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Friday, August 7, 2020

Secular Pro-Life July Recap!


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July Recap

Projects
To prepare for Joe Biden's selection of his running mate in early August, we published a series of articles on the top twelve contenders and their positions on abortion. Spoiler alert: They all hold extremist positions.
Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4

In response to an activist judge's decision to suspend the FDA's safety regulations on abortion drugs - including the crucial in-person dispensing requirement, which helps keep abortion pills out of the hands of abusive men - we joined a coalition of pro-life organizations calling upon the FDA to remove abortion pills from the market altogether.

We exposed multiple private abortion businesses and industry lobby groups that received taxpayer subsidies through the Paycheck Protection Program, despite the fact that the program was intended for smaller businesses that are having trouble surviving during the pandemic.

We are excited to participate in Students for Life of America's fellowship programs this year! Kelsey will mentor a pro-life college student through the Wilberforce Fellowship and Terrisa will mentor a pro-life high school student through the Stevens Fellowship.

Secular Pro-Life is proud to co-sponsor the Rehumanize Conference, which will take place on Saturday, August 29. This year it is all virtual, so consider signing up



This year will include our very own Terrisa Bukovinac as a speaker


Twitter
We gained 140 new followers, bringing us to 11,913 total. We posted 65 tweets, which were viewed 127,700 times. 11,075 of those views went to our response to Created Equal's question "If your pro-choice friend asked you why you are pro-life, what would you say?" Another top viewed tweet was our reaction to the pro-choice slogan "Fund Abortion, Build Power".






"All cruelty springs from weakness", as Roman Philosopher Seneca observed centuries ago.

Facebook
In June we gained 204 followers, bringing us to 33,022 total. Our content was viewed over 252,950 times, including 21,518 views for our "hard to swallow pills" meme on embryology.



*Side effects may include cognitive dissonance towards claims of supporting abortion and valuing human lives



Blogger
Our three most-read blog posts for July, in increasing order:
  • Pro-Life Messages in Fantasy and Science FictionGuest blogger Sophie Trist isn't saying these quotes are from pro-life authors, but it is kind of hard not to see how they directly relate to the movement.
  • Don't Define me by my DiseaseWe've said it before, but guest blogger Deb Jones gives her personal account on how harmful the message is from pro-choice advocates when they promote abortion for fetal anomalies. Abortion and ableism go hand-in-hand.
  • Amy's Journey from Pro-Choice to Pro-LifeWe all love a change-of-heart story. Guest blogger Amy McDonough goes through what changed her mind and made defending pre-born lives a priority in hers.
We love guest bloggers! Guest posts help us cover a more diverse range of perspectives, topics, and experiences. If you have an idea for a piece you'd like to submit, please email us at info@secularprolife.org to discuss.

Thank you to our supporters
Thank you to those of you who donate to help support our work. SPL is run by a scant number of dedicated volunteers, and we would not be able to devote the time and energy without the help of donors like you.

If you like what we do and you want to see more, please consider donating:  Paypal

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And if you haven't already, come find us on social media!

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Monday, August 3, 2020

In Depth: Abortion in Ireland After Repeal of the Right to Life

Irish women holding pro-life signs

In May of 2018, Ireland tragically repealed the Eighth Amendment from its constitution, which had protected the right to life for children in the womb. The Irish abortion industry began operating in January of last year. About a month ago, the first official statistics showing the impact of repeal were released. Not surprisingly, Ireland experienced a surge in abortions:
This report indicates that 6,666 abortions took place in Ireland, and an additional 375 Irish women obtained abortions in England, for a total of 7,041 abortions in 2019. By comparison, in 2018, only 2,879 abortions were performed on Irish women, and the vast majority took place outside the country.

After abortion was legalized, then, the number of abortions in Ireland increased by nearly 150 percent.
Those numbers are plain enough: abortion activists in Ireland are responsible for the preventable deaths of 4,162 unborn children. But today, I'd like to dig a little deeper into the report and spotlight a few aspects that did not receive as much attention in the initial round of news coverage.

