FLORIDA, May 24, 2012 — It seems that Americans are souring on abortion rights, according to a new Gallup poll.
Only 41 percent of respondents — a record setting low — now describe themselves as being pro-choice. This number is down considerably from where it was roughly one year ago; 47 percent. A surprising 50 percent, meanwhile, have adopted the pro-life label.
When partisan registration is brought into play, a remarkable 72 percent of Republicans call themselves pro-life. That’s a four point increase over 2011, when 68 percent reported the same. Democrats saw a surprising 10 point decline in their pro-choice convictions, with just 58 percent currently using this term to describe their views.
Indeed, the pro-choice position has declined in favor even among independents; only 41 percent of them, mirroring the nation as a whole, support it. This is particularly interesting, as 51 percent — a bare majority, but a majority nonetheless — held favorable pro-choice sentiments last year. The amount of pro-life independents, on the other hand, has trickled up to 47 percent.
For some, it might seem that all hope is lost for keeping abortion legal in this country. While the trends are troubling, no doubt, there is no need to throw in the towel — not yet, anyhow.
The poll also showed that respondents’ opinions regarding the key issue here, namely preserving abortion rights, remained generally the same compared to years past.
Since 1975, most Americans have agreed with keeping abortion procedures within the bounds of the law to some extent, and 52 percent still share this view today. Around a quarter support total legalization, while a fifth believe that abortions should be banned outright.
“Gallup began asking Americans to define themselves as pro-choice or pro-life on abortion in 1995, and since then, identification with the labels has shifted from a wide lead for the pro-choice position in the mid-1990s to a generally narrower lead for pro-choice — from 1998 through 2008 — to a close division between the two positions since 2009,” Lydia Saad, a writer for the public opinion firm, noted.
“However,” she continued, “in the last period, Gallup has found the pro-life position significantly ahead on two occasions, once in May 2009 and again today. 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.”
Does any of this really matter? People can describe their respective position as pro-choice, anti-choice, multiple choice, false choice, or no choice at all. At the end of the day, so long as any woman who wants an abortion can get one, what is the point behind all of the rhetoric?
Needless to say, political operatives on the left and right alike love these kinds of surveys. When abstract labels take over any discussion, then group politics comes into the picture and never fails to utterly decimate the landscape.
We can each have our own ideas about abortion rights, but switching the label to describe these on a yearly basis makes absolutely no sense. Then again, the same pretty much goes for the bulk of modern American politics, so maybe the pro-choice/pro-life conundrum actually fits in nicely.
Oh, well. So long as public opinion does not degenerate to the point of calling for clinics to be closed, things could be worse.
This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.