Monday, January 9, 2012

Support for Abortion: Republican Versus Democrat

This post was sent to me by guest blogger Sarah T. - M

When thinking about the abortion issue, most people assume that the respective stances of the two major political parties in the United States are rigidly defined and set in stone. Republicans are pro-life. Democrats are pro-choice. That is all. In reality, however, things are not that clear. While the pro-life position is the official stance of the Republican Party and the pro-choice position is the official stance of the Democratic Party, the opinions of the rank-and-file of Republicans and Democrats do not always line up neatly with their parties' platforms.

Here are the statistics:
  • If the life/health of the woman is in jeopardy abortion is approved by 90% of Democrats and 90% of Republicans
  • If the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest abortion is approved of by 82% of Democrats and 82% of Republicans
  • If the woman has low income and cannot afford more children abortion is approved by 48% of Democrats and 41% of Republicans
  • If a woman is not married abortion is approved of by 44% of Democrats and 43% of Republicans
  • Abortion for any reason is approved of by 40% of Democrats and 36% of Republicans
So as we see here, there is not a huge difference between the way Republicans and Democrats view abortion. Large majorities support keeping abortion legal in cases where the woman's life or health is in danger or when she has been raped. However, there are only four percentage points between Democrats and Republicans who approve of abortion for any reason. If a woman is not married, the difference between Republicans' and Democrats' opinions is only 1%. This flies in the face of popular belief that Democrats are always pro-choice and Republicans are always pro-life. There are more pro-life Democrats than most people believe. The Democratic Party does not have a dead lock on the pro-choice position.

Pro-life Democrats need to speak out and reclaim our party. 60% of Democrats oppose abortion in at least some circumstances. Currently, in the United States, abortion is legal at any time in pregnancy for any reason. The Supreme Court cases Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton have seen to that. 60% of Democrats feel that this is wrong. This is a majority. The extremist position taken by many Democratic candidates, who say that there should be no restrictions at all on abortion at any time, is not in step with what the people of the party actually believe. Planned Parenthood and NARAL do not speak for the majority of Democrats.

Source: James A. Davis, Tom W. Smith, and Peter V. Marsden "General Social Surveys, 1972- 2004 (Chicago: National Opinion Research Center, 2008)

1 comment: said...

Thanks, Sarah. Do you have a link to the Davis et al study?