1. Only 24 abortions — a third of a percent — were done for the mother's life or health. Of those, only three abortions were done "in an emergency." This result is not terribly surprising; we know from the experience of other pro-abortion countries, like the United States, that the vast majority of abortions are done for elective, non-medical reasons. But it makes the Irish abortion movement's exploitation of Savita Halappanavar's death that much worse.

2. The number of abortions varied a fair amount by month. I had never before seen a report from the United States, or any other country, breaking down its abortion data by month. Ireland may be unique in this regard. (Correct me in the comments if I'm wrong.) Below, I adjust for the number of days per month to show the relative likelihood of Irish mothers aborting their children in a given month:

Month

# of Abortions

Abortions Per Day

January

625

20.2

February

490 

17.5

March

508

16.4

April

538

17.9

May

580 

18.7

June

533 

17.8

July

602 

19.4

August

530 

17.1

September

506 

16.9

October

545 

17.6

November

548 

18.3

December

592 

19.1


With such a small sample size, it's hard to know what these statistics mean. Irish pregnancy centers, sidewalk counselors, and other pro-life advocates should keep an eye on this data to see if any patterns emerge.

3. What about the abortion rate? Raw numbers like those in the Irish report only take you so far. To truly follow trends from year to year, and see what policies are succeeding and which are failing, you need to look at rates. Two key statistics are (1) the percentage of pregnancies ending in abortion and (2) the number of abortions per 1,000 women of reproductive age, typically defined as 15 to 44. I was unable to find the number of pregnancies in Ireland last year, so I can't recreate the first statistic. The number of Irish women of reproductive age, however, is available: 939,866. (That's as of 2016, but I have no reason to think 2019 is substantially different.) 

With 7,041 abortions in 2019, the Irish abortion rate is thus 7.49 per 1,000 women of reproductive age. To give our American readers some context, that puts Ireland's abortion rate between those of Alabama (6.4) and North Dakota (7.9).


[Image Credit: Precious Life]

Friday, July 31, 2020

Introducing the Society for Ethical Research

The University of California San Francisco (UCSF) is the abortion training capital of the world. It is also a world leader in pro-abortion legislative advocacy. Most disturbingly, it is an essential link in the supply chain of human fetal organs used in experimentation, as revealed by the Center for Medical Progress undercover investigation.

UCSF is the largest practitioner of non-digoxin late-term abortions in the country. If you are part of the pro-life community, you may have heard advocates talk about "lethal injection abortions" or "heart attack abortions." Those are references to digoxin. Abortionists inject digoxin into their victims to cause death by heart attacks, after which the dead children’s bodies are removed. UCSF is unusual because it intentionally does not use digoxin, and their motive is appalling: they want to avoid poisoning the fetus and thus compromising the fetal tissue.

To kill a late-term baby without digoxin, UCSF has two alternatives. One is live dismemberment (also known as disarticulation and evacuation, or D&E), in which abortion is accomplished by severing the baby's arms, legs, and head; this leaves intact sections from which the desired organs can be harvested. The second option is to induce labor for an in vivo – literally meaning "in the living" – procedure. Dissection of the intact fetal organs occurs afterward. According to the Society for Family Planning, up to half of labor induction abortions without digoxin can result in the infant being born alive.

UCSF conducts these procedures on healthy fetuses from gestational ages of 18 to 24 weeks. Many of these fetuses are capable of feeling pain and also of surviving outside the womb. Even most pro-choice people, including a majority of women, Democrats, and independents, reject UCSF's pro-abortion extremism.

UCSF has failed to provide basic transparency concerning their fetal organ harvesting practices. In particular, it has utterly failed to comply with the local Freedom of Information Act. On July 3, 2019, Pro-Life San Francisco submitted a public records request to UCSF. The California Public Records Act states that "nothing in this chapter shall be construed to permit an agency to delay or obstruct the inspection or copying of public records," and communications with UCSF show they had until about the end of October to comply with the request. There has been zero response to their follow-up inquiry from November. Additionally, UCSF does not make their fetal death protocol public. Without this information, how can we know if UCSF is in compliance with the Born Alive Infants Protection Act of 2002?

