Poll: number of “pro-choice” Americans at record low

Details:

A record low 41 percent of Americans call themselves ‘pro choice’ on abortion, with the number sliding among independent voters, a key political group, a Gallup poll released on Wednesday showed.

The results of the May poll come as abortion and contraception supporters have come under increasing pressure in Congress and across the United States.

“Pro choice” is a label for people who favor the right of women to choose whether to bring a pregnancy to term. “Pro life” is a label for those who back legal protection for human fetuses, including outlawing abortion.

The pro choice figure in the May poll is 1 percentage point below the previous low of 42 percent in May 2009. It is down from 47 percent in July 2011, Gallup said in a statement.

Fifty percent of those surveyed described themselves as ‘pro life.’ That is 1 percentage point short of the record high, also in May 2009, it said.

“It remains to be seen whether the pro-life spike found this month proves temporary, as it did in 2009, or is sustained for some period,” Gallup said.

Among political groups, the percentage of independents identifying themselves as pro choice is at 41 percent, 10 points lower than in May 2011. The pro-life percentage is up by 6 points.

“As a result, pro-lifers now outnumber pro-choicers among this important swing political group for only the second time since 2001, with the first occurring in 2009,” Gallup said.

The November election between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, the likely Republican candidate, could well hinge on undecided, independent voters in fewer than a dozen states.

Among Republicans, 71 percent identify themselves as pro life and 22 percent as pro choice. About 60 percent of Democrats call themselves pro choice and about a third pro life.

But even as fewer Americans call themselves pro choice, they are unchanged on when abortion should be legal. Fifty-two percent say abortion should be legal under certain circumstances, about the same as a year ago.

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Comments

  1. It’s truly mind blowing how anyone who claims to be a Christian (including President Obama), can be associated in any way with the most pro abortion (Democratic) administration in American History.

    John Paul II’s first words in Evangelium Vitae: “The Gospel of life is at the heart of Jesus’ message.”

    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_25031995_evangelium-vitae_en.html

    Compare that to Obama’s Pro Death record, so bad even the dems are now trying to hide it:

    http://www.lifenews.com/2010/11/07/obamaabortionrecord/

    Seriously, if you are Catholic/Christian and voting for Obama, in God’s love I invite you to read the above two links., and face reality, not “George Bush’s wars or the Democrat’s phony “social justice.” All social justice starts in the womb, period.

  2. Woo-hooo! We are winning!!

    And who says there is no difference between the political parties:
    “Among Republicans, 71 percent identify themselves as pro life and 22 percent as pro choice. About 60 percent of Democrats call themselves pro choice and about a third pro life.”

  3. Peregrinus says:

    It’s called remote material cooperation.

    I really don’t think any GOP president would do much abortion, (a) because it’s a useful tool to keep the base excited and (b) because there’s not much they can do without a supreme court ruling.

    Since 1972, Republican candidates have controlled the White House for 24 years out of 40. When the GOP controlled all three branches of government for a brief period 10 years ago, they focused on tax cuts, not ending abortion.

    I don’t think the GOP elites care about ending abortion, and they have an incentive to not change it since it provides a useful mobilization tool.

  4. I have a proposal. The Catholic Church admits it did a lousy job of catechesis on Humanae Vitae, including priests in the confessional who affirmed Catholic men and women in their contraceptive mentality. The Catholic church also admits it is doing a lousy job now. Many clergy fear preaching on the Gospel of Life, including the sinfulness of contraception. (Exception–I heard a wonderful homily on “sex” by Cardinal Dolan when I visited NYC afew months back). Deacon Kandra did a blog a while back about the serious push back to a young priest who preached against contraception in his parish. We should admit we messed up this whole thing, understand that it is an UPHILL battle of major proportions, but get on with explaining the beauty of Humanae Vitae. I suspect many folks who are “pro life” but find nothing immoral about contraceptives have never been informed of the strong connection between contraceptive failure and abortion, nevermind the social ills that have come to pass as predicted by Humanae Vitae. Let’s explain the message with love, realizing that the message will be difficult for many and rejected.

  5. Peregrinus did you read my link to Obama’s abortion record? At this point, I would happy with a president who did do “nothing” (in terms of promoting abortion) compared to Obama doing EVERYTHING to INCREASE abortions.

