A recent Gallup poll has some interesting findings regarding the shifting landscape of the Pro-Life movement in the United States. A hefty 48% of respondents identified as Pro-Life, with an equal amount siding with Pro-Choice. When compared to historical data, this latest batch of information is quite telling about the direction of the movement.
While a 48% Pro-Choice stance may seem disappointing to those in favor of life, this tied vote (four percent not identifying with either side) actually illustrates progress for Pro-Life Americans, especially in a world where most Western nations have totally accepted the practice of abortions. According to The National Review, Pro-Choice beat out Pro-Life in eighteen consecutive polls between 1995 and 2008. Since 2009, though, Pro-Life has won out six times, equal with the Pro-Choice camp. This is the second tie between the two, since 2009.
Further questions illustrate more details about Americans’ feelings towards the issue. 29% of respondents say that abortion should be legal under any circumstance. This number has remained consistent since 2015, and remains high in a historical lens, though far from the 1990s, when this trend leapt over 30%. Only 18% of respondents say that it should be illegal in all circumstances, demonstrating a key difference from viewing abortion as immoral, versus whether or not it should be illegal. In this case, 48% say that abortion is morally wrong, as opposed to 43% who say that it is morally acceptable.
60% of voters said that abortion should be legal in the first three months of pregnancy, a record low since the question was introduced in 1996. This percentage drops to 28% who think that it should be legal in the second three months. Finally, only 13% think that it should be legal in the last three months.
According to The National Review, women remain more polarized on the issue, with women more likely to say that abortion should be both legal and illegal in all circumstances. Nevertheless, this year’s data has overcome great challenges, as the United States serves as a beacon of hope to the unborn. The entire set of data can be found here.
On July 9, President Donald Trump announced his nominee to fill the vacant Supreme Court Justice slot. Brett Kavanaugh was selected from a pool of twenty-five conservative options, a list that had been narrowed down to four candidates in the last week before the announcement.
Kavanaugh has over twelve years of experience as a judge, issuing approximately 300 opinions, according to Fox News. Appointed to the federal appeals court by President George W. Bush, Kavanaugh is well-known for his dedication and admiration of the U.S. Constitution. Addressing an audience of senators and public officials, he highlighted his “reverence” for the document that the Supreme Court is tasked with upholding.
Supreme Court judges generally fall into three different philosophies. Constitutionalists believe in judging cases strictly as the Founding Fathers would have commanded them to. Precedence means that decisions should be made in reference to past cases. Finally, pragmatism is the philosophy that judges should use their own convictions and apply them to the law. Kavanaugh has exhibited strong constitutionalist qualities, with an additional respect for precedence. This yields interesting results when analyzing his stances on abortion.
The Constitution does not explicitly mention abortion, obviously, making this hot-button issue often more difficult for constitutionalists to deal with. When asked about Roe v. Wade in 2006, Kavanaugh stated that he would respect the precedent set by the ruling but refused to state a personal opinion. His relative silence on the issue has worried some Pro-Life supporters, though others have theorized that he has dodged the subject to ensure swift confirmation.
Last October, Kavanaugh commented on his first major case involving the right to life in October 2017, when an undocumented immigrant teenager in U.S. custody sought an abortion. Though the appeals court involved ultimately supported the young woman’s decision, Kavanaugh dissented, insisting that she had no such right. While Pro-Life activists applauded this decision, others were quick to say that his decision emphasized the rights of immigrants, rather than the right to life.
In the coming weeks, a spotlight will be shed surrounding the history of Kavanaugh’s decisions and convictions. Undoubtedly, the media will report on the judge with increasing scrutiny, as the deadline to confirm him looms closer. Until then, it is important for Pro-Life supporters to avail themselves of resources to learn more about this potential Supreme Court Justice.
As the United States of America celebrates its independence this week, it is important to reflect on the progress that our nation has made in our quest to protect the sanctity of all life. Additionally, it is in our best interest to analyze the journey ahead, especially as the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court nominee looms ahead. 2018 has proven quite eventful for the Pro-Life movement, giving us much reason to celebrate, and we expect many great changes to come before our next Independence Day.
February marked a key month for the Pro-Life movement, as President Donald Trump was the first sitting president to attend the Washington, D.C. March for Life. Joining him was Vice President Mike Pence, as well as Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. All key politicians delivered addresses in support of the cause, as a massive number of participants marched in support of life.
In May, President Trump attended the Susan B. Anthony List annual gala. The organization is well-known for its defense of life campaigns, as well as its support and endorsement of Pro-Life politicians. At the fundraiser, he announced his commitment to halt taxpayer funding of abortions in the Title X mandate, which notoriously provides money to organizations like Planned Parenthood. Later that month, Iowa passed a heartbeat law that protects fetuses with detectable heartbeats. More information on this momentous decision can be read here.
June marked a significant victory for hospitals in California, as the Supreme Court narrowly deemed it unconstitutional for the government to force pregnancy centers to list abortion clinics for women. There is no doubt that the court’s most recent addition, Justice Gorsuch, was integral to this 5-4 ruling.
President Trump has announced his nomination for Justice Kennedy’s replacement, Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Judge Kavanaugh sat on the D.C. Circuit Court. And as midterm elections approach, it is now more important than ever for the momentum of the 2016 elections to carry over to Congress, as we await legislation for more permanent guarantees to life. Additionally, several states continue to battle decisions made by the Trump Administration and the Supreme Court, so it is important for Americans to remain aware and vigilant of developments in the fight for life. So far, this year has brought many positive developments for the right to life, but these next few months could prove integral to the cause, but it is even more important for the Pro-Life community to stay committed to the movement for the remainder of the year.
On January 19, hundreds of thousands of Pro-Life supporters gathered in Washington, D.C. to attend the March for Life annual event. The participants varied greatly in background and faith but were united under the central cause of eliminating abortion. The event had a significant backing from Christian groups, yet it is important to recognize the diverse array of religions that were in attendance, reflecting the broad base that the movement is welcome to expanding.
The presence of varied religious groups at the March for Life is evidence that pro-life is not beholden to any one religion. In fact, many religions have a moral position on life emphasizing the importance of respecting humanity from conception to natural death. The religions which have a moral position on life seem to sit on opposite ends of the spectrum and yet, the religions are united by their obligation to protect life.
A 2014 Ramussen Reports poll reported that over 71% of Evangelical Christians and 56% of Catholics identified as Pro-Life. This demonstrates Christianity’s great sway and consistent influence over believers, who are often found at the forefront of the cause. Pope Francis once stated, “It is necessary to reaffirm our solid opposition to any direct offense against life, especially when innocent and defenseless, and the unborn child in its mother’s womb is the quintessence of innocence.” Chocked with high-profile preachers and priests, Christianity has proved integral towards the sustenance of the Pro-Life movement.
The Washington D.C. annual March for Life website acknowledges the contributions of the Jewish community, as Cecily Routman, founder of the Jewish Pro-Life Foundation, alludes to a dire Gallup poll from 2016, where it was estimated that 76% of
Jews believed that abortion was “morally acceptable.” Routman has been working to reverse this trend, citing the Jewish scriptures as the basis of the Foundation’s mission, writing, “In Deuteronomy 30:19, our Heavenly Father clearly declares, ‘I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before thee life and death, the blessing and the curse; therefore, choose life, that thou mayest live, thou and thy seed.’ Routman seeks to engage the broader Jewish community in this effort and is looking to expand the faith’s involvement in Pro-Life matters.
The Islamic religion and its Pro-Life endeavors in America is small but growing. Ismail Royer is an American Muslim, who enjoyed participating in the March for Life in D.C. He has also begun reaching out to Christian leaders of the movement in an effort to increase Islamic engagement with the cause. In an article for The Washington Post, he states, “If our faith communities can find the strength and courage to reconcile, our witness can serve to help heal the country as a whole.” His core message in the article is a call for Muslims to work with their Pro-Life counterparts on a variety of issues, and he delivers a renewed request for acceptance and support from majority groups across the country.
