Monday, June 25, 2007

Pro-Life Position Showing Steady Rise Among US Voters

By Hilary White

LODA, Illinois, June 25, 2007 ( -€" A study by a private opinion research firm has shown that since the height of the "€œabortion 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: "œOn the debate over abortion policy, do you consider yourself to be pro-life, pro-choice, or somewhere in between?"€

The study'€™s authors write, "€œIn 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 "€œpro-choice."€ "€œIn other words,"€ writes Blunt, "€œthe 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. "€œNow,"€ Blunt says, "€œthey 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 "œpro-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.

€œAs 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"