    Of course it’s hearts that have to change, and that’s why we Christians have a responsibility to speak truth (and pray).

  6. “I don’t think the GOP elites care about ending abortion, and they have an incentive to not change it since it provides a useful mobilization tool.”

    You can say that about any issue on either political party.

  7. Fiergenholt says:

    Deacon Tom:

    Let me add to your proposal. Not only should all married couples read Humanae Vitae from beginning to end but that pastoral ministers — both deacons and priests — get a good and solid handle on the historical story about HOW that encyclical actually developed and how it was promulgated — NOT JUST the widespread rejection of it by devout laity in the pews at that time.

  8. “It’s truly mind blowing how anyone who claims to be a Christian (including President Obama), can be associated in any way with the most pro abortion (Democratic) administration in American History.”

    We keep hearing this meme, but it’s also part of the fundraising effort.

    Abortion became a matter of public policy once the GOP successfully initiated the lobby (and their appointees delivered four out of seven Roe v Wade “votes.” I think you can really only count presidents since LBJ, and that’s a pretty small sample.

    A reasonable assessment here would be to rate Mr Obama, the third-most choice-friendly president, behind Mr Clinton (#2) and Mr Nixon (#1). But for firing up the base, third out of nine doesn’t sound sexy enough. Some future Dem president will breathe wrong at a pro-life comment, and she or he will be the new worst-ever.

    I agree with Tom that catechesis on HV has been botched. Part of it is that catechists themselves don’t believe it. And part of it is that bishops and clergy expected obedience and when they didn’t get it, they didn’t know what to do.

    It’s part of the overall problem of the political pro-life movement. When you lack the ability to persuade, you threaten and bully others.

    “It’s called remote material cooperation.”

    Yep. And some political pro-lifers are still buying products from China to save a buck or two. That some heap of persuasion: save children, except when they inconvenience me.

  9. “It’s truly mind blowing how anyone who claims to be a Christian (including President Obama), can be associated in any way with the most pro abortion (Democratic) administration in American History.”

    We keep hearing it Todd because it’s true. I supported my statment with facts, now I suggest that you do the same.

    http://www.lifenews.com/2010/11/07/obamaabortionrecord/

    I am with you on China though. THIRTEEN MILLION ABORTIONS A YEAR, or 1500 every HOUR.

    http://www.catholic.org/international/international_story.php?id=46319

  10. Good points, Peregrinus. I know that many in the GOP point to the appointment of supposedly pro-life justices by Republican presidents, but in just about every case, those justices were also strongly pro-business (and often anti-labor), which is a more likely reason for their appointment than their credentials on abortion.

  11. I think eventually we will see a more strongly pro-life Democratic party, but I doubt that first-trimester abortion will ever be outlawed in this country (at least not in the next fifty years). I’m pro-life from conception on (which is one reason my wife and I did not go the in vitro route when we sought treatment for infertility years ago). However, I think it’s a much tougher sell (in secular society and even for many people of faith outside of the RCC) to think of a pregnancy that is one-month along as a baby. Most of us who read this blog consider that to be a child in development, a human life worth protecting — but to a great many folks, the human embryo resembles a fish much more than a human. (Don’t mean that irreverently. I look at pictures of the embryo at that point and have to fall down in awe at God’s quiet, unassuming ways.) However, I think we do stand a chance of eventually reaching consensus as a society that a four or five-month-old fetus is obviously a child, a human who is vulnerable and deserving of protection. I can imagine a time (next twenty or thirty years?) when all second and third trimester abortions will be viewed as barbaric by all but a small fraction of society. The poll referenced above would seem to support such a hope.

    I have to toss this in (sorry for my verbosity): Back in 2000, when the very pro-choice Al Gore appeared on Meet the Press, Tim Russert confronted him with a letter he’d written to a constituent early in his House career (late ’70s) about how he believed abortion involved the taking of a human life, or words to that effect. I loved Russert (RIP) for asking such questions — asking Gore, in effect, whether he was willing to turn his back completely on that notion of protecting a developing life. However, I wish Russert had set the issue up differently and asked him if a President Gore thought that the government should pay for in utero surgery in cases where spina bifida or a heart defect could be successfully treated at that point in development but the mother was uninsured. I’m sure Gore would have said yes — and then Russert could have called him out on his support for legalized abortion at six-months-plus. (Of course, as a pro-life Democrat, I strongly suspect that most “pro-life” Republicans who vote against WIC and want to cut other programs that help low-income mothers and children would themselves be opposed to taxpayers footing the bill for expensive in utero surgery.)

