Thursday, November 19, 2009


I was gonna put up a tweet noting that the controversial issue of government paying indirectly for abortion is much less controversial, in terms of popular opinion, than paying directly for killing civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq.

But it turned out this is not unequivocally true.

CBS News Poll. Nov. 13-16, 2009. N=1,167 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3.

"Which of these comes closest to your view? Abortion should be generally available to those who want it. OR, Abortion should be available, but under stricter limits than it is now. OR, Abortion should not be permitted."

Generally Available 34%
Stricter Limits 40%
Not permitted 23%
Unsure 3%

This is very depressing. It reminds me of the stories clinic workers tell of women who picket the clinic, and then one day walk inside. For an abortion.

On the one hand, three quarters of Americans think that abortion should be legal and available. It is hard to believe that the restriction that comes to mind of the 40 percent is that the procedure should not be paid for by the government. Stuff like parental notification or restrictions on third trimester abortions (which Roe itself permits) are probably what the respondents are thinking of.

But I am absolutely certain that all of that 40 percent, and a good chunk of the not permitted 23% would discover that when they or their daughter were pregnant at a time when a child would be a bad idea, for the woman and the kid, they would have the abortion.

These polling numbers spook politicians. And they lead to a distortion of public policy. The Stupak-Pitts amendment rests on these numbers. The Village thinks this is much ado about nothing because they, and their daughters don't have to worry about access to reproductive health services. So, they say, make the women who can't pay for abortion out of pocket be forced to bear a child.

No comments: