Yesterday marked the 44th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision in which abortion was declared to be a Constitutional right. Here are four sobering realities to consider:
1. The Mushy Middle on Abortion
The juxtaposition of two major marches in Washington, D.C., this week — the 2017 Women’s March yesterday and the March for Life four days from now — is one of the most recent signals of a cavernous cultural divide on issues like abortion. Americans are almost perfectly split between the half who call themselves “pro-life” and the half who call themselves “pro-choice.” The reality is much grayer, and when given a middle option, a large plurality take it. 50% of Americans are in favor of abortion being “legal only under certain circumstances,” with 29% in favor of legality under any circumstances, and only 19% favoring outright abolition.
2. The Democratic Party’s Movement Away from the Middle
In light of that last point, take a moment to consider this astounding report from The New Yorker:
Like many observant Catholic Democrats over the years, [former Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Tim] Kaine’s mantra on reproductive rights is that while he’s “personally opposed” to abortion, he’s largely inclined to keep the law out of women’s reproductive decisions. […] He has a 100 percent rating of his votes in the Senate from Planned Parenthood. His policy positions on abortion may not be ideal to reproductive-rights advocates, but they are acceptable, particularly if the top spot on the ticket is occupied by an old friend like Hillary Clinton.
But in recent years, there’s been a trend among pro-choice folk that’s less friendly to the old “personally opposed to but” pivot, or to any other attitude that condemns abortion morally while tolerating its legality. More and more feminists are insisting on recognition of abortion as a routine medical service like any other, if not an actual social or moral good. This evolution can be tracked in the language on abortion policy in Democratic Party platforms in recent years. In 2004, the platform included the 1992 Bill Clinton formulation pledging to make abortion “safe, legal, and rare.” In 2008, after a behind-the-scenes battle, the platform dropped “safe, legal, and rare,” but included language indicating reduction of abortions as a goal. In 2012, there was no longer any language referring to abortion as a bad thing that needed to go away as much as possible.
Interestingly, Hillary Clinton was still using the “safe, legal, and rare” formulation as recently as 2014. But the “rare” language seems to have dropped out during the current election cycle.
Senator Kaine already treats his pro-life views the ways that the apostate priest Sebastião Rodrigues treated Christianity in the movie Silence: something that he quietly believed in, but wasn’t going to let get in the way. But even his 100% pro-choice rating wasn’t enough for the rising faction within the Democratic Party that wants abortion not just legal, but praised.
That’s not a sane electoral strategy — after all, only 29% of Americans want abortion on demand, and not all of them likely a much lower percentage think abortion is terrific. Rather, it’s the sort of dogmatic devotion to abortion that the Left long concealed behind soft slogans like “Safe, legal, and rare” and an insistence upon “pro-choice” instead of “pro-abortion.” Thanks be to God that mask is off, and the “pro-choice” side has shown its true colors:
3, The “Mushy Middle” is Sort of Frightening.
In one sense, it’s awful that the “pro-choice” side is becoming ever more extremist in its pro-abortion advocacy. But there’s another sense in which the most troubling voices actually are those middle “personally opposed” people. Now, obviously this 50% block of Americans is too large to generalize, but many of them say things along the lines of what Kaine said in the Vice Presidential debate:
For me, the hardest struggle in my faith life was the Catholic Church is against the death penalty and so am I. But I was governor of a state, and the state law said that there was a death penalty for crimes if the jury determined them to be heinous. And so I had to grapple with that.
When I was running for governor, I was attacked pretty strongly because of my position on the death penalty. But I looked the voters of Virginia in the eye and said, look, this is my religion. I’m not going to change my religious practice to get one vote, but I know how to take an oath and uphold the law. And if you elect me, I will uphold the law.
And I was elected, and I did. It was very, very difficult to allow executions to go forward, but in circumstances where I didn’t feel like there was a case for clemency, I told Virginia voters I would uphold the law, and I did.
And later in the same debate:
Hillary and I are both people out of religious backgrounds, from Methodist church experience, which was really formative for her as a public servant.
But we really feel like you should live fully and with enthusiasm the commands of your faith. But it is not the role of the public servant to mandate that for everybody else.
So let’s talk about abortion and choice. Let’s talk about them. We support Roe v. Wade. We support the constitutional right of American women to consult their own conscience, their own supportive partner, their own minister, but then make their own decision about pregnancy. That’s something we trust American women to do that.
If someone says “I don’t believe that the fetus is a living human being,” they’re wrong, but in an understandable way. It’s a simple mistake about the facts. But the “personally opposed” crowd is claiming (in many cases) that abortion is the intentional taking of innocent human lives, but that they still think it should be legal. That’s not an innocent mistake about facts, but a barbaric set of priorities. Kaine’s position seems to be that killing people (babies or criminals) is wrong, unless voters really want you to do it.
The “personally opposed” crowd acts as if the only way that we can know that it’s wrong to take human life, or that unborn children are alive, is through religion, which is obviously untrue. But even if that were true – if Senator Kaine knew abortion was wrong simply because it had been revealed to him by God – what sort of man would reject God in favor of the voting public?
Regardless of your views on abortion, or about when life begins, etc., both pro-lifers and pro-choicers should be horrified at anyone whose position amounts to “I think abortion is murder, but also that it should be legal.”
4. Abortion is More Common Than You Imagine.
“In 2013, 664,435 legal induced abortions were reported to CDC from 49 reporting areas.” That means that, on average, there was one baby aborted for every five who were allowed to be born. That number is so high that it’s hard to imagine, so let’s illustrate it. According to FiveThirtyEight, there were approximately 485,000 marchers at the 2017 Women’s March on Washington (photos from Mashable):
Additionally, there were an estimated 150,000 protestors at the Women’s March in Chicago (as this video shows):
If you were to take the Chicago crowd and the D.C. crowd and combine them, you would almost have the number of abortions reported to the CDC in a single year. And the CDC’s numbers are undeniably low, since their “reporting areas” don’t include giant areas like California, nor do they include abortions that occur prior to implantation. So the numbers are actually even higher.
Surely, a horror of the magnitude is worth taking a public stand against, right? If so, I hope you’ll consider going to the March for Life on Friday.