  12. I’m a skeptic when it comes ot the LifeNews site. They want to stoke the fires for donations like any other political outfit.

    Mr Clinton beat Mr Obama by two days in signing off on that Mexico City thingie. He had the good grace–unlike his Dem predesessor–not to do it on or before the March for Life. And let’s face it: Mr Nixon contributed more justices to Roe v Wade than any other president. Abortion-on-demand in the US happened on Republican watch, since we’ve determined it’s all about the judiciary, and GOP-appointed justices went 4-1 for Roe in ’73.

    No, Mr Obama is a solid #3. I certainly wish he were more pro-life, but he’s as much a product of his party as any Republican. Keep the issue judicial, and up-in-the-air, and soak the extremes for as much money as they can get.

  13. Oh give me a break. Conservative politicians appoint Conservative justices. It’s an all inclusive package. I think you’re just groping for a reason to not support Conservatives.

  14. I don’t believe the Democratic Party will ever shuck being pro-abortion. As long as there are feminists and as long as they are passionate about abortion and as long as they are the core of the Democratic Party (face it, unions are phasing out), then the Democratic Party will always be the party of abortion.

  15. pagansister says:

    Klaire, how the heck is President Obama trying to increase abortions? He believes women have a choice—I don’t see him outside a clinic cheering women on–do you? Ending the legality of abortion only promotes underground terminations and more deaths of women—it doesn’t stop them. Prohibition didn’t stop drinking, it only put it underground.

  16. Believe it or not, Manny, I know many people who are in favor of abortion remaining legal, but I know literally no one who is “pro-abortion.” I don’t know anyone who thinks there should be more abortions. I don’t know anyone who thinks abortion is a happy occasion. Do some people take this issue more lightly than they should? Yeah. Do some people, unfortunately, see abortion as a more practical and quicker solution than birthparents placing a child for adoption or parenting a child while dealing with poverty? Yes. But are those individuals pro-abortion? No.

    If you honestly feel that most people who want to keep abortion legal (and I am not one of them, by the way) are pro-abortion, it seems to me that you probably either don’t have conversations often with people who disagree with you, or at least you don’t really listen to them. (Forgive me if I’m mistaken. But I honestly don’t know how you can go around labeling people on the other side of this issue as “pro-abortion.”)

  17. Pro-abortion is the correct term. If it’s not a desirbable thing to have an abortion it must be because it’s immoral. If it’s immoral then you cannot give people a choice. It’s like not having an opinion on whether murder should be legal. If one is pro-choice when it comes to murdering your neighbor, then one is pro-murder. When it comes to taking a life, then you cannot be pro-choice. Do you not see that an abortion is taking a human life? Or do you not agree with that?

  18. No, I think most people concede pro-choice is the term, at least if you want to retain a prayer of persuading more than the 41%.

    Your logic fails on the desirable/immoral connection.

    Your definition of murder is askew. Murder has both a legal/secular definition and an ecclesiastical one. If you want to talk about “murder” in connection with bystanders (who, I will grant, often could be doing more) then in removing all context for the taking of life, you will have to indict every king, president, and general, who has sent troops into battle, for however just a cause, to kill combatants. In fact, by your definition, our last president is more of a murderer because of his direct connection in giving orders, not to mention formulating war policy for the US. And just to be clear: I’m not willing to make the argument that George Bush is a murderer–it’s the non-hypocritical conclusion you have drawn with persons who have not prevented legal abortion.

    Abortion is what it is: the death of a child in the womb. It is rarely murder. It is not the killing of a baby–a baby, by definition, is a born person. The US Constitution, unfortunately for pro-lifers who pick nits on these fronts, is totally against you, as its wording is explicitly about persons “born.”

