May 30, 2009


Pro-life shift not surprising (Cheryl Wetzstein, May 26, 2009, Washington Times)

What's new is that when asked flat-out, most Americans now say they are pro-life.

I find this believable for two reasons.

First, my 2007 research showed that young Americans are skewing pro-life. A 2003 Gallup poll, for instance, compared the abortion views of 517 teens, aged 13 to 17, with those of more than 1,000 adults. When asked whether abortion should be allowed under "any" circumstance, adults were more likely to say yes than teens (26 percent to 21 percent). More stunningly, when asked whether abortion should be allowed under "no" circumstances - i.e., be outlawed - 33 percent of teens said yes, compared with only 17 percent of adults.

Another poll, released in January 2006 by Hamilton College and Zogby International, asked 1,000 high-school seniors about the morality of abortion. Two-thirds said it was immoral, with 23 percent saying it was "always" morally wrong and 44 percent saying it was "usually" morally wrong.

My experience with youth, both personally and professionally, is that they often recoil at abortion. So I find a pro-life trend in youth to be quite plausible.

Second, I think some aging baby boomers are changing their views. People generally become more conservative and self-reflective with age. Legacies matter. Hindsight is 20/20. Regrets appear.

My suspicion is that in more than a few cases, baby boomers who were willing to have abortions are not at ease with the idea of losing their grandchildren, too. It may be that in the autumn of life, being "pro-life" has a whole new meaning.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 30, 2009 6:45 AM
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