Roe V Wade At 40: Republicans More Conservative Than Ever About Abortion
- , Tuesday 22 January 2013 12.30 GMT
Forty years after Roe v Wade, the landmark supreme court decision that made legal across America, the Republican party has cast itself as more radically pro-life than ever.
We’re not just talking Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin either.
We reviewed 40 years worth of party platforms – the manifestos put out by the Republican and Democratic parties every election season to articulate their distinct vision and goals – and found that the GOP has padded their pro-life credentials more than ever in 2012, following a pronounced trajectory towards the right.Party election platforms don’t show us the whole picture of course – but they do offer us a view of how parties frame themselves. The progression of party platforms over 40 years shows that the core “party elites – the people who go to conventions and write platforms – have become more polarized,” as Georgetown University’s Clyde Wilcox, who studies abortion policy and trends in public perception, explained.
“You can just see the polarization in the intensity of language – and the voting scores in Congress,” he added.
Lack Of Platform In 2020
In 2020, the Republican Party decided not to write a platform for that presidential election cycle, instead simply expressing its support for Donald Trump‘s agenda and criticizing “the media” for biased reporting. This was cited by critics as an example of how the Republican Party “became a cult of personality“.
What Data Says About Americans’ Support Of Abortion Rights
Various polls and studies have asked Americans how they feel about abortion since the mid-1970s. Typically, these polls ask participants whether they identify as “pro-life” or “pro-choice” as well as whether they think abortion should be legal in all cases, in some/certain cases, or not at all. For this project, we honed in specifically on the legality question because, while a person can call themselves “pro-life” or “pro-choice” , that identification doesn’t always match up with what a person thinks should be law.
That being said, there is some nuance to be considered when using legality to judge how people view abortion, says Andrea Miller, president of the National Institute for Reproductive Health . “How many of us walk around in the world, thinking about, you know, the state of legality of most things?” she asks. “People think about in the context of their lives and the context of the people they know.” There is also a lot of variation in where people fall in the “legal in most/some cases” category. For example, while someone might not think abortion should be illegal outright, they might feel that there should be restrictions on who can provide abortions or where and when they can be performed. That technically puts them in the same category as someone who is generally supportive of abortion being legal but may be uncomfortable with the idea of someone getting an abortion in the third trimester.
Abortion A Factor In 2020 Vote
GOP politicians seen as more occupied by the issue than Dems
West Long Branch, NJ –One-in-three Americans rank abortion as a top issue in deciding how they willvote in the 2020 election. Democrats are more likely than Republicans to feelthis way according to the latest Monmouth University Poll. Many Americans say that Republicanpoliticians are spending too much time on the issue of abortion, at both thenational and state level, especially when compared to Democratic officeholders.
Most Americans support access to abortion, including 32% who say it should always be legal and 31% who say it should be legal with some limitations. Another 24% say abortion should be illegal except for cases of rape or incest or to save the mother’s life and 10% say abortion should be illegal in all cases. The vast majority of Democrats and most independents support general access to legal abortion, while only 41% of Republicans share this view.
“We tend to focus on anti-abortion voters as the more potent electoralbloc on this issue. But we are seeingsome evidence that voters on the other side of the spectrum could become moreactivated in 2020,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent MonmouthUniversity Polling Institute.
“Some Democrats see legal abortion as being under threat from Republicans at the state level and want their own party’s national leaders to be more engaged in this fight,” said Murray.
Key Demographics Contributing To Regional Differences
Demographically, there