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Despite What the GOP Wants You to Believe, Choice Is More Popular than Ever

Despite What the GOP Wants You to Believe, Choice Is More Popular than Ever

There’s no question that abortion rights have been under attack since Republicans gained power in the 2010 midterm elections. From the state level to the federal, Republicans have launched a spirited and largely successful bid to roll back abortion rights for women, at least at the state level, while bragging about their goals nationally.

One might think that the GOP had broad support for these goals. But like their other positions, from the economy to LGBT rights to immigration, it turns out that the GOP is swimming against the tide. Indeed, Republicans may be at least partly responsible for a surge in support for choice. On Roe v. Wade‘s 40th anniversary, abortion rights enjoy more support than ever.

54 percent of American adults support abortion rights in all or most cases, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. What’s more, fully 70 percent of adults oppose overturning Roe, with only 24 percent of Americans supporting an end to protection for abortion rights.

This is the highest level of support for abortion rights since polling began in 1989, during the Planned Parenthood v. Casey hearing at the Supreme Court. Support was sharply up among Democrats, Latinos and college-educated women, and even Republicans showed a slight uptick in support.

Certainly, some credit goes to pro-choice groups, who have spent the last two years battling one crisis after another, as Republican-controlled legislatures passed a series of anti-choice laws. But no small amount of credit must go to the Republicans themselves, who have been almost cartoonishly evil in prosecuting the anti-choice fight.

Certainly, statements by Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock during the campaign were not helpful — women do not appreciate being told that they should simply accept pregnancy of a consequence of rape, nor that a rape that results in pregnancy is proof that rape wasn’t “legitimate.” While those statements hurt, they hurt precisely because the Republican Party has adopted a hard line on abortion — Akin’s phrasing was just a hash of an anti-abortion law sponsored by GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, which would eliminate funding for care for women who are not victims of “forcible” rape.

Moreover, many of the regulations that have passed in the name of ending abortion have been awful in and of themselves. The “vaginal probe” law, which passed in Texas and nearly passed in Virginia, added a level of indignity to the abortion process that outraged even moderates on the abortion issue. Republicans’ continued use of regulations to try to shut down abortion clinics also made it clear that they were doing precisely what they claimed to oppose — using the power of the government to restrict and regulate behavior.

Of course, there’s one other, simple reason the anti-choice side is losing support: it’s identified with the Republican Party. While Republicans have been awful spokesmen for opposition to abortion (I’d use spokespeople, but let’s face it…), simply by being associated with Republicans is bad for those who oppose abortion. When someone’s wrong on pretty much everything, it makes you question yourself when you agree with them.

While support for abortion rights is strong, that doesn’t mean that all is well so long as Roe is law. Ask any pro-choice activist, and they can rattle off a dozen places where basic access to abortion is under full assault. Still, it appears that after two generations, a significant majority of Americans has accepted that abortion rights are here to stay, and a solid majority think that’s a good thing. Once again, the GOP is on the wrong side of history.

 

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Photo: infomatique/flickr

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78 comments

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3:03AM PST on Jan 30, 2013

It's a very complex issue, and there will always be two sides to the story.

8:40PM PST on Jan 28, 2013

let's not go backwards.

6:00PM PST on Jan 26, 2013

I believe that an individual's choice can certainly be pro-life, yet still respect another individual's right to be pro-choice. It's just as ludicrous to believe you can force a woman to remain pregnant anymore than you can force a woman to have an abortion.

8:21PM PST on Jan 25, 2013

The Republican Party doesn't really care what the majority thinks - only what their base and their donors think.

They are now trying to figure out whether just telling Republican candidates to zip their lips about birth control and rape will be enough to help them win. Problem is people are starting to notice what the Repubs actually do when they get elected.

10:32AM PST on Jan 24, 2013

Republicans are so out of touch with reality, there is no doubt in my mind the party will die off the way of the Wig party, they won't survive. RECALL ALL REPUBLICANS!

6:52AM PST on Jan 24, 2013

BIG FAT GREEN STARS to John H!

Those hypocrites you mentioned have caused MY teeth to grit on many occasions. John McCain USED TO BE a reasonable man. Now, he's just another Republican puppet.

10:33PM PST on Jan 23, 2013

Congress(idiotes Tea Party Republican'ts) have absolute no right to dictate to anyone how to live. Especially since they support the NRA which is all about personal freedoms(at all costs).

10:09PM PST on Jan 23, 2013

The terms Hypocrite and Republican have become synonymous for me. Having attained the age of 63 I have thus far managed to get here without hating anyone. That has changed. I find, to my amazement, that my pulse rate spirals up dramatically, my blood pressure rises, I’ve checked it, and my hands, of their own accord clinch into a parody of the hands of someone strangling another and I am filled with raw unadulterated hate every time Boehner, McConnell, McCain and their minions appear on the TV. They needn’t be pontificating on abortion or anything in particular; hell they don’t even have to open their mouths any longer it is as if I had been subjected to conditioned response training like Pavlov’s dogs. Strangely there was a time when I admired John McCain greatly but he has become a curmudgeonly bitter old fool. And this all stems from their “War on Women” and what they did to my country under Bush43. I most sincerely hope I live long enough to see their party lose all viability.

5:19PM PST on Jan 23, 2013

Bill E - Well, I can remember Eisenhower, for one. Even Nixon, as evil as he was, was almost progressive and espoused social causes, compared to the jingoists in the GOP, now.

5:00PM PST on Jan 23, 2013

A woman has a right to her own body. I really don't think that us men should have a voice in this.

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