Most Americans would favor sweeping new national restrictions on abortion after the 20th week of pregnancy, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll. But the poll also shows many Americans remain conflicted in their views on abortion.
By a margin of 59 percent to 30 percent, respondents to the new poll said they would favor a federal law banning abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
A recent United Technologies/National Journal poll found Americans divided over the possible ban, with a narrower plurality of 48 percent to 44 percent supporting it.
Respondents to the HuffPost/YouGov poll were split in their views on whether abortion should usually be legal or illegal, with a large number falling somewhere in the middle — a finding consistent with other surveys. Nineteen percent said they think abortion should always be legal, while 27 percent said it should be generally legal, but with some restrictions. Another 17 percent said that abortion should always be illegal, while 30 percent said it should be generally illegal, except in special circumstances.
In case you didn’t catch it, that was “we’ll give you the bad news first, then the slightly not-as-bad news to soften the blow” approach to “journalism.”
Gosnell and the others exposed by groups like Live Action are drawing attention to the horrors of late term abortion and the logical impossibility of separating what Gosnell did to living, breathing newborns who survived abortion from what abortion doctors are doing every day, all over the country.
This cognitive dissonance is something even Planned Parenthood can’t explain. Cecile Richards, the organization’s president, was asked by the Weekly Standard to explain the difference between Gosnell and a run-of-the-mill late term abortion.
THE WEEKLY STANDARD: [Supporters of late-term abortion bans] say there’s not much of a difference between what Kermit Gosnell did outside the womb to a baby at 23 weeks and a legal late-term abortion [performed] at 23 weeks on that same baby. What is the difference between those two?
CECILE RICHARDS: I mean he was a criminal. And he’s now going to jail. As I think you heard Senator Franken say and many women who have written about their own personal stories, it is very rare for a woman to need to terminate a pregnancy after 20 weeks. And quite often it’s stories like one we heard today where there is the decision of the doctor that this is the best way, the best for a woman. And the problem is when you have politicians begin to play doctor and make decisions about women’s medical care. They aren’t in that woman’s situation.
TWS: But there has been research out of, I think, University of California-San Francisco about non-medical late-term abortions. These things do happen, even if they’re a small number. I’m talking about that specific area. I mean if there were broader exceptions, would you–
AIDE TO CECILE RICHARDS: I know you’re in a rush, so I can follow up to get you some more information.
TWS: Are there any legal limits you do support on abortion, Ms. Richards?
Though there was plenty of time for Richards to answer the questions as she walked toward a U.S. Senate office building, she remained silent after her aide tried to cut off questioning.
This is what a losing battle looks like, folks. Oh, the road to victory is long, and I expect it may get worse before it gets better — we have a government that couldn’t care less about the consent of the governed after all — but the American people are, I hope, finally waking up. When people begin really pushing back on late term abortions, it’s going to be a lot easier to impose restrictions and enhance the definitions of personhood. With the ongoing advances in medical technology and the occasional success of ultrasound-before-abortion legislation, science is going to have nothing to offer the baby bloodlust crowd. They’re going to have to stand on their Mengelean defenses of how sometimes, hey, you just have to cut up a baby for the common good. (Yes, such defenses exist in the public sphere, though they aren’t really warming up the abortion lobby’s PR arm.)
The other approach is going to be to demonize pro-lifers. “You only care about a baby before it’s born! What about after?!?!” On that front, there’s a fantastic story out of my local area in Virginia this week that is proof positive that this argument is as vacuous as it sounds.
Fr. Thomas Vander Woude, pastor of Holy Trinity parish in Gainesville, VA (where my family and I occasionally attend the 12:30PM Extraordinary Form on Sundays) got a call this week. He immediately took to the parish’s Facebook page, and the announcement subsequently went out on local homeschool email lists:
“There is a couple in another state who have contacted an adoption agency looking for a family to adopt their Down Syndrome unborn baby. If a couple has not been found by today they plan to abort the baby. If you are interested in adopting this baby please contact Fr. VW IMMEDIATELY,”
What happened? ABC News reports:
A Virginia church says it has received hundreds of calls from people around the world offering to adopt an unborn child with Down Syndrome who would have otherwise been aborted.
“I came in Monday morning and the phones were ringing off the hook. We got calls from Puerto Rico, Canada, the Netherlands. There were calls from all over the United States,” Drennan said.
An adoption agency has narrowed down the hundreds of families to three, Drennan said, and are working with the birth parents to determine the best home for the child.
“Our culture says some babies aren’t wanted and that is not true. This proves there are hundreds of families,” Drennan said. It was so fast and from all over. It’s a beautiful use of social media that something like this could spread all over the US.”
Hundreds of families willing to change their entire lives to save a Down’s Syndrome baby — which are aborted in the vast majority of cases — on just a few hours’ notice? Sounds like there are a lot of people who care to me.
What isn’t being reported anywhere that I’ve seen is Fr. Vander Woude’s own personal connection to this story. In 2008, Fr. Vander Woude’s own father died to save his son – who had Down’s Syndrome. From the Washington Post:
If you ever ran into Nokesville dad Thomas S. Vander Woude, chances are you would also see his son Joseph. Whether Vander Woude was volunteering at church, coaching basketball or working on his farm, Joseph was often right there with him, pitching in with a smile, friends and neighbors said yesterday.
When Joseph, 20, who has Down syndrome, fell into a septic tank Monday in his back yard, Vander Woude jumped in after him. He saved him. And he died where he spent so much time living: at his son’s side.
“That’s how he lived,” Vander Woude’s daughter-in-law and neighbor, Maryan Vander Woude, said yesterday. “He lived sacrificing his life, everything, for his family.”
Vander Woude, 66, had gone to Mass at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Gainesville on Monday, just as he did every day, and then worked in the yard with Joseph, the youngest of his seven sons, affectionately known as Josie. Joseph apparently fell through a piece of metal that covered a 2-by-2-foot opening in the septic tank, according to Prince William County police and family members.Vander Woude rushed to the tank; a workman at the house saw what was happening and told Vander Woude’s wife, Mary Ellen, police said. They called 911 about 12 p.m. and tried to help the father and son in the meantime.
At some point, Vander Woude jumped in the tank, submerging himself in sewage so he could push his son up from below and keep his head above the muck, while Joseph’s mom and the workman pulled from above.
When rescue workers arrived, they pulled the two out, police said. Vander Woude, who had been in the tank for 15 to 20 minutes, was unconscious. Efforts to revive him were unsuccessful, and he was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead, police said.
This is the other thing that the pro-life cause has that will help turn the tide: heroes. The heroic people who pray at abortion clinics and save young women from making the worst decision of their lives. The heroic legislators who fight to pass laws restricting abortion, no matter how much political capital it may cost them. The heroic families willing to take on a down’s syndrome baby on zero notice just to save a life, many of whom already have no few children of their own. The heroic priest who arranged to make this happen and found a solution with no time to do it. His heroic father, who died in an unimaginable way to save his own Down’s Syndrome child.
Show me the heroes of the abortion movement. Show me their selflessness. Show me the sacrifices they’ve made. Show me what they’ve done to inspire conversion, dedication, or love.
Victory is inevitable. We are on a slow, excruciating crawl toward victory. But it is progress nonetheless. I’m proud to be on the winning side.
Keep praying. Keep fighting.