Skip to comments.America's Unsettled Conscience On Abortion
Posted on 05/21/2009 8:32:42 AM PDT by This Just In
America's Unsettled Conscience on Abortion
Posted: Wednesday, May 20, 2009 at 1:56 pm ET
Here is an amazing fact -- over 35 years after the legalization of abortion this nation is still deeply divided over the issue. America has an unsettled conscience on abortion, and this most contentious of moral issues may be further from resolution than at any moment since the Roe v. Wade decision was handed down in 1973.
A new Gallup poll tells the story. The headline of the report from Gallup should encourage pro-life Americans: "More Americans 'Pro-Life' Than 'Pro-Choice' for First Time." Indeed, 51% of those polled indicated that they are "pro-life" on the issue of abortion. Prior to this poll, the highest percentage identifying as pro-life was 46%, and that was in August 2001 and May 2002.
Only 42% of respondents identified themselves as "pro-choice." And, even as the percentage of those identifying as pro-life grew, the number of Americans who believe that abortion should be legal under all circumstances fell to 23%. According to the data, 53% of Americans believe that abortion should be legal under some circumstances and 22% believe that abortion should be illegal under all circumstances. That means that fully 60% of Americans are opposed to removing all legal restriction to abortion -- a stunningly large majority.
As the Gallup organization noted, this means that most Americans fall into some middle position on abortion. As other surveys and polls have made clear, a majority of Americans want some access to legal abortion, but want some forms of abortion and abortions under some circumstances to be illegal. They also want some abortions to be illegal but they do not want women arrested for seeking or securing an abortion. They are opposed to the claim that women should have access to abortion for any reason at all, but they are also unclear about what circumstances should make an abortion legal.
In other words, Americans are confused.
The Gallup organization confirmed its findings through additional polling and research. It is clear that many Americans are rethinking the abortion question, and it is also clear that many Americans hold confused, contradictory, or inconsistent positions on issues related to abortion.
All this points to an unsettled conscience on abortion, and this confusion is perhaps deeper now than at any point since 1973.
Responding to the new data, Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America told The Los Angeles Times: "I am pretty confident that Americans really don't want Roe v. Wade overturned." Keenan also pointed to recent elections in which pro-choice candidates achieved electoral success, starting with President Barack Obama.
In this context, Kennan's statement looks quite defensive and pained. The best she can do is to offer her assurance that "Americans really don't want Roe v. Wade overturned." That is hardly a ringing defense of abortion as a basic right -- an argument central to American feminism and to the pro-choice movement throughout recent decades.
On the other hand, Charmaine Yoest, president of Americans United for Life, told the paper: "People are generally pro-life depending on how you ask the question." This new poll from Gallup seems to confirm her confidence. At the same time, her qualification of "depending on how you ask the question" is huge. Kennan can rightly point to recent elections as evidence for her claim that Americans must not be as pro-life as they think themselves to be.
The elections do seem to demonstrate that the pro-life convictions of many Americans are not well grounded or considered. While the pro-life movement can take real hope from this new headline, there is clearly much ground yet to be won. Americans may be squeamish about abortion and, thanks to modern ultrasound technology, they have a genuine concern for the unborn child, but this has not yet translated into a firm and convictional determination to bring the scourge of abortion on demand to an end.
The pro-choice movement can point to the election of President Obama and many other pro-choice candidates, but the movement must be biting its nails over the trend evident in this new poll and similar surveys. The most ominous trend for the pro-choice movement is the increasingly pro-life character of younger Americans. As some observers have pointed out, a generation that can see ultrasound images of themselves in their own baby books tends to see abortion for what it is -- the killing of a child.
Here is the great quandary for the pro-choice movement: More than 35 years after Roe v. Wade, they find that abortion is anything but the "settled issue" that some abortion proponents were certain would be the fate of the abortion question soon after 1973. To the contrary, the pro-choice movement is losing ground, not gaining. The frustration of pro-choice leaders is starting to show. They have little reason to be confident.
Abortion remains the greatest scandal confronting the American conscience. Those of us who yearn for America to return to its senses on this issue can take hope, even as we have much to do. Rebuilding a Culture of Life is no easy or quick task. This is one of the greatest civilizational challenges faced by this generation.
America has an unsettled conscience about abortion. We should be thankful for this fact, but not satisfied. An unsettled conscience is far better than a conscience settled on the killing of unborn children.
© 2009, All rights reserved, www.AlbertMohler.com
It's simple, once the sperm meets the egg, a unique PERSON has been created, and ALL have a duty to protect that person in every way that is in their power.
There. No more reason for any confusion.
My conscience is not unsettled. America's conscience wouldn't be unsettled, either, if everyone was pro-life.
I appreciate the illustrations.
Please move this thread to News/Activism. The author, Dr. Albert Mohler is a prominent authority in the Pro-Life movement and this deserves maximum exposure/attention.
Please FreepMail me if you want on or off my Pro-Life Ping List.
Perhaps the key word here is ‘American’ with its implication of freedom. It seems Americans see three positions. ‘Choice’ as ‘freedom’. ‘Pro-abortion’ as government policy more like China or other nations mandating abortion as child limiting policy. ‘Anti-abortion’ is viewed more as a moral decision/sin. Church leaders out front gives the impression that this is a moral issue rather than a political one.
It seems more akin to religious who saw alcohol drinking as a sin and advanced the Prohibition Amendment to legislate it. Ultimately that was resolved more with regulation but with personal choice. Recently organizations like MADD have succeeded in hightening awareness coupled with punishment for violators. People today are very focused on the penalty rather than the sin.
