NRL News

Analysis misses where public opinion is on abortion while painting glowing picture of Cecile Richards

by | Feb 7, 2018

By Dave Andrusko

The headline to the story “Americans Haven’t Changed Their Mind Much On Abortion, But They Have On Other ‘Cultural’ Issues” is both accurate and very misleading.

While Clare Malone’s headline is true enough —opinion has changed much more on other “social issues” than it has on abortion—she leaves a misleading impression about just how much abortion opinion has changed and, more importantly, from what base.

Besides, the piece, in fact, is a bon-bon offered up to outgoing Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards.

But first the shift in the public’s opinion on abortion. Quoting data from Pew, Malone writes

In 2000, while 43 percent thought it should be illegal in all or most cases. In 2017, support for legalized abortion had ticked up to 57 percent, and opposition had ticked down to 40 percent. Those numbers reflect gradual shifts, far from the seismic changes we’ve seen on other cultural issues.

What to say? I searched and searched but couldn’t find data for Gallup (which did and does more in-depth polling) for 2000. But for 2003 I found this from a story in the May issue of NRL News:

When asked, a total of 61% of respondents said abortion should be legal in only a few circumstances (42%) or illegal in all circumstances (19%).

Notice in Gallup’s polling, we did not see that “53 percent thought abortion should be legal in all or most cases,” as Pew did, but that 61% who said abortion should be illegal in all or only a few circumstances.

Big difference! What change do we find in Gallup?

In June 2017, Gallup’s Lydia Said found that 54% were

saying abortion should be illegal or legal in only a few circumstances. Slightly fewer, 42%, want access to abortion to be unrestricted or legal in most circumstances.”

So Malone is correct that there ‘s been a slight shift but misses the entire point: a majority then and now would make abortion legal in only a few circumstance or none at all!

Just a few words about the encomiums Malone throws Richards’s way. Richards’s genius was to filibuster her way through congressional hearings in which she deflected the most determined inquiries into her organizations involvement in trafficking in fetal tissue and organs.

So it is true that last fall Richards did for the moment fend off investigations into exactly what some of her affiliates were doing with those who harvested the organs and passed them along to “researchers.”

But as we have noted on a number of occasions, the Department of Justice is, at long last, looking into some of the information Congress unearthed. Over time, once we get past all the money PPFA’s political arms raised trying to elect pro-abortion candidates, we’ll see how glowing is Richards’s ”legacy.”

Categories: Polling