  19. Manny, I do indeed see abortion as the taking of a human life. The thing is, there are many people who do not see it that way — particularly in the earliest months of pregnancy. Do I see abortion as equivalent with murder? No, quite honestly, I’m not sure I do — particularly when fetal viability has not yet been attained. (Do I WANT that unborn life to keep developing so that it will eventually be viable outside of the womb? Yes, most definitely. Do I wish every pregnant woman would allow the life inside her womb to continue to grow, even if to do so would disrupt her life in a significant way in the short term? Yes, most definitely.)

    There are, of course, people who call abortion murder, and they see doctors who perform abortion as cold-blooded murderers, and some of the people who view abortion in those terms likely also view the woman who asks a doctor to perform an abortion as the moral equivalent of someone who hires a contract killer — guilty of “murder” even though she did not commit the act herself. Myself, I do not talk about or think about abortion in those terms. That type of thinking, if taken to its logical conclusion, ends up with a nut killing George Tiller — in the name of “defending life.” Sorry, but I’m not willing to make that argument. Calling people who believe in a right to legalized abortion “pro-abortion” or pro-murder is to inflame the conversation; it does not convince anyone on the other side of the issue to change their view or change their vote.

    I am pro-life, pro-life from conception until natural death (meaning, among other things, no death penalty, and no embracing of the gun-industry lobby that is the modern NRA). Yes, I realize other people choose to define “pro-life” differently than me, and most of those people are really good, decent people. Their disagreement with me (or anyone) does NOT make them “pro-death,” though you could argue that it’s all part of the culture of death (including abortion).

    The question is, how to we talk with people who disagree with us on legalized abortion and the rights of the unborn? Do we just tell them they’re wrong, and demand that they stop being “pro-abortion”? They’re not going to hear that message, not at all.

    That message ignores the very real concerns that many on the abortion-rights side have: e.g., Will a woman (in a post-Roe, post criminalized abortion) who has had a miscarriage face an investigation? Will she have to account for her lost pregnancy? Who would conduct such an investigation? What types of questions would that agency (police, FBI?) have a right to ask? And if abortion is once again turned into a crime, what’s the legal rationale for NOT charging the woman who contracts with an abortion rather than just the doctor himself? (Assuming the woman is not a minor, wouldn’t she be legally culpable?) Neither of these issues (just a few of the concerns that are out there) is a reason that abortion should forever remain legal, but people are not crazy to ask those questions. Asking those questions does not make someone pro-abortion. Conservatives frequently lament government intrusion into family life and health choices. When people who believe in abortion rights express a similar disdain for government intrusion in intimate aspects of life, that doesn’t make the skeptics “pro-abortion.” It DOES make them people who deserved to be engaged meaningfully by pro-life advocates who will talk to them (and about them) with a modicum of respect — something that might just open the door a bit to changing people’s hearts as well as the laws.

    Keep in mind. The abortion debate is not just about laws. There are plenty of things we can do to reduce the number of abortions even before any future SCOTUS decision strikes Roe and then sends the issue back to be battled out in fifty different states. But what sort of language, what type of conversation, is most likely to lead individuals and families to choose something other than abortion?

    This is much too long. Apologies to everyone who has read to the end.

  20. pagansister says:

    Steve, I totally agree with you. I’m for abortion remaining legal, but hope no woman takes advantage of that fact. I consider myself pro-choice, and also know that if outlawed, there would still be abortions—as I said above —just done underground with more dead women.

  21. pagansister says:

    Manny, I must disagree with your use of the word Pro-abortion. I am Pro-Choice and that doesn’t make me pro-abortion.

  22. “Abortion is what it is: the death of a child in the womb. It is rarely murder.”

    That statement is total bull, it is ALWAYS murder.

  23. One can borrow a word, change its definition, and make it mean whatever one wants it to mean. Murder, by definition is unlawful. I lament abortions as much as any pro-life person. But the reality is that almost all abortions in the US are lawful.

    I believe the legal term for murder, as opposed to other forms of unlawful killing, is “malice aforethought.” If we accept that abortion might be murder by the standards of moral law, the person committing the abortion must have a certain high level of disregard to the unborn child. Perhaps people keep themselves satisfactorily ignorant about the reality of life in the womb. Even so, abortion rarely rises to the level of murder.