Above: SER activists project a D&E abortion
procedure diagram onto a UCSF building
UCSF's continued stonewalling and obfuscation has led us to a critical impasse. We feel that this situation calls direct action. Accordingly, Bay Area advocates have founded a new organization known as the Society for Ethical Research. We are a non-violent direct action group committed to the defunding of UCSF's fetal harvesting program and the abolition of fetal organ harvesting nationwide.

Our work consists of applying daily pressure to UCSF and to their primary sources of funding, such as the University of California Board of Regents and the National Institutes of Health. We're demanding transparency, we're demanding safeguards, and we're demanding ethical research now. Our main legislative goals include the passage of the Protecting Life and Integrity in Research Act (H.R.573), the Safe RESEARCH Act (H.R.437) and the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act (H.R. 962). We also calling upon the Department of Health and Human Services to build on their previous cancellation of one UCSF fetal research contract, revoke all fetal experimentation funding nationwide, and replace these programs with ethical life-affirming alternatives.

The Society for Ethical Research has a special place in the pro-life movement as a whole. We draw inspiration from the heroes of the civil rights movement, who did their greatest work in the toughest, most unlikely of places—the Deep South. Likewise, for a movement that seeks to rehumanize the unborn, it is vital to we have a presence in the place they are most dehumanized—in the most pro-choice city in America, San Francisco.

We need all of your support in this important fight. If you’re interested in learning more please visit our website at sernow.org or follow our social media pages @ Society for Ethical Research on Facebook, @ s.e.r.now on Instagram, and @SERnow on Twitter. If you’re interested in joining our team, we are currently accepting new members. Our internship includes free room and board and a monthly stipend. If you’re interested, please fill out an application.

Five years ago, David Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress brought the ghoulish sale of abortion victims' organs to the nation's attention. What started with David is now a growing chorus, expanding every day. I am David. You are David. We are all David. Together we can ensure that his courage was not in vain, and together we can see his work toward the abolition of fetal experimentation completed.

[Today's guest post is by Nick Reynosa. If you would like to contribute a guest post, email your submission to info@secularprolife.org for consideration.]

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Joe Biden's Prospective Running Mates: Part Four

The American flag flies outside a federal building

This article is the final installment in a four-part series examining the abortion records of Democratic vice presidential prospects. We are going in alphabetical order. Click here for part one, which featured Stacey Abrams, Tammy Baldwin, and Karen Bass. Click here for part two, which featured Keisha Lance Bottoms, Tammy Duckworth, and Michele Lujan Grishom. Click here for part three, which featured Kamala Harris, Laura Kelly, and Catherine Cortez Masto.

* * *

Susan Rice is a former national security advisor and former ambassador to the United Nations. She held both those roles under the Obama administration, which consistently promoted abortion in its foreign policy. After Sen. Susan Collins of Maine voted in favor of Justice Kavanaugh's ascension to the Supreme Court, Rice publicly contemplated running against Collins, with CBS News reporting that Rice's support for Roe v. Wade was a factor. Ultimately, however, Rice decided not to run for office.

Elizabeth Warren is a United States Senator representing Massachusetts. As our readers doubtless know, she competed against Joe Biden for the Democratic presidential nomination. Sen. Warren's support for abortion is well-documented. She has a 100% rating from NARAL, having voted against the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, the No Taxpayer Funding of Abortion Act, and every other pro-life measure to cross her desk. During her 2020 run, Sen. Warren campaigned on an extreme platform that included taxpayer subsidies to the abortion industry and federal preemption of state pro-life laws.

Gretchen Whitmer is the governor of Michigan. She rose to national prominence as a state legislator, when she gave a speech falsely characterizing a pro-life bill on abortion in health insurance premiums as requiring women to purchase "rape insurance." Since then, Gov. Whitmer has consistently opposed the right to life for children in the womb, even going to far as to advocate repeal of Michigan's 24-hour waiting period for abortion.


Photo credit: Brandon Mowinkel on Unsplash

Monday, July 27, 2020

Joe Biden's Prospective Running Mates: Part Three

An American flag

This article is the third in a four-part series examining the abortion records of Democratic vice presidential prospects. We are going in alphabetical order. Click here for part one, which featured Stacey Abrams, Tammy Baldwin, and Karen Bass. Click here for part two, which featured Keisha Lance Bottoms, Tammy Duckworth, and Michele Lujan Grishom.

