After the 2012 elections, pro-lifers found themselves in the minority. Thanks to moronic comments by Republican Senate candidates Todd Akin in Missouri and Richard Mourdock in Indiana, some of my colleagues felt that the pro-life movement was irreparably harmed. Yet, a new WSJ/NBC poll shows that’s not true, but it also indicates that the country isn’t shifting more pro-life either. Nonetheless, a majority of Americans feel that abortions should be illegal ‘in most or all circumstances.’ Allahpundit at Hot Air posted yesterday that:
The new numbers are in line with most of the other data over the last 10 years. Americans aren’t becoming more pro-choice but they’re not really becoming more pro-life either. (If the Gosnell story breaks out in a big way, that may change in the next round of polling.) The good news: The January numbers showing 54 percent in favor of legal abortion in most or all circumstances looks like an outlier. Either it’s statistical noise or the Akin/Mourdock backlash from last summer finally faded and left pollsters with the pre-2012 status quo. At the very least, you can take the new numbers as a sign that Republicans’ efforts to limit abortion at the state level aren’t generating a backlash (yet).
Allahpundit notes that for the 45% who favor abortion, most of them agree that the procedure should be permitted if the life of the mother is at risk, or to terminate a pregnancy that was conceived through a rape. That’s where Akin and Mourdock went wrong, and invoking some sort of divine plan, as Mourdock did, was seen as insensitive and out of touch. Moreover, such a comment was unnecessary. Indiana had two pro-life candidates running for the U.S. Senate.
The pro-life movement is back on top. Yet work still needs to be done concerning tilting the needle towards building a culture that respects life. Pro-life Americans can rejoice with this new data, but should also be aware that if Gosnell’s atrocities don’t sway minds on abortion, as Allahpundit noted, it will be hard to convince voters. It’s a good point. If the snipping of spines of babies and keeping fetuses’ feet preserved in jars don’t make pro-abortionists rethink their position, then can we safely say that the culture war on this issue will be stalemated?
George Will aptly noted that public opinion is shiftable sand, which prohibits permanent victories in democracy. He hasn’t mentioned anything about a perpetual deadlock.