Pro-choice activists assemble in downtown Memphis, Tenn., May 21, 2019. (Karen Pulfer Focht/Reuters)
There’s a deep irony to be found in current left-wing complaints that the Supreme Court having a say on abortion is “not democracy” when it was the Supreme Court that unilaterally legalized abortion nationwide in the first place in Roe v. Wade. But it’s easy to understand why.
Your position on the morality of abortion shouldn’t be dictated by its popularity. Yet, as a political matter, it’s worth pointing out that public opinion doesn’t align with the Democratic Party’s position. Since 1973, when the Court concocted an inalienable right to rid yourself of inconvenient offspring, Gallup has found that the number of Americans who believe abortion should be legal “under any circumstance” has fluctuated between 22–34 percent. This is the stance of the contemporary Democratic Party; legal abortion from conception to crowning.
The media love to combine the percentage of those who believe abortion should be legal “always” and “in some circumstances.” But why? As of today, Gallup also finds that 67 percent of American believe abortion should be either completely banned (19 percent) or in place with limitations (48 percent). Obviously, the latter can mean an array of things. But the heartbeat bills, like the one in Texas, allow for abortion in “in some circumstances.” As does, obviously, the 20-week ban that House Republicans supported a few years ago.
Abortion plays out like most partisan issues these days. Some polls, like this wildly misleading push-poll from USA Today/Ipsos, tell us one thing. This Hill-Harris poll, which found 55 percent of registered voters thought heartbeat bills were either “too lenient” (21 percent) or “just right” (34 percent), tells us another. In Texas, the heartbeat law certainly isn’t usurping the will of the people, with a majority of the state supporting banning abortions after six weeks — including 46 percent of women — as opposed to 45 percent who want to keep it legal.
Of course, the more science learns about the unborn and the earlier technology can keep babies viable outside the womb, the more untenable the pro-choice position will become. If abortion advocates truly believed they would prevail in a “democracy,” they wouldn’t need Roe and they wouldn’t be terrified about the prospects of its demise.
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