    As a pacifist, I would hesitate to label Presidents Bush and Obama murderers because they conducted foreign wars. I believe war is a grave moral evil. But I don’t have to call our soldiers and their commanders-in-chief murderers because I have a moral disagreement with what they do.

  24. Agreed. It’s amazing the wishy-washy logic in that long comment.

  25. Steve/Todd

    You’ve both written too much to respond to. I can’t believe the logic in there. Miscarriages are not abortions. They are accidents or a biological events.

    All one has to do is prohibit any doctor from legally performing an abortion. Doctors are already closely regulated in what procedures they can perform. Any doctor who performs an abortion will (a) lose his licence and (b) be thrown in jail after prosecution. I don’t even see a reason to have a crime placed on a woman who has an abortion. No doctors that perform abortions, no abortions performed.

    And if you don’t like abortions, then there is a moral reason why you don’t like it. At least be intellectually honest with yourselves.

  26. pagansister says:

    In your opinion, RomCath.

  27. pagansister says:

    Manny, you would prefer that woman go to doctors who would have to work illegally, and there would be some or that women go to the butchers that were around before Roe V Wade? Guess that is your idea of a way to prevent women from having a choice? The statement that no doctors to do the procedure means no more abortions is very wishful thinking. The other lovely choice, which also happened before Roe V Wade was women did the job themselves—remember wire coat hangers? I’m sure there are other ways a woman can kill herself in an effort to stop a pregnancy, but I’m not familiar with them. As much as I wish no woman would choose to terminate, I still believe she should have a safe place to do so. Oh, I agree that no woman should be punished legally for having a termination.

    Miscarriages are nature’s way of stopping a pregnancy due to something being wrong with the future child. IMO, they are not accidents.

  28. Good luck with that.

    The GOP was largely responsible for receiving the 60′s suggestions for decriminalizing abortion for doctors. Let me know how your suggestions work out at your next visit to Republican Party HQ.

    Let me also point out, yet again, that for some of us, this discussion revolves around the finer points among pro-lifers. These are all prudential points, and not moral deal-breakers.

  29. Manny, please don’t represent what I said. I never claimed that a miscarriage was equivalent (morally or medically) to an abortion. What I said was that it’s not a big leap to imagine that in a world where abortion is once again a crime, someone *might* just allege (out of vindictiveness or out of a need to be a busybody) that he/she suspected a woman had procured an abortion.

    Scenario: A man is angry with his estranged girlfriend/wife and wonders “what happened” to his child. Scenario: Someone mentions on Facebook that Mary is pregnant and someone else says, “Not anymore,” without access to any of the relevant facts, and then someone else says, “I heard she didn’t really want the baby.” If abortion is a felony in the year 2030 or whatever, is it not easy to imagine that law enforcement might end up launching an investigation and probing into the woman’s life before they determine that she is indeed telling the truth — she had a miscarriage, and resents their intrusion into a difficult moment of her life, and their requirement that she provide medical documentation of the miscarriage in order to avoid the investigation of a possible abortion going forward?

    Once again: I’m pro-life. I don’t like abortion. I do not view it as a “solution” to any problem. I’m the parent of a child we were blessed to adopt, and I am so very grateful that his birthmother decided to give him the gift of life. (His birthmother, whom I’ve never met, is nonetheless we count as part of our extended family, and I hope I get a chance to thank her in heaven someday for giving this wonderful child life.) I am not (once again) promoting or defending legalized abortion. I’m simply saying, this issue is more complicated than you are inclined to make it, and if you ever hope to convince people who disagree with you and the Church’s position — rather than, say, just browbeat them forever and ever — you may want to acknowledge that the solution is more complicated than simply saying elect Republicans, outlaw abortion, and everybody will suddenly respect life from the womb to the natural tomb. Consider the concerns folks on the other side carry with them and you might just change a few hearts. If that seems like a bad deal to you, I guess you’ll just reject that route. But not me. I believe in reason and dialogue, respect and listening. (God bless you, Manny. I’m sure you’re a good person, even though we seem to be in serious disagreement.)

