May 17, 2010

YOU REALLY HAVE TO PAUSE AND APPRECIATE THAT SENTENCE:

Why Are More Americans Calling Themselves Pro-Life?: It's because of Obama, but not just for the reason you might think. (Jessica Grose, May 17, 2010, Slate)

[Nathaniel Persily, a professor of law and political science at Columbia Law School] has another explanation to add to the mix: He attributes the shift toward the pro-life label to Obama's softening of the language of Democratic support for abortion. Obama said about abortion in 2008 during his campaign that "there is something extraordinarily powerful about potential life and that that has a moral weight to it that we take into consideration when we're having these debates." For those in the mushy middle on abortion, hearing a president—even one who identifies as pro-choice—question the morality of abortion might scare them away from Planned Parenthood benefits.

Pro-choice and pro-life activists have competing theories of their own about why Gen Y in particular is tilting away from choice. Ten years ago, only 15 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds believed abortion should be illegal in all circumstances. Now 23 percent of Americans in that age range want to outlaw abortion. Some pro-choicers attribute the shift to abstinence-only sex education. Aimee R. Thorne-Thomsen, former executive director of the Pro-Choice Public Education Project, says she is skeptical of the Gallup numbers, but adds that twentysomethings have "grown up under a political system that demonized sexuality. Their consciousness has been under abstinence-only, promotion-of-marriage initiatives, so it's a very narrowly based idea of appropriate behavior." Which, for more young people in their 20s, does not include abortion.

Alternatively, the young pro-life activists I spoke to wonder if they have more support because of improved ultrasound technology. "My generation has seen ultrasound photos of ourselves and our siblings," Kelsey Hazzard, the president of secularprolife.org, says, "so it's sort of hard to put the 'fetuses are just a clump of tissues' line past us."

The notion that more and more Americans are embracing the pro-life label is pretty terrifying for pro-choicers.


The terrifying specter of human life.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 17, 2010 7:37 PM
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