Gallup poll findings this week showed a range of Americans opinions on abortions: all should be legal (25%), ‘most’ should be legal (13%) only ‘few’ should be legal (39%) and all should be illegal (20%).
In the previous post, it was asserted that the 13% wishing to preserve ‘most’ abortions can be a convenient middle ground position to answer a pollster, but that such a conviction is not evidenced as a guiding premise in letters to the editor or in testimony for abortion legislation.
Perhaps there do exist people who consistently believe legal abortion to be a good thing, but are so disturbed at the existence of one facet (like partial-birth abortion) that they identify themselves to pollsters as the 13% wishing to preserve ‘most’ abortion. But that is open for speculation since Gallup never asks what abortions the 13% don’t want to be legal.
Similarly, what are the ‘few’ abortions acceptable for those 39% in the poll who want abortion illegal with reservations? While not specified by Gallup, legislative battles nationwide over the past decades have shown the major “exceptions” that pro-life advocates have tolerated:
- the mother’s life is threatened,
- rape/incest caused the pregnancy,
- the unborn child is diagnosed with medical problems.
Twenty years ago these three situations held greater weight during debate toward achieving legislative consensus, today they no longer control the discussion.
Arguments for eugenic abortions (those done for fetal abnormalities) have increasingly lost any hold on a society whose attitude towards the disabled has improved.
Arguments for abortions to preserve the mother’s health have become moot with extraordinary advances in the medical management of high-risk pregnancies and with the development of the field of perinatal care.
As of 2011, all Kansas pro-life legislation is drafted only to include the “mother’s life” exception and even then with strict physical definitions (no mental health loopholes).
All other abortions in Kansas are defined as elective (including rape/incest reasons) and are only legal until 22 weeks gestation. Justifications for killing the unborn child for the crime of the father have dissipated with a change in attitudes toward out-of-wedlock pregnancy and due to the tireless volunteer assistance to single moms from crisis pregnancy centers.
It has been an incremental legislative approach forced by the Roe v Wade ruling. Our goal remains passing more protective pro-life laws with fewer exceptions over time, by exposing — through education and personal testimony–the injustice and untenability of abortion in a free society.
Thus, while media commentators this week debate whether Americans in the two middle Gallup groupings are more alike or different, we remain focused on the larger task of changing hearts and minds in all sectors.