe they should be called the “Stupid Majority”?)

    The failures of the widely used birth “control” methods i.e. the Pill and male condom have led to the large rate of abortions ( one million/yr) and S-TDs (19 million/yr) in the USA. Men and women must either recognize their responsibilities by using the Pill or condoms properly and/or use other safer birth control methods in order to reduce the epidemics of abortion and S-TDs.

  • Catken1

    Scientific hypotheses are constantly proved wrong, and our view of the world is growing as we learn more – but the scientific METHOD has never been “proved wrong,” nor does it change or become less effective at discerning the truth.

    The same cannot be said for the “just close your eyes and believe in the magical superbeing” method of understanding.

  • lovepeace7

    Thank you Ashley for writing this article. As a longtime believer in a baby’s right to life, it its interesting to see the new framing of abortion as a civil rights issue. I applaud all those ‘young people’ who are standing up for the unborn, and encourage all those who pray, to pray ‘that eyes may be opened and hearts will be enlightened” concerning the unborn. God Bless .

  • XVIIHailSkins

    Catken,

    You would be precisely correct in surmising that I have the right to let someone die by not donating blood. This is primarily because that person does not inhabit my uterus, and does not owe his existence to my participation in voluntary reproductive sex. If I have to explain further why your analogy is simply not an analogy then I’m at a loss.

  • XVIIHailSkins

    You were on the right track until the very end. ‘God’ has hijacked this conversation and ensured that it remains stuck in the mud.

  • hd1225

    I agree that a person does not have to be religious to question abortion. Indeed science, which we love, and technology are shedding light on such fascinating things about the development of human life in the womb. A person does not have to dislike women to question abortion. It may be respect for both the woman and the human being in the womb to question that kind of irreversible decision. I hope that young people are getting it and searching for a better way.

  • Vote Yes Scotland 2014

    Never been much of a zealot in anything .Then about 20 years ago my wife lost a baby . She was devastated that at the age of the foetus she would have to have a d&c in the gyno ward at our local hospital .
    Under the NHS abortions are also performed in the same ward .Those who wanted ,like us and those who did not want in the same ward for such different reasons .
    It broke our hearts and after fourteen years of trying our best hope was gone .
    Still oppose abortion and capital punishment but don`t push it .
    We had a son about two years later .
    .We named him Calum ( Bringer of Peace)

  • knuteski

    Not to mention that a “Yes” to life is a “Yes” to countless blessings.

  • AUTOTREASURE

    Thank you , Ashley. You are a Susan B. Anthony for our times.