* * *

Kamala Harris is a United States Senator representing California. Since joining the Senate in 2017, she has built up a reliably pro-abortion voting record — including votes for taxpayer subsidies to the abortion industry, and against protection for third-trimester babies — earning herself a 100% rating from NARAL. She also took unsurprisingly pro-abortion stances during her candidacy for president.

Many pro-life advocates, however, know Sen. Harris best from her prior role: Attorney General of California. As Attorney General, Harris pursued a legal vendetta against pro-life investigative journalist David Daleiden, even going so far as to authorize a baseless raid on his home. No one on Biden's shortlist respects the rights of unborn children. Sen. Harris, however, takes that disregard a step further by attacking the rights of adults who dare defend unborn children. That makes her, in my opinion, the worst-case scenario.

Laura Kelly is the Governor of Kansas and a former member of the Kansas state legislature. She has been endorsed by Planned Parenthood and EMILY's List. Gov. Kelly actively opposed a proposed amendment to the Kansas state constitution which would have affirmed that it does not contain a right to an abortion. (Such amendments are not a direct attack on Roe v. Wade; rather, they are used to prevent activist judges from "discovering" abortion rights in state constitutions that go beyond Roe.)  

Catherine Cortez Masto is a United States Senator representing Nevada. She is endorsed by Planned Parenthood and, like Sen. Harris, her voting record resulted in a 100% rating from NARAL. In 2016, she ran abortion-related attack ads against her opponent, pro-life physician Rep. Joe Heck, characterizing him as anti-women's health for voting to shift funds from Planned Parenthood to community health centers.


Photo credit: Paul Weaver on Unsplash

Friday, July 24, 2020

Joe Biden's Prospective Running Mates: Part Two

Voters in polling booths with curtains drawn

This article is the second in a four-part series examining the abortion records of Democratic vice presidential prospects. We are going in alphabetical order. Click here for part one, which featured Stacey Abrams, Tammy Baldwin, and Karen Bass.

* * *

Keisha Lance Bottoms is the mayor of Atlanta. As best as I can tell, her only significant foray into abortion came when Georgia enacted a law (currently enjoined) to prohibit killing unborn children once a heartbeat is detected. Abortion activists in the entertainment industry, which frequently uses Georgia as a filming location, threatened boycotts. 

Mayor Bottoms reportedly responded by joining forces with actress Alyssa Milano to create an app which would help film productions direct their funding away from pro-life Georgians and toward the state's abortion supporters. Mayor Bottoms was quoted as saying "A woman's health care decisions should remain between her, her doctor and her maker."

Tammy Duckworth is a United States Senator representing Illinois. She was elected to that position in 2017, previously serving in the House of Representatives. Prior to that, she served in the military, famously losing her legs in a grenade attack on the helicopter she was piloting in Iraq. Sen. Duckworth was also the first senator to give birth while in office. 

Sadly, her personal experiences with disability and motherhood have not led her to sympathize with vulnerable children in the womb. Sen. Duckworth opposed the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, and the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, among others. She has been endorsed by EMILY's List (which exclusively supports pro-choice politicians) and has a 100% rating from NARAL.

Michele Lujan Grishom is the governor of New Mexico. She is also a former Representative for New Mexico's first congressional district. Gov. Grishom is an extreme abortion supporter. It's not good enough for her that her state ranks 42nd in the country for pro-life laws, lacking even such basic measures as informed consent. She took it a step further by demanding the repeal of New Mexico's pre-Roe law against abortion (which isn't even being enforced), calling legal protection for children in the womb an "embarrassment." 


Photo credit: Morning Brew on Unsplash

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Joe Biden's Prospective Running Mates: Part One

Who will join Joe Biden on the road to the White House?
Photo credit: David Everett Strickler on Unsplash

This article is the first in a four-part series. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is expected to announce his running mate sometime in early August. He has pledged to select a woman, but has otherwise been fairly tight-lipped about who he is considering. News reports have floated numerous names.

