More often than not, we tread carefully around here on social issues. They certainly are contentious, and abortion is an area that creates divisions where many do not exist.
As somebody that is adamantly opposed to abortion in almost all cases (Yes, I admit that the only exception I could morally support is one in which the mother’s life (not “health”) was in danger), my view as to how it is handled in the public policy arena has, over time, become more nuanced.
Before I was an absolutist and I was behind almost any legislation put forward to stamp out what has clearly been a horror that has claimed the lives of over 50 million unborn since the Roe v Wade decision was made. Yes, I even supported the Human Life Amendment that would effectively overturn Roe v. Wade and allow states and Congress to easily pass more restrictive laws.
More recently (the last ten years), I’ve come to see abortion far more as a social issue than a legal one. Don’t get me wrong. I am not one of those mealy-mouthed chumps who say, “I hate abortion but I am pro-choice!” I just happen to believe in the arena of ideas, those of us who are pro-life would make more of a difference if we devoted more energy to educating women, becoming stronger advocates of adoption and setting up more places like Crisis Pregnancy Centers that counsel and offer assistance to women considering abortion.
However, the full force of our legal system certainly has a place in the area of late-term abortions. The issue was pushed to the forefront once again because of events taking place in Texas this week.
The Texas legislature was ready to pass a bill that would have restricted abortions to the first 19 weeks of pregnancy and would have required abortion clinics operate under stricter regulations in the wake of the Kermit Gosnell horror. Democrat Wendy Davis, decided to filibuster the bill. With an adoring media cheering her on, Davis actually fell 3 hours short of her goal as she kept violating the rules of the filibuster. However, thanks to an angry left-wing mob who were screaming and chanting in the gallery, the legislature could not take up the bill and it failed as a result. Rick Perry then called a special session of the legislature, vowing to have the bill passed so he can sign it into law.
Most Democrats and liberals along with a slew of pundits and a good chunk of the mainstream media are happy to declare people who are pro-life to be “extreme” no matter what their position. But in this case, the issue is about second and third trimester abortions.
And the bottom line is, when it comes to late-term abortion, those who support it are the extremists.
Those who defend late-term abortion know they are on the wrong side of the debate. While they will tout generic polls as showing that most of the country is pro-choice, when more specific questions are asked, the abortion on demand crowd is in the distinct minority.
Gallup conducted a broad-based poll on the issue of abortion in December of 2012. Here was the question regarding what people thought of abortion restrictions as the pregnancy progressed:
“Thinking more generally, do you think abortion should generally be legal or generally be illegal during each of the following stages of pregnancy:”
In the second three months of pregnancy (second trimester):
Should be legal: 27%
Should be illegal: 64%
In the last three months of pregnancy (third trimester):
Should be legal: 14%
Should be illegal: 80%
The numbers aren’t even close. This is partly the reason why, supporters of late-term abortion won’t even say the word. They’re too cowardly to use the word “abortion” so they resort to framing the issue with the following terms:
They abuse language in other ways as well. Abortion clinics are “family planning centers.” The abortion industry (such as the misnamed ‘Planned Parenthood’) is framed as “reproductive health care providers.” Ad hominem attacks are common as well. “Anti-choice zealots just want to control women.”
This raises an interesting question: If they truly have the facts on their side in this debate, why resort to the intellectual dishonesty?
The answer is simple:
They have to, because it is a debate they are losing.
They were able to win this debate, 15-20 years ago largely due to the fact that the pro-life movement relied heavily on moral and religious arguments to make their case. Nowadays, it’s comforting to know that science is pushing back the abortion on demand forces. As technology improves, early births that not long ago were sure to result in the death of a premature baby are increasingly showing better survival rates. One study showed that the survival rate of premature babies increasing 40% between 1995 and 2006. That is a remarkable number. There are still too many lingering issues with problems after early births, but the scientific community is working on that as well.
One would think the supposed “party of science” would adapt under these circumstances but not so long as they are under the thumb of NARAL and Planned Parenthood.
Some may tend to think that “liberty” is defined by ability to just do as one pleases. They’re wrong. As contributing editor Amy Otto wrote in her piece on Gosnell:
Our founders used the word liberty more often than today’s more popular freedom. The intent being that freedom has come to mean the sole domination of personal preference, while liberty requires something more human and moral. Liberty is the moral exercise of freedom that balances rights and responsibility Liberty was not an open-ended promise to be able to do anything at any time, the consequences be damned. It was intended to come with responsibilities of a person capable of self-government.
For those who would say I’m part of that cabal of “extremist socons” who are supposedly “ruining” the GOP or keeping more enlightened libertarians from joining the ranks, I would direct the former to the polls I cited. The latter can take their grievances to the offices of Rand Paul and Justin Amash. Two libertarians that have done something pretty remarkable despite their strong pro-life records: They’ve won.