THE U.S. Supreme Court's rulings on gay marriage issues left liberals jubilant and proclaiming that conservative critics of gay marriage are out of step with modern life. Yet those same liberals are often unflinching supporters of abortion on demand, a position strongly rejected by the broad public.
Consider the liberal response to a Texas filibuster of abortion restrictions. Legislation has been introduced in Texas to ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, require doctors at abortion clinics to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles, and require that abortions be performed at surgical centers. Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, spent much of a day filibustering the bill. For her efforts, Davis has gotten fawning coverage from outlets such as MSNBC and an approving tweet from President Barack Obama. But polling shows the ban on late-term abortions is popular.
A late 2012 Gallup poll found that 64 percent of Americans believe abortion should be illegal in the second trimester; 80 percent support a ban in the final three months of pregnancy. Gallup has found this pattern each time those questions have been asked since 1996.
A new national United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll found 53 percent of independents and 52 percent of those age 18 to 29 support specifically banning abortion after 20 weeks, as do half of women. A recent University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll found 62 percent of voters in that state support prohibiting abortions after 20 weeks. Nearly half said they would strongly support such prohibitions.
In short, there's strong, broad support for restricting abortion after the first trimester. This view is held by independents, young voters and women — the groups that liberals claim are rejecting conservatives over social issues. If this is rejection, then what does it look like when people agree with you?
There are many reasons for changing abortion attitudes. The most notable has been the advance of science, particularly highly detailed ultrasounds and the increased viability of premature babies. In 2011, a German woman gave birth to twins after only 21 weeks and five days of pregnancy. One child died, but the other, weighing only 1 pound at birth, survived. When the little girl was eventually sent home, weighing 7.7 pounds, it was predicted she would develop normally.
On the other hand, abortion providers have often exceeded even the wildest caricatures. Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell has been sentenced to life in prison for killing three babies born alive at his clinic. He cut the newborns' spines. Gosnell was also accused of causing one patient's death via overdose, and is accused of flooding the streets with more than 700,000 oxycodone or OxyContin pills.
Abortion-rights supporters claim Gosnell is an outlier, but similar cases have been identified in other states. In Texas, Dr. Douglas Karpen of Houston is under investigation for performing illegal late-term abortions.
Yet much of the political left still insists abortion should be an any time, anywhere, for any reason proposition. This zealotry is starkly at odds with the views of the broad spectrum of the American public. Unlike past generations, people today can literally see that what was once derided as a mere “clump of cells” looks exactly like a full-term baby, only smaller. Faced with relying on their firsthand experience or embracing liberals' willful blindness to decades of medical progress, Americans are choosing the former.