80% of Americans Oppose 3rd Trimester Abortions
There is a vast divide between middle America and the coastal “elites” who often purport to speak for the people in the current national debate over abortion.
Poll after poll has found that most Americans are deeply divided over abortion. One recent poll, for instance, found that a solid 50% of Americans say that, in general, abortion is “morally wrong,” whereas only 42% said that it is “morally acceptable.” Another recent poll found that almost 80% of Americans oppose abortion in the third trimester. Yet another poll this year found that 75% of Americans favor restricting abortion to – at the very most – the first three months of pregnancy (i.e. the first trimester). That same poll found that 65% of respondents said that if the Supreme Court were to revisit the Roe v. Wade case, the Court should either allow states to determine their own abortion laws (49%), or completely outlaw abortion (16%).
CNS Graphic Courtesy of: Marist/Knights poll on Americans’ attitudes on abortion (Feb. 25, 2019)
Naturally, it is deeply tragic that Americans support any abortions at all. However, numbers like these expose the reality that the actual state of abortion law in the United States is far more permissive that what most Americans would like to see. Under Roe v. Wade, there is nothing preventing states from allowing abortions right up until the point of birth – which is precisely what we saw New York explicitly allow in their extreme new law. Given this, we shouldn’t be surprised that many red states right now are pushing back by passing pro-life laws designed to challenge the status quo created by Roe v. Wade, and to protect the lives of babies much earlier, or even from the very beginning of pregnancy.
Democratic Leadership Out of Touch
Yet, if you listened to the country’s mainstream news anchors, Democratic politicians, entertainers and business elites, you would think that the American people are clamoring for the most extreme abortion laws imaginable, and that the current pro-life push is somehow the result of a shadowy conspiracy that has nothing at all to do with the views of ordinary Americans.
Consider, for instance, the homogenous extremism of every member of the large pool of candidates for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. Right now, the candidates are striving to differentiate themselves from the rest of the herd, claiming that the positions outlined on their platforms are better for the country than those of their opponents. But on one issue all the candidates are virtually in lockstep: across the board, they believe that abortion should be allowed for just about every imaginable reason (or no reason at all), up until the final moments of pregnancy, funded by the taxpayer.
Until a few days ago, the only real exception was Joe Biden. Biden, who routinely touts himself as a “Catholic,” has long supported the Hyde Amendment, a provision that is passed by Congress annually, as part of spending appropriations bills. The amendment bans federal funding of abortion. A healthy majority of Americans has long supported the Hyde Amendment, which hardly comes as a surprise. If Americans are queasy about abortion in general, it’s no shock that they’d prefer not to pay for abortions with their tax dollars.
However, a few days ago, after initially re-affirming his support for the Hyde Amendment, Biden suddenly flip-flopped. The reversal came after several of Biden’s fellow Democratic candidates issued stinging criticisms of his support for the amendment. Although Biden’s numerous and repeated reversals on abortion throughout his long career suggests that he has some qualms of conscience about the issue, it’s worth remembering that besides his support for the Hyde Amendment, he currently has no other substantial objections to the regime of abortion-on-demand.
In other words, the Democratic Party in 2019 will brook absolutely no dissent – no matter how mild – from the official party policy of abortion-till-birth paid by the taxpayer. Or, as Archbishop Charles Chaput put it in a scathing column about Biden’s about-face: “The unborn child means exactly zero in the calculus of power for Democratic Party leaders, and the right to an abortion, once described as a tragic necessity, is now a perverse kind of ‘sacrament most holy.’ It will have a candidate’s allegiance and full-throated reverence…or else.”
Indeed, it is extremely telling that right after abandoning support for the Hyde Amendment, Biden openly acknowledged to CNN that the amendment is popular with American voters. Biden was objecting to the criticism that he had only changed his position out of political expediency. “The truth is, the majority of the American people agree with the Hyde Amendment, OK?” he said. “So the idea that this would be helpful to change is not accurate in terms of being able to win an election.” In other words, Biden wants us to believe that by supporting using taxpayer dollars to kill unborn babies, he is selflessly following some “higher principle” that might even harm him at the polls.
Of course, this is an absurd and highly misleading statement. Biden knows that if he is going to win the Democratic nomination, and the eventual general election, he needs the total support of his party, and its base of wealthy donors. And he knows that the party, and its extremist financial backers, have no tolerance for his qualms of conscience. Having weighed the American people, and the Democratic elites that have the power to block his path to the White House, Biden cynically chose loyalty to the latter. Unborn babies, it seems, are merely the stepping stones he is willing to tread upon to attain his vaulted political goals.
How disgusting, then, to see PBS, in a June 7 summary of Biden’s views on abortion, referring to Biden as a “devout Roman Catholic.” It’s worth repeating the final lines of Archbishop Chaput’s column here:
“There’s a remark by Thomas More in the film A Man for All Seasons that’s worth remembering in the months ahead: ‘When statesmen forsake their own private conscience for the sake of their own public duties, they lead their country by a short route to chaos.’ We can’t say we weren’t warned.”