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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

As the abortion debate turns

By Dennis Byrne
Chicago Tribune

After electing the most extreme pro-choice president in history, more Americans now, for the first time, define themselves as pro-life.

How can that be?

Beats me. The easy explanation is that Americans are wising up to the pro-choice deceits. Gallup suggests that Americans may have come to realize just how extreme President Barack Obama is on matters of "reproductive rights." For example, as an Illinois state senator, Obama voted against protections for abortion victims born alive.

Let's just say that if I could explain why voters do what they do, I could tell you why Chicago and Illinois voters keep electing so many crooks and schlemiels. Returning to the poll, it finds that 51 percent of Americans consider themselves pro-life, compared with 42 percent pro-choice. That's a significant shift from a year ago, when half called themselves pro-choice and 44 percent pro-life. The shift is magnified by the fact that this is the first time since Gallup started asking the question in 1995 that a majority of Americans identify themselves as pro-life.

Dig deeper into the data, and it gets more interesting. In 1993, 34 percent agreed with pro-choice activists that abortion should be legal under all circumstances; only 12 percent took the opposite view, that abortion should never be legal. Now it's a virtual tie between the two "extreme" views, with 23 percent believing that abortion always should be legal and 22 percent that it never should be legal. Most Americans still say abortion should be legal "only under certain circumstances" (53 percent now, compared with the 61 percent high in 1996). The "circumstances" are not delineated, but this has to be a blow to pro-choice die-hards whose bizarre view is that any restrictions on abortion are "anti-choice" devices to "deny women the right to choose."

How else to explain their opposition to a partial-birth abortion ban, or requiring parental permission before an abortion can be performed on a minor of any age?

I guess what the poll shows is that pro-lifers aren't the oddballs that we're cracked up to be. It also is a pleasure to see pro-choicers squirm, after they have spent years in the comfort of their perceived majority. One commentator counseled that the poll, combined with the objections to the University of Notre Dame honoring Obama, constitutes some sort of incomprehensible "frenzy" against sexuality. Wow.

But could the political Obama White House be responding to this brand of "change"? The president already has reneged on a campaign promise to enact the Freedom of Choice Act, which would "guarantee the right to choose" if Roe vs. Wade and its companion Doe vs. Bolton U.S. Supreme Court decisions guaranteeing the right to abortion for virtually any reason were overturned.

Another test will come when Obama faces hard-left demands that Justice David Souter's replacement on the Supreme Court must be a pro-choice absolutist. Obama already has gone beyond the usual selection guidelines, creating an "empathy" litmus test.

But Americans don't agree. The prevailing (45 percent) view, according to Rasmussen Reports, is that legal background and competence come first. It will be fun to watch whether Democrats, who insisted there should be no litmus test on issues such as abortion when a Republican was doing the appointing, now will demand that the appointment be pro-choice.

Abortion and its related issues aren't the only matters that will be occupying the political side of Obama's brain. According to Rasmussen, Republicans and Democrats now are in a virtual tie when it comes to whom Americans trust more to handle the economy, only a rock-bottom 13 percent trust the Democratic Congress, few Americans are willing to pay higher taxes for health-care "reform" and the percentage of Americans who believe that human activity is driving global warming has "fallen dramatically.

Meanwhile, Democratic diversionary tactics to label the obnoxious radio host Rush Limbaugh or the sneering former Vice President Dick Cheney aren't working. Only 6 percent of GOP voters pick Limbaugh as their leader, and 4 percent name Cheney, according to Rasmussen.

Meanwhile, the hard left is sensing betrayal by Obama, who, among other things, adopted a GOP position by refusing to release the "torture" photos, as the American Civil Liberties Union demands. Maybe Obama's nascent shifts have nothing to do with "change" in public opinion. Maybe Obama now understands that the realities of governing aren't as simple as he told everyone. Let us hope so.


Anonymous said...

There's a saying that it's easy to be a vegetarian between meals, and it's easy to be a pacifist between wars. It's also easy to be against abortion without seeing the un-wanted children living in poverty and hopelessness.

How many children have you personally adopted? As long as there are thousands of unwanted, abused children, abortion will have to be a necessary evil. Right-to-lifers seem to love children until they are born, then they are just welfare-hogs.

Until I see the children you have taken into your home, you have no credibility.
Larry Fox

Anonymous said...

And it's easy to be "pro choice" until you see the lifeless bodies of the unborn, their brains sucked out of their heads, and the mothers that regret their decison to end that life.

So until I adopt a child who would have been aborted, I can't be against abortion? Abortion is not a necessary evil, just an evil.

Mike V. said...


There is another saying, 'ya killin' me.

I can't be against abortion unless I have adopted someone's baby that would have been aborted!? I'm glad I don't spend too much time reading blogs. Let me ask you, how many fetuses have you seen with their brains sucked out. How many have you seen thrown in the waste can. How many fetuses have you seen suffer a miserable death. Have you see the mothers and families forced to deal with the wreckage of abortion?

I have not adopted any babies. I am against abortion. It is the senseless taking of innocent human life. It's not complicated, unless you are confused.

Imran Ahmed said...

This article is a total bias. If we can elect a black president then why can’t we accept the fact that he is pro choice? In America the one thing that we are known for is the freedom of choice, whether it be for women or man. We should be happy that we have a president that is willing the women of this country to have the choice if they want to have their child or not. This has nothing to do with the rest of the population. I think this article is too many statistics and that it is on a one side basis.