Gallup: 'Pro-Choice Americans at Record Low 41%'
AT's Political Correspondent Rich Baehr believes that part of the reason for the surge in pro-life sentiment comes from an increase in the Hispanic population.
This is no doubt true to some extent, but Gallup traces the history of the question they have asked since 1995:
The 41% of Americans who now identify themselves as "pro-choice" is down from 47% last July and is one percentage point below the previous record low in Gallup trends, recorded in May 2009. Fifty percent now call themselves "pro-life," one point shy of the record high, also from May 2009.
Gallup began asking Americans to define themselves as pro-choice or pro-life on abortion in 1995, and since then, identification with the labels has shifted from a wide lead for the pro-choice position in the mid-1990s, to a generally narrower lead for "pro-choice" -- from 1998 through 2008 -- to a close division between the two positions since 2009. However, in the last period, Gallup has found the pro-life position significantly ahead on two occasions, once in May 2009 and again today. It remains to be seen whether the pro-life spike found this month proves temporary, as it did in 2009, or is sustained for some period.
Editor in Chief Thomas Lifson theorizes "The advances in medical imaging have made 'fetal tissue mass' look like the sick expression it is." He adds:
Pro-abortion forces are being undone by science - which liberals pride themselves on supporting. The sight of a perfect little person in utero shows abortion to be more than an appendectomy. You can't argue with it. Young people are strongly affected by it. Old feminists cling to abortion absolutism, not youngsters who are trending pro life.
Baehr also thinks that the contraception debate has something to do with the drop in pro-choice numbers. I think this is closer to the truth. The pro-government subsidizing contraception crowd has come off in the debate as radically unhinged, willing to trample on religious freedom and matters of personal conscience to achieve their aims. The few percentage point drop could be a backlash against their tactics and stridency.
But the converse is true. Pro-life supporters who blow up clinics or murder abortionists do their cause no good. It seems the small number of "persuadables" on this issue react to extremism by either side.
Is this a true turn of the tide against abortion on demand? Time will tell.