By Hilary White
LODA, Illinois, June 25, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) -" A study by a private opinion research firm has shown that since the height of the "abortion wars" in the 1980's and 90's, public opinion in the US has made dramatic changes towards the pro-life position.
Christopher Blunt, co-author of the study and founder of Overbrook Research, wrote that the analysis shows a complete turnaround in the support for abortion in the last fifteen years. The study, Turnaround on Abortion, cites the debate over partial birth abortion and the move towards a less confrontational approach as one reason for a "dramatic" change in the political climate surrounding abortion.
The study examines changes in pro-life/pro-choice self-identification using 30,000 survey interviews from Missouri from 1992-2006. Percentages of abortion support among US voters, the study showed, have inverted. Respondents were asked: "On the debate over abortion policy, do you consider yourself to be pro-life, pro-choice, or somewhere in between?"
The study's authors write, "In 1992 . . . fewer than one-third (30%) of Missouri voters called themselves pro-life, with just 26% admitting to be strongly pro-life. By contrast, 43% called themselves pro-choice, with 34% describing themselves as strongly pro-choice. In other words, there were more strong pro-choice advocates than total pro-lifers."
Since then the data shows that pro-life self-identification has grown to 41% with 30% identifying as "pro-choice." "In other words," writes Blunt, "the turnaround has been nearly complete."
Of particular interest is a shift among the various demographic groups. In 1992, young women were the most strongly pro-abortion. "Now," Blunt says, "they are the most strongly pro-life." Voters who rarely or never attend church services, and those with post-graduate degrees, also overwhelmingly self-identifying as "pro-choice" in 1992, had largely shifted away from abortion support by 2006.
The authors speculate that in addition to the prominence of the partial birth abortion debate, the reason for the turn-around is, paradoxically, the Clinton administration's Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act. The authors suggest that the Act shifted the emphasis away from confrontational politics and blockades, to peaceful prayer vigils and sidewalk counseling.
As grisly details of partial-birth abortion procedures replaced confrontational (and often violent) clinic protests on the evening news, voters seemed to have changed their minds about who the "abortion extremists" were.
Read the study, Turnaround on Abortion:
"In Cordibus Jesu et Mariae"