A new Gallup Poll, conducted May 7-10, finds 51% of Americans calling themselves "pro-life" on the issue of abortion and 42% "pro-choice." This is the first time a majority of U.S. adults have identified themselves as pro-life since Gallup began asking this question in 1995. The new results, obtained from Gallup's annual Values and Beliefs survey, represent a significant shift from a year ago, when 50% were pro-choice and 44% pro-life. Prior to now, the highest percentage identifying as pro-life was 46%, in both August 2001 and May 2002.
A year ago, Gallup found more women calling themselves pro-choice than pro-life, by 50% to 43%, while men were more closely divided: 49% pro-choice, 46% pro-life. Now, because of heightened pro-life sentiment among both groups, women as well as men are more likely to be pro-life. Now nearly half, 49%, of women are pro-life, only 44% are pro-choice.
Men and women have been evenly divided on the issue in previous years; however, this is the first time in nine years of Gallup Values surveys that significantly more men and women are pro-life than pro-choice.
How did feminists lose the debate on Abortion? I think they failed to recognize the moral complexities involved in abortion, making it only an issue of a women's choice, with no recognition of another life involved. Even most women do not reduce abortion to just the women's choice. There is another life involved, and abortion is KILLING a human life.
As an atheist, humanist, and yes a feminist, I support the legal right of women to end a pregnancy under some circumstances, but even I cannot ignore the moral cost of abortion in all circumstances. I oppose the right-wing attempts to make all abortions illegal. It is essential that women have the legal right, and the ability, to end pregnancies when it affects their health and well-being.
However, the argument for keeping abortion legal and safe cannot ignore the moral issue of the life of the fetus. Like most liberals and progressives, I consider myself "pro-life" in the sense that I think it is a moral imperative to support life in all situations. I oppose war and the death penalty (why aren't the "pro-life" Catholics and religious groups protesting those??)
I don't have all the answers, politically or morally, but there is something wrong with the mainstream liberal feminist approach to abortion that has failed to address the moral issues involved in abortion. They have tried to ignore completely that abortion is taking a life, and by not wanting to face that issue head on, they are losing the moral and political debate on abortion, even among women.
LET ME REITERATE--I support women's reproductive rights, including abortion. I have been in protests supporting abortion rights, and have escorted women at abortion clinics. I'm concerned about how to make a more effective moral and political argument to keep abortion legal. Abortion cannot be simplified as just the right of the fetus vs. the right of women to choose. We have to find a way to change the debate.
UPDATE: Good discussion in the comments section on this.. I'm re-evaluating my argument/view on this...