The BBC has followed the Hindu view of Pro-Life, describing, “Traditional Hinduism and many modern Hindus also see abortion as a breach of the duty to produce children in order to continue the family and produce new members of society.” The Puranas, a sacred text of Hinduism, read, “Killing a Kshatriya [knight] or a Vaishya [Merchant] engaged in sacrifice, a menstruating woman, a pregnant woman…[and]..the embryo of a stranger is tantamount to killing a Brahmin [Priest].” Due to the urgency and commanding nature of such quotes, several Hindi have found themselves entering the Pro-Life camp, in support of such teachings.
Damien Keown, an expert on Buddhist bioethics at the University of London, remarks, “Buddhism believes in rebirth and teaches that individual human life begins at conception. The new being, bearing the karmic identity of a recently deceased individual, is therefore as entitled to the same moral respect as an adult human being.” With this understanding of the fetus retaining its own ability to participate in reincarnation, it also is protected by the first precept of Buddhism, which is “you must abstain from taking life.”
“All religions try to benefit people, with the same basic message of the need for love and compassion, for justice and honesty, for contentment.” The Dalai Lama’s wise words retain particular relevance to the United States, which prides itself in its diverse collection of faiths. However, the nation’s overwhelming number of Christians, ranging from about 70% of citizens, according to Pew Research, means that we often neglect the Pro-Life narrative of other faiths.
Echoing the Dalai Lama’s outlook on other religions, it is important for a greater understanding of all beliefs, as well as an appreciation for how they contribute to the cause of saving lives. Being Pro-Life does not belong to any belief system or denomination, rather it is an idea for all religions to contribute towards and participate in.
President Trump is considering a series of actions that would significantly cripple Planned Parenthood, following through his commitment to protecting the unborn. While the President had stated his interest in aiding the Pro-Life movement at events such as the Washington, D.C. March for Life, he did not mention specific strategies for accomplishing his goal. This time, the President has a plan.
Title X, also known as the “Family Planning Program,” provides families, especially those of low-income background, with health services and resources. While abortion does not fall under the programs that Title X supports, Planned Parenthood still receives over $50 million a year from it, according to LifeSitenews. This is because the organization is listed as a family and health program, and claims to use the money for non-abortion services. Under President Ronald Reagan, Title X was barred from groups that promoted abortions. However, the Clinton administration eagerly overturned Reagan’s mandate. Thus, President Trump seeks to return to the Reagan-era restrictions.
Specifically, the President seeks to focus on the separation of Title X funds from practices that harm the unborn. Since the Clinton administration, Pro-Choice groups have not been not required to strictly report their spending of government money, which has enabled Planned Parenthood and its associates to funnel federal money to its abortion clinics. According to the National Review, under Trump’s restrictions, Planned Parenthood would be forced to financially separate its Title X operations from any activities involving abortions. However, since Planned Parenthood’s abortion services are integral to its finances, some analysts claim that it would be impossible, or at least extremely difficult, to meet this separation. If Planned Parenthood refuses to comply, it will be denied its funding from Title X.
Critics claim that this decision will severely inhibit access to women’s health care, as Planned Parenthood provides services that lie outside the boundaries of abortions. However, the Trump administration stated that “non-abortion” health centers greatly outnumber their counterparts at Planned Parenthood by more than 20 to 1, assuring families that they will still have ample access to a wide array of providers. Additionally, many opponents of Planned Parenthood believe that the group’s alleged allocation of Title X funds to abortions are a misuse of tax dollars that are meant to be spent on tackling illnesses and health issues.
The Trump administration has not spared words when opposing the misdeeds and moral crimes of Planned Parenthood and similar organizations. Now it seems that the President is closer to taking action against such groups, though it is also up to voters to support and pressure the White House to follow through with its words.