During the Clinton years, 56 percent of Americans described themselves as pro-choice, while only 33 percent of us self-identified as pro-life. But in just a decade and a half, the numbers have completely shifted.
According to the most recent Gallup polling, pro-lifers edge out those in favor of legal abortion by 47 to 45 percent. Half of all Americans agree that abortion is morally wrong.
And the news gets even better. Following a ground-breaking Nebraska law last year that bars late-term abortions because of the risk of fetal pain, five other states have passed measures outlawing nearly all abortions after five months of pregnancy. Legislatures in Kansas Alabama, Idaho, Indiana, and Oklahoma this year have enacted abortion bans after 20 or 21 weeks. The laws allow for exceptions when the mother’s life is at risk or she faces severe physical impairment.
I guess we shouldn’t be surprised, but liberal activists are shocked. AP reports that late-term abortion laws “have emboldened anti-abortion activists, angered abortion providers, and will likely make decisions all the more wrenching for women affected by the late-term bans.”
Not one word about the protecting the lives of babies or supporting the choice of pregnant women to save their own children.
Who is really on the side of women in this whole distorted debate? Well, most Americans aren’t buying the line of the abortion industry. According to Gallup, “majorities of Democrats as well as most Republicans favor informed consent, parental consent, 24-hour waiting periods, and a ban on ‘partial birth abortion.’” The respected polling agency says that 87 percent of respondents favor informing a pregnant woman of the risks of having an abortion.
Folks, in these contentious times, it’s hard to get 87 percent of the people to agree that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west!
Responding to this pro-life groundswell, state legislatures in 2011 have passed more than 80 bills aimed at restricting access to abortion. That’s up from 23 such laws enacted last year. These measures would variously ban abortions after the first detectable fetal heartbeat, specify which drugs and equipment abortion clinics must provide, require doctors to conduct a pre-abortion sonogram and describe the unborn child’s features to the woman, or require waiting periods before an abortion.
Here is some more good news. According to the pro-choice Guttmacher Institute, forty-six states now allow medical professionals to opt out abortions. Forty-three allow at least some institutions to opt out. Thirty-six require parental notification or consent for minors. Twenty-four require waiting periods, nineteen require counseling, and sixteen outlaw “partial-birth” abortions.
This whole movement shows us that we are able — if we’re patient and persevering — to change culture, and it should encourage us in the battle over so-called gay "marriage."
The battle for life continues, however, so long as 1.2 million abortions are being performed annually.
We celebrate our gains, let’s keep the momentum going. A pro-life party is appropriate — but not a vacation.
Chuck Colson's daily BreakPoint commentary airs each weekday on more than one thousand outlets with an estimated listening audience of one million people. BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today's news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print.
Publication date: August 18, 2011.