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Is America Becoming More Pro-Life?

Much hay has been made of late over what appear to be significant gains made by the pro-life movement in the ongoing culture wars. Reports over the past year have hinted at a shift in American attitudes regarding the polarizing topic of abortion: American attitudes appear to be trending away from the pro-abortion pole and toward the pro-life pole.

Early this year, Russell Shaw wrote in Our Sunday Visitor of the “significantly re-energized pro-life movement,” noting that “last year alone 52 new restrictions on abortion were adopted in 24 states” (Jan. 15). Shaw cited Fred Barnes, executive editor of The Weekly Standard, who hailed “the resurgence of the pro-life crusade,” and offered the “growth of refuges for pregnant but unmarried women,” the “rise in opposition to abortion among young people,” and the “rejuvenation of old pro-life groups and the sprouting of new ones” as evidence for his enthusiasm (Nov. 7, 2011).

Then, to the delight of many, a Gallup report was released this May that seemed to confirm — and quantify — the pro-life movement’s positive momentum. Entering the summer’s presidential campaign season, confidence among pro-lifers was peaking, and the pro-choicers were put on the defensive.

The most widely reported aspect of the Gallup report was that more Americans now identify as “pro-life” than “pro-choice.” A full 50 percent of the respondents to the Gallup survey claim to be pro-life — a five percent increase over the 2008 figure. Furthermore, only 41 percent of respondents consider themselves pro-choice — an eight percent drop since 2008. Oddly, 2008 was the year that America elected Barack Obama, the man now known in pro-life circles as “the most pro-abortion President in U.S. history.” Has his administration’s abortion advocacy caused a backlash among the citizenry? We’ll find out come November.

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