  30. Lousy proofreading from me. First line is supposed to be, “Please don’t misrepresent…”

  31. I can’t stop people from doing stupid things. People drink and drive. There are laws against it. Are you suggesting we should legalize drunk driving since people do it anyway? Killing a child – born or unborn – is immoral and cannot be condoned.

  32. Steve I don’t read paragraphs of comment. I really don’t care about fictional scenarios. Abortion is killing an innocent, powerless, voiceless life. There is nothing more immoral than that. Have the intellectual honesty to admit it.

  33. naturgesetz says:

    It’s extremely weak to count pro-abort justices against the presidents who appointed them, unless said presidents were using support of abortion as a litmus test as to whether a potentailly was given serious consideration.

    When Nixon was unable to appoint Haynesworth, or even Carswell, he basically had no choice but to appoint someone whom the Senate Democrats would accept.

    The fact is that at worst the Republicans are guilty of not vetting their nominees as thoroughly as to how they’ll handle Roe as the Democrats have. But considering how the Democrats trashed Robert Bork, it has been virtually impossible for a Republican to appoint a certifiably anti-abortion justice, whereas the Democrats have had no desire to. So your facile attempt to equivalate Republican presidents and Democrats fails.

  34. naturgesetz says:

    Steve —You “don’t like abortion?” (Emphasis added. So what? If you believed that it is morally wrong, then maybe you would be able to see your way clear to take a worthwhile stand. But not “liking” is worthless mush.

  35. Mark Greta says:

    From post linked to at Anchoress site..

    “Having an abortion does not make you un-pregnant, it makes you the
    mother of a dead baby”

    And for all the pro choice (= pro abortion since it is a choice between life and death) folks, why is it that every attempt made to push regulations on abortion mills that are required of hospital surgery centers is fought by the pro death democratic party if safety of the women is of concern? The Republican Party has put forth over the last 20 years over 50 bills to impose safety issues on abortion mills which the Democrats have blocked.

    And if Roe is thrown out, it reverts to the states which is what Obama is advocating for gay marriage laws, that it should be up to the states. Of course Obama is fighting this in the healthcare Obama laws which he wants to federalize. I would like to see abortion, healthcare, and gay rights issues in state hands with the federal courts kept out of them per the constitution as written.

  36. pagansister says:

    Apples and oranges, Manny, apples and oranges.

  37. pagansister says:

    Well Mark Greta, if all that in your last sentence happened—women could at least go to a state that gave her choice. Healthecare on the other hand, should be IMO federal. Everyone deserves the same care and if left to the states, that might not happen. Gay rights—Federal, as that is a civil rights issue.

  38. Let’s set the record straight. Virtually every limit on Abortion since Roe v. Wade has come from Republicans. While nearly every attempt to expand Abortion and make others pay for it has been sponsored by Democrats.

    Republicans:

    They have nominated many conservative pro-life judges to the bench

    Supported Crisis Pregnancy Centers, which help young Mothers bring their children into this world.

    They have passed Parental Consent laws in many states

    They have passed laws requiring Abortion Clinics to have medical facilities on stand by at a nearby hospital for each and every patient.

    The Hyde Amendment which halted direct funding to abortions, although Planned Parenthood with the help of Democrats have skirted around the issue

    The “Mexico City” rule, which prevents federal funding/overseas aid that goes to any agency that also performs abortions.

    Introduced The Born Alive Infants Protection Act, which passed Congress by a vote of 98-0. (Barack voted against an identical bill in Illinois.)

    Democrats:

    Supported public Funding for Abortions

    Support “partial birth” abortion

    Support the killing of babies who survive abortions

    Have sought to spread Abortion to Undeveloped Countries

    Suported the repeal of the Mexico City rule

    Have fought parental consent

    Are attempting to impose coverage of abortion drugs on religious organizations through Obamacare

    Support embryonic stem-cell use

    Harrasment of Crisis Pregnancy Centers by various Democrats including Henry Waxman, Carolyn Maloney and Bob Menendez.

    So can anyone name a single piece of legislation introduced and supported by Democrats to help make Abortion “rare” as they claim they would like to see it?

  39. naturgesetz says:

    It’s time to call your bluff, Todd.

    What specific actions did Nixon take to promote the availability of abortion?

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