No one would have predicted it, but President Obama has created a more pro-life America.
I don’t mean to say that the president himself is pro-life; in fact, he is still the most pro-abortion president in U.S. history. But in part due to his extremism and overreach, Obama has caused Americans to recoil in horror from what it means to support abortion and to embrace the other side.
According to a new Gallup poll, 41 percent of Americans identify themselves as “pro-choice,” which, according to Gallup, is “the lowest point ever measured.” That’s down six points from last July, when 47 percent identified as such.
Also, 50 percent of Americans now consider themselves “pro-life,” just one point below the all-time high of 51 percent.
Interestingly, Gallup found that pro-life identification is up among all three political affiliations. Seventy-two percent of Republicans are pro-life , along with 47 percent of independents and 34 percent of Democrats.
That’s right: more than one-third of the dwindling number of Americans who call themselves Democrats consider themselves pro-life. My question is: Where are the pro-life nationally-elected Democrats? I can’t name one.
Gallup also found that 59 percent of those surveyed think abortion should be illegal in most or all circumstances, while just 38 percent believe it should be legal in most or all circumstances.
It is hardly surprising that America has become more pro-life in the age of Obama. These numbers follow a pattern. Gallup polling showed that pro-life identification was consistently in the low to mid 40s during the Bush years.
Then, as soon as Barack Obama became president, pro-life affiliation shot up. It seems that shifts in public opinion on abortion correlate with sweeping political change. During the Bush era, the media would tell Americans that Bush was a pro-life extremist merely because he signed this or that piece of pro-life legislation, appointed a pro-life justice to the Supreme Court or revoked a pro-abortion executive order, and some reacted by identifying with the other side.
When Obama won, many Americans saw his real extremism on the issues and embraced the pro-life cause to counterbalance it.
We shouldn’t be surprised that more people call themselves pro-life now. Think about the major news story of the last few months. Obama is using Obamacare to try to force religious institutions to violate their core believes by paying for abortion-inducing drugs. Nobody should have been surprised. This is the same man who as a state senator twice voted against legislation to protect the lives of babies born alive after botched abortions.
Most Americans don’t want any part of “pro-choice” if it means forcing abortion on all Americans. Obama has sullied what the word “choice” means.
We have become a more pro-life nation in so many ways. The number of abortions is down, as is the number of abortionists and the number of young doctors willing to train to perform them.
Earlier this month Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, announced she’ll soon step down from her post. NARAL is the country’s oldest abortion advocacy group. Keenan said she is leaving because she believes the “pro-choice” movement has gotten too old and complacent.
She worries about the “intensity gap” on abortion between young pro-lifers and the aging feminists who make up the abortion movement’s most vocal advocates. NARAL’s own polling has shown pro-life young people are much more active. And numerous polls have shown that young people tend to be more pro-life than their parents and grandparents.
Keenan, who is 60, told the Washington Post, “There’s an opportunity for a new and younger leader. Roe v. Wade, is 40 in January. It’s time for a new leader to come in and, basically, be the person for the next 40 years of protecting reproductive choice.”
“People give a lot of lip service to how we’re going to engage the next generation,” she said, “but we can’t just assume it will happen on its own.”
These changes have been reflected politically. In the 2010 midterm elections, a wave of pro-life legislators swept Washington and took control of state houses. States passed 92 pro-life laws in 2011, a record. And they accomplished that feat by embracing common sense limits on abortions, such as limiting abortion to before a child is viable outside the womb after 20 weeks or involving a loving adult in making an abortion decision with a minor child.
In some ways it is surprising that the pro-life position is winning on so many fronts. It’s not for a lack of enemies. The media stand squarely against life, as does the popular culture and most of our elites. The leadership of one party is actively for abortion, while the leadership of the other often seems indifferent. But yet, life prevails.
I suspect it’s because, no matter what the president or the Supreme Court say, deep in their hearts, most Americans know that abortion is wrong—that the right to life promised in our founding documents applies even to the tiniest human beings.