Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Another poll shows pro-life trend; Obama a poor pro-choice defender

A new Pew Research Center poll shows a continuing trend toward the pro-life position among Americans. This, at a time when Congress and the president are trying to push through a massive expansion of abortion via health care reform legislation.

Says NRLC's Doug Johnson: "The proposed new pro-abortion programs are badly out of sync with public opinion, which is why Congressional Democratic leaders and President Obama are trying to smuggle them into law behind smokescreens of contrived language and outright misrepresentations."

Dr. Michael New, who studies abortion trends, says this about the new poll:
Many pundits state that this increase in pro-life sentiment is due to the fact that we now have a president who supports legal abortion. There is probably some truth to this. President Obama has certainly galavanized opponents of abortion. His actions — coupled with the negative publicity generated by pro-life groups — has probably led some people with conflicting views on the issue to self-identify as pro-life.

However, an overlooked reason for this shift in public opinion is because the most visible pro-choice elected official in America is really not a very articulate proponent of abortion rights. When asked about sanctity-of-life issues, President Obama almost never defends legal abortion. Instead, President Obama seems a little dodgy and somewhat evasive. He often mentions the need to find common ground and expresses an interest in trying to reduce the abortion rate. Now on the policy side, he has done nothing to offer much encouragement to pro-lifers. However, President Obama's unwillingness to make a solid case for legal abortion is likely weakening pro-choice sentiment.
Being able to persuasively articulate your view and refute objections really does make a difference, especially when you have the platform President Obama does. Fortunately, he's not very good at it.