What this suggests for ‘America’ remains. Should there be an abortion penalty, what should it be and who should receive it? Will the political arena continue to accept ‘choice’ or will the growing pro-life position achieve a critical mass? Is this a personal religious matter or a political matter? Is it best advanced from the pulpit or the legislative halls? Where is Solomon when we need him.
Would you say our Declaration of Independence is a political statement or a combination of political and moral statement?
I believe it is the latter and no nation survives for very long with even an appearance of its founding principles when its moral framework is so mutated as ours currently is, allowing even election of a man who worked to protect actual infanticide murdering!
It appears that you would like to have a nice clean division between political and moral. No free nation can sustain such a farcical position, as our democrats are proving, graphically! When moral is separated from political, despotism walks in to run the show.
Now, you also seem in a hurry to conflate religious with moral. The Taliban would be proud of that, but it need not be the rule. Many religions have in common human decency in some form of moral codes, taboos if you will.
America began with a statement of moral codification in broad categories. All the categories draw relevance from the Creator, as the founders proclaimed in the DofI and codified further with the Constitutional contract between We The People and our representative government.
Our representative government has for decades now been abrogating the contract and dictating the new set of codes by which the federal oligarchy reins over us, such that we the people are no longer the actual sovereigns, just the pseudo-sovereigns ... even our elections are fraudulent, with vote fraud treason more common than ever.
Roe v Wade is a prime example of the federal representatives abrogating thus committing by fiat replacement rule ... I never voted on abortion, have you? But Roe is by no means the only gross abrogation of the Life/Liberty/Pursuit of happiness contract, since the phenomenon is not confined to issues of the unborn or just born alive.
It has gotten so bad that now a supposedly eligible (he has never been made to prove his eligibility according to the old contract) elected pres__ent and his henchghoul congress remake the nation in the image they see fit without answering to the people!
Have you ever wondered if Obowma even pauses to consider whether the people would have elected him had they been informed as to his work in Illinois to protect serial murderers using neglect of just born alive infants as their 'kill method of choice'?
The media instinctively knew that such a history of defending/protecting infanticide would render him ineligible on moral grounds, so they purposely twisted the facts and dissembled the issue into oblivion so that their chosen dead soul affirmative action figure could be elected by catholics and/or moral black people.
2008 was the year the fourth estate became the fifth column enemy of We The People, working arduously to cover up the truth about a man so immoral, so wicked that the enemedia knew if the truth were know on the man the nation would reject him as unfit! Is the treachery of the enemedia moral failing or political failing? ... HINT: it is both and the two are in fact inseparable if a Constitutional Republic is to remain free. Democrats want to rule, the media wants them to rule, so the media operates on 'any means is justified by the goal'.
Agreed. I think that problem is better solved by preaching rather than by legislating.
Agreed. I think that problem is better solved by preaching rather than by legislating. [Ex-Snook]
Yes, agreed -- as long as your comment applies only to how our spiritual disease leads to generic greater national problems.
If, though, people start to apply "preaching" to the "national problem" highlighted in this thread -- abortion -- then that's shortsighted.
(I mean if somebody was about to kill you and your neighbors with impunity, I'm sure you'd want the force of law behind you to protect you -- you wouldn't pick up the phone to call your preacher)
I agree with all that you stated.
“It seems more akin to religious who saw alcohol drinking as a sin and advanced the Prohibition Amendment to legislate it.”
I disagree. Not all whom consume alcohol become inebriated. The Bible addresses the problem of drunkenness, but does not forbid the consumption of alcohol. Abortion, on the other hand, is murder. Period. It is the intentional destruction of a defenseless human life. One whom has committed no crime.
The issue is both political as well as moral. Abortion, or, the killing of an innocent human should be treated as a crime against humanity and the Lord because this is precisely what it is.
Politically speaking, the unborn/infant is being denied their right, according to our Constitution, to pursue life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Religiously, man is made in the image of God. Furthermore, each human life is distinct/unique and sacred.
And that's --- in my opinion ---what needs to be done. Fifty states can work out 50 different approaches, and thus serve as 50 "laboratories of law" to actually demonstrate what approach best serves human rights and the common good.
I have no doubt that a lot of states would adopt legislation "somewhat limiting" abortion, and leave it at that. Some would opt for a time limit (e.g. abortion up to 10 weeks, none thereafter), some would opt for"conditional" limits (e.g. no abortion except in cases of rape, incest, or to prevent maternal death); many would institute very modest safeguards such as parental consent, spousal consent, informed consent, anethesia for the baby to be aborted, medical second opinion, etc.
Some would leave abortion as-is (legal at any time for any reason) and even subsidize it. Some might want to curb "discriminatory" oregnancy termination, such as sex-selection abortions targetingo nly the girls. Some would enter abortion in to the criminal code under the category of homicide; others might want to call it a form of medical malpractice inasmuch as it causes intentional harm and is not the cure for any known disease condition.
Everybody can argue up and down and over and out on all these things --- and more --- but the point is, we would then have some basis for collecting data, listening to people's experience, and observing what works in terms of securing public opinion, pursuing genuinely popular strategies, and achieving more safety and security both for pregnant women and their babies.
Roe vs Wade closed off most of those possibilities 36 years ago. Getting rid of that is a necessary first step in a long incremental process for securing those "inalienable rights" everybody talks about.
Well said, rational without political party side issues.
I agree that the states should decide and not the federal government.
Abortion is murder.