Anti-abortion advocates coined the moniker "pro-life" because they wanted to connect with the majority of Americans who supported abortion restrictions. A new poll shows just how anti-abortion the "pro-life" movement really is.
The new poll, by Gallup, shows that, since the nineties — and the wholesale adoption of political evangelicals into the Republican Party — anti-abortion Republicans have become increasingly opposed to abortion. In a bit of good news, the increasingly crazed rhetoric from those people has seemingly driven more Democrats to the pro-choice position.
Since 1990, however, Republicans polled by Gallup increasingly have grown more conservative about the issue while Democrats have become more liberal.
By 2009, more Republicans — by a 21-point margin — said abortion should be illegal "in all circumstances," and more Democrats - by a 19-point margin — said abortion should be legal "under any circumstances."
In all circumstances these days — if the Stupak Amendment for the health insurance "reform" bill is any guide — means they believe that abortion should also be illegal in the case of rape, incest, life of the fetus or health of the mother. For many anti-abortion advocates, it also means opposing Plan B emergency contraception, IUDs, birth control pills, the patch, the ring, women who fall down the stairs and probably any woman caught thinking bad thoughts about babies.
For an example of the kind of abortion law "pro-life" activists would really like to see (as opposed to their touchy-feel ultrasound laws and promises to only criminalize abortion-performing doctors and not abortion-seeking women) one need only to look to Nicaragua, where "Amelia" is dying of metastatic cancer and doctors have refused to treat her. Nicaragua's anti-abortion law has no exception for the life of the mother, since the fact that a woman might need an abortion to save her life is usually dismissed by the anti-abortion movement and Republican presidential candidates alike, and criminalizes doctors who perform such procedures or even risk the life of the fetus with medical treatments for the mother. That's "pro-life" for you, and a foreseeable result of strict abortion laws.
It was only a year ago that Gallup was trumpeting a poll that showed Americans were increasingly "pro-life" — since somewhat debunked by Media Matters and Gallup itself. Their findings were based on a survey that turned out to not be particularly predictive that showed more people identifying as Republicans than every before, and results from a survey like this that shows Republicans are increasingly anti-abortion. The fact of the matter is that Republicans are increasingly convinced by anti-abortion groups that fetuses are "pre-born children" and women's lives, health and, yes, choices should all be subordinate to the supposed souls in their uteri.