This series examines twelve candidates' records on abortion, three at a time, going in alphabetical order: Stacey Abrams, Tammy Baldwin, Karen Bass, Keisha Lance Bottoms, Tammy Duckworth, Michele Lujan Grishom, Kamala Harris, Laura Kelly, Catherine Cortez Masto, Susan Rice, Elizabeth Warren, and Gretchen Whitmer. Given Planned Parenthood's endorsement of Biden, and the abortion industry's financial grip on the Democratic Party, we do not expect a pro-life vice presidential candidate. Nevertheless, we feel that it is important to review each person's position individually.

* * *

Stacey Abrams is the former minority leader of the Georgia House of Representatives, where she served for ten years. She is best known for her unsuccessful candidacy for governor of Georgia in 2018. Abrams earned her law degree from Yale and currently works as the chair of Fair Fight Action.

Although raised to oppose abortion, Abrams now dismisses that upbringing as an artifact of her parents' religion. Abrams' apparent inability to recognize the existence of 12.8 million secular pro-life Americans is a serious concern. Worse, she recorded a video for NowThis denouncing pro-life values; in the video, she asserted that there is no such thing as a "compromise position" on abortion and darkly declared that "anyone who seeks to interfere with [abortion] should be held accountable." She did not elaborate on what that "accountability" should consist of.

Tammy Baldwin is a United States Senator representing Wisconsin. She was elected to that position in 2012, previously serving in the House of Representatives.

In both houses of Congress, she has accumulated an extensive pro-abortion voting record. She voted against the ban partial-birth abortion, the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Act, and the Unborn Victims of Violence Act. She also introduced the misleadingly named Women's Health Protection Act, which proposed federal nullification of state-level abortion regulations. (Thankfully, it didn't pass.) Not surprisingly, Sen. Baldwin has been a consistent vote in favor of taxpayer funding of abortion and has repeatedly won the endorsement of groups like Planned Parenthood and EMILY's List. 

Karen Bass is the United States Representative for the 37th District of California. Admirably, her official website contains an entire page on foster care and adoption issues; abortion does not receive that level of attention. Alas, a deeper dig reveals that Rep. Bass's support for vulnerable children does not begin until birth. She is deeply committed to abortion, voting against the Pain-Capable Child Protection Act, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, and the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act. Perhaps Rep. Bass decided not to highlight abortion on her website because her position is so extreme. 

Monday, July 20, 2020

Amy's Journey from Pro-Choice to Pro-Life

In 2005, I was pregnant with my first child. I was married to the love of my life, I was finished with college (a little later than most people), we had a modest home in Pittsburgh that we were in process of purchasing, and life couldn't have been more perfect.

Rewind back to my chaotic, sometimes abusive, neglectful and occasionally harmful, yet at the same time a-total-blast-childhood. I knew nothing about being a mother or becoming a mother or how a mother was even supposed to act. My mom died when I was five, so I was missing that certain something that only a mother can give. Not only was I missing it, I was always searching for it.

I was eight weeks pregnant with my first! EIGHT WEEKS! The midwife warned, "we don't always hear a heartbeat at this stage." The blood left my face. "But that won't mean something is wrong necessarily," she said reassuringly. Then she applied what I will officially name the "magic heart beat wand," and her heartbeat came through louder and stronger than any sound I had ever heard in my life! And in that moment, my missing connection as a mother, as a daughter, and as a sometimes flawed and damaged person was healed. I knew that I had a reason to be here; I knew that every bad and good moment that led up to this one was necessary because this little soul, this little person, wanted to be on this Earth at the very moment that we conceived her.

My first pregnancy progressed beautifully, and I was not high risk, therefore I had my first ultrasound at 18 weeks. They told me that sometimes babies will just sleep through an ultrasound. But, I decided to literally "juice up" my baby, so before the ultrasound we went to a little bakery and I had a bagel and an orange juice! During the ultrasound my daughter was playing with her umbilical cord, she was touching her face, sucking her thumb! I thought I had an especially genius child, of course, don’t we all?
Ultrasound of an 18-week-old child in the womb

I asked the technician, "They don't ALL do this, do they?"

