According to the pro-choice Guttmacher Institute 576 measures related to abortion have been introduced (in 2011) in 48 states. Most of these will never pass committee. Yet by early April, 142 abortion-related provisions had passed at least one chamber of a state legislature, compared with only 67 in 2009. More than half of these 142 bills introduced this year seek to restrict abortion access, compared with only 38 percent in 2010.
About 40 new anti-abortion laws were passed into law by mid-April. These include:
- expanding the waiting period requirement in South Dakota from 24 hours to 72 hours, and requiring women to visit a crisis pregnancy center in the interim.
- requiring a physician who performs an abortion in South Dakota to provide counseling on all risk factors related to abortion.
- allowing any hospital employee in Utah to refuse to "participate in any way" in an abortion.
- making it a felony in Arizona to perform or provide money for abortions sought because of a baby's race or sex.
- prohibiting insurance plans that participate in the state insurance exchange from including abortion coverage in Virginia, Arizona, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee.
- prohibiting the abortion of a fetus capable of feeling pain in Nebraska, Kansas, Idaho, and Oklahoma. The organization National Right to Life has even drafted a model bill for pro-life lawmakers to use.
Republican victories in the 2010 mid-term elections have led to much of this legislative success at the state level. The GOP took 29 governorships and 680 seats in state legislatures, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. This is one of the largest turnarounds in political history.
When the Supreme Court upheld a ban on partial-birth abortion in 2007 the effect was to say to states that they have the right to limit abortion. Pro-life advocates began to realize they had a new opportunity to introduce change and they acted quickly.
The Gallup polling on abortion didn’t begin until 1995. In 2010, 47 percent of Americans called themselves pro-life, while 45 percent identified themselves as pro-choice. This is the first majority for the pro-life movement since he polling began.
This pro-life advantage held through three different surveys, prompting Gallup to label it a "real change in public opinion," one that's showing itself at the polls as well.
Abortion rates peaked in 1990, with 1.4 million abortions performed that year, according to the CDC. Public support of abortion was also high in 1990, with 56 percent of Americans labeling themselves pro-choice, according to Gallup. Just 33 percent self-identified as pro-life 21 years ago.
When I read the evidence of this significant change in public opinion I had to ask why. I have yet to read a compelling answer, or answers, to my why question. While the pro-life movement is gaining in support over the last two decades the pro gay marriage agenda is increasingly gaining strength each year. This suggests, at least to my mind, that this pro-life change is more than a conservative political change that holds across the board. But why?
As much as I believe that same-sex marriage will be broadly harmful to families in general I am much more convinced that protecting human life is a deeper and more obvious culture-shaping moral issue. I know this opinion is controversial. But remember, in the case of abortion a human life is taken, even if it is an unborn human life. In the case of legalizing homosexual partnerships/marriage a moral sin is committed by consenting adults but this choice does not rise to the level of taking a human life who is defenseless and has no choice. Our government was established to provide for life, liberty and the freedom to pursue one’s dreams (i.e., the pursuit of happiness). Taking an innocent human life seems to violate the very founding principles of our government. Thus the moral distinction I make seems warranted by both our Constitution and Christian public theology.
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Dr Armstrong, as for the why-question in regard to the turn in public opinion, could it be as simple as “pro-choicers” killed their own (it bothers me to even say that!) while “pro-lifers” had and raised more children? As a result, there is simply a higher percentage of people in our country now (20 years later) who were raised in pro-life families… and it now shows in the surveys and polls…? Or is this a myth?