Just how pro-choice is America, really?
And going strictly by the numbers, it may not look like public opinion on abortion has changed very much over the years. In April 1975, according to Gallup, 21 percent of Americans thought abortion should be legal under all circumstances and 22 percent thought it should be illegal under all circumstances. In the early nineties, there was a brief spell where a full third of Americans believed abortion should always be legal. That started to slide midway through the Clinton years, and by May of this year, we were almost exactly where we started in 1975: 22 percent saying always legal and 23 saying always illegal.
But that downward trajectory could continue. If forced to choose, Americans today are far more eager to label themselves “pro-life” than they were a dozen years ago. The youngest generation of voters—those between the ages of 18 and 29, and therefore most likely to need an abortion—is the most pro-life to come along since the generation born during the Great Depression, according to Michael D. Hais and Morley Winograd, authors of Millennial Makeover, who got granular data on the subject from Pew Research Center. Crisis Pregnancy Centers, dedicated to persuading women to continue their pregnancies, now outnumber the country’s abortion providers, who themselves are a rapidly aging group (two-thirds are over 50, according to a National Abortion Federation study from 2002). In the wake of the murder of Dr. George Tiller this year, the Senate couldn’t even pass a resolution condemning violence against abortion providers.
NY Mag: Just how pro-choice is America, really?
Democracy Now guests on right wing populism and Tiller
Good conversation on today’s Democracy Now:
FREDERICK CLARKSON: Well, yeah. There’s been a big controversy about whether any of the anti-abortion groups should be called domestic terror organizations. There is one called the Army of God that’s an above-ground organization of largely veterans of anti-abortion violence or proponents of anti-abortion violence. And the Justice Department has decided that it’s not a terrorist organization, even though it publicly espouses crimes that could be called terrorism by any reasonable definition and has many convicted felons. [...]
CHIP BERLET: Well, I think in the current context of the PATRIOT Act and other repressive legislation, we have to be very careful about the use of the term “terrorism.” Arguably, if you look at the Federal Criminal Code, many active anti-abortion violence would not be classified as terrorism in some interpretations. I don’t think the issue here is urging the government to expand its repressive powers. I think that’s a mistake. I think what we have here are groups of criminals and criminal individuals who need to be pursued and prosecuted, as appropriate.
And I think it’s important to understand that, for many years, clinic violence was not treated with the same aggressive attention by the federal government and state governments as other forms of vandalism and violence. And I think that that’s because the anti-abortion movement has a very large political and religious constituency that makes it very difficult for state and federal officials to try and actually enforce the existing laws that they should be doing. [...]
Democracy Now: Tiller Killing Spurs Renewed Calls for US to Reverse Longstanding Passivity on Anti-Abortion Extremists
See also: My partner’s experience as a patient of Tiller’s.
Where will women go now?
Susan Hill, President of the National Women’s Health Foundation, who knew Dr. Tiller for over two decades and referred girls and women to his clinic, said in a phone interview, “We always sent the really tragic cases to Tiller.” Those included women diagnosed with cancer who needed abortions to qualify for chemotherapy, women who learned late in their pregnancies that their wanted babies had fatal illnesses, and rape victims so young they didn’t realize they were pregnant for months. “We sent him 11-year-olds, 12-year-olds who were way too far along for anybody [else] to see,” said Hill. “Eleven-year-olds don’t tell anybody. Sometimes they don’t even know they’ve had a period.”
Salon: Where will women go now?