She nonchalantly shrugged and said, "Yeah pretty much they do."

To which I answered, "Well she's so, so, HUMAN! At least at this age it would be illegal to abort her."

"Oh no." She looked at me like I was stupid. "We do abortions here many weeks past this stage."

I incredulously argued back, "BUT THIS IS CLEARLY A PERSON!" At this point my little baby is playing like Tarzan with the umbilical cord, like having literal fun in my uterus! I blocked it and thought that this was a special circumstance.

Before my pregnancy I was vehemently pro-choice. I had a degree in Women’s Studies from a well-regarded, left-leaning university. In return for my $50K in student loans, they had produced the most Marxist, group think, liberal, feminist, pro-choicer to walk the streets of America! I would become physically angry at pro-lifers. I didn't want to see their crazy signs, and I in no way identified with their religious persecutions. I am not proud to say that I was especially radically offended by the male pro-lifers.

During my first pregnancy and the young years of all of my children’s lives, I worked long hours as a caseworker for foster children; I first volunteered and then became employed by our local agency that advocated for rape victims; I worked tirelessly at all hours to empower and support victims of sexual assault, something that was all too dear to my heart. All the while I tucked that mental picture of my daughter in utero away. I put it in that little corner of my soul so that I could get angry, be fierce and "fight" for women's reproductive rights.

And then came a son, and then another daughter. I was a mother of three, browsing on Facebook during those fleeting moments on the toilet, mostly. And I saw all these people campaigning for Planned Parenthood and something struck me, and I felt the same anger that I felt for those men with their pro-life signs, only this time it was at pro-choicers. Friends of mine and family, educated women fighting like fiends for what? For the right to terminate a human life? For the right to damage and possibly do irreparable harm to their reproductive system? And I thought in that moment: “"Women, be careful what you fight for." Because this is not a fight I want my name attached to. This is no longer a fight I want to be a part of.

We had a heartfelt conversation the other night as a family. Of course my children are pro-life! What child wouldn't be? I admitted to my beautiful son that I was not only pro-choice at a time but that I specifically thought pro-life men were terrible. And we had a wonderful conversation about how as a boy now and a young man later that his opinion does matter, and that his choices on life and death matter too. Of course they do! Why wouldn't they? The minute you conceive it is no longer only your body; it is scientifically shared and both parents should have a say in the life they created together. Not just the woman. My husband is pro-life now too. Having shared my body with three really real lives I can say honestly that these three humans wanted to be here, were meant to be here and never, from day one, was it my "choice" to terminate any one of them.


[Today's guest post is by Amy McDonough. If you would like to contribute a guest post, email your submission to info@secularprolife.org for consideration.]

Friday, July 17, 2020

Poll: Pro-choicers support a lot more abortion restrictions than you'd expect.

When polls regarding abortion ask Americans about Roe v. Wade, most people say they want the Supreme Court decision upheld. But when the same polls ask people when they think abortion should be legal, most believe there should be more restrictions than Roe v. Wade actually allows. I've summarized these contradictory results before. Today I was reading a 2019 NPR/PBS Marist poll which captured the same phenomenon.

The poll asked: In 1973, the Roe v. Wade decision by the U.S. Supreme Court established the constitutional right for women to legally obtain an abortion. Over time, other laws have expanded or restricted this ruling. Do you think the U.S. Supreme Court today should decide to:
  • Overturn Roe v. Wade
  • Keep Roe v. Wade but add more restrictions
  • Keep Roe v. Wade but reduce some of the restrictions
  • Expand Roe v. Wade establishing the right to abortion under any circumstance
  • Keep Roe v. Wade the way it is
  • Unsure
The poll found that 39% of respondents thought Roe v. Wade should either be overturned or have more restrictions compared to 51% who thought Roe v. Wade should either be kept as is or strengthened. Broken down by self-identified pro-life vs pro-choice labels, the results looked like this:

(Click to enlarge)

So
  • As you'd expect, pro-life people were more likely to say Roe v. Wade should be overturned or further restricted and pro-choice people were more likely to say the opposite.
  • Even so, 18% of self-described pro-lifers said Roe v. Wade should be kept as is or strengthened, and 21% of pro-choicers thought it should be further restricted or overturned.
The poll described Roe v. Wade as establishing a woman's constitutional right to abortion, but it did not explain the specifics. Roe v. Wadealong with Doe v. Bolton, made it difficult if not impossible to constitutionally limit abortion in the first two trimesters. (Planned Parenthood v. Casey moved the standard from trimesters to fetal viability, but the situation is largely the same: restrictions in the first or second trimester are difficult to pass or uphold.)

I don't think most people are aware of that level of detail, which may explain why some of the same people who say they support Roe v. Wade also think abortion shouldn't be allowed in some of the circumstances Roe v. Wade specifically mandates.

The same poll asked: Which one of the following statements comes closest to your opinion on abortion?
  1. Abortion should be available to a woman any time she wants one during her entire pregnancy.
  2. Abortion should be allowed only during the first six months of pregnancy.
  3. Abortion should be allowed only during the first three months of pregnancy.
  4. Abortion should be allowed only in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the woman.
  5. Abortion should be allowed only to save the life of the woman.
  6. Abortion should never be permitted under any circumstance.
47% of respondents chose options 4-6, i.e. abortion should be permitted only in the "hard cases," or not at all. Only 29% thought abortion should be allowed after the first three months of pregnancy. 

Based on my experiences with pro-life and pro-choice activists, I would expect pro-lifers to mostly say abortion should be allowed only in the hard cases, or never at all, and I'd expect pro-choicers to mostly say abortion should be allowed in at least the first 6 months of pregnancy. Here are the actual responses:


Compared to my expectations, 12% of pro-lifers answered differently (9% said abortion should be allowed in the first three months, 3% said it should be allowed even later). And a whopping 54% of pro-choicers answered differently: 33% said abortion should be allowed only in the first three months, and 21% said it should be allowed only for the hard cases. In other words, over half of self-identified pro-choice people believe abortion should be restricted in ways Roe v. Wade absolutely does not allow

I also wonder how many of them realize that the hard cases account for less (probably much less) than 5% of abortions performed in the U.S. If the data above are accurate, about 1 out of 5 pro-choicers think over 95% of abortions (those performed on healthy fetuses carried by healthy women in pregnancies resulting from consensual sex) shouldn't be allowed.

Also worth noting: contrary to the "old white men" trope, white people tended to be more pro-choice (more likely to support abortion in more circumstances) than everyone else:


A 45% plurality of people under age 45, and 45% of women, say abortion should be limited to the hard cases. Only 32% of people under age 45 and 27% of women believe abortion should be allowed after the first three months of pregnancy.

One more interesting tidbit: a full 68% of pro-choicers said they would support a measure requiring abortion providers to have hospital admitting privileges. You'd think such a law would be easy common ground, middle-of-the-road type stuff, but June Medical Services v. Russo suggests otherwise.

Meanwhile, the poll also asked people to explain when they believe life begins. Specifically: do you believe human life begins...
  • at conception
  • within the first eight weeks of pregnancy
  • within the first three months of pregnancy
  • between three and six months
  • when a fetus is viable and can live outside the womb
  • at birth
  • unsure
A plurality (38%) said life begins at conception; 16% said life begins at birth. Broken down by pro-life and pro-choice labels:


Pro-lifers are relatively monolithic on this (72% said life begins at conception), whereas pro-choice people are much more evenly divided (and twice as likely to say they're unsure). No doubt some of these answers reflect the respondents' philosophical views about when a human becomes a person, as opposed to their understanding of biology (e.g. when an organism is a living member of the species homo sapiens). Still, I continue to suspect that a significant proportion of pro-choice people aren't just conflating philosophy with biology but are actually misunderstanding biology itself. Indeed, a survey of pro-choice people found that if it were common knowledge that a fetus is a biological human, 90% believed abortion rates would decrease and 83% believed support for legal abortion would decrease.

This NPR/PBS poll was filled with information suggesting that the legal status quo for abortion in the U.S. is actually pretty dramatically at odds with what most Americans think makes sense. So how did NPR cover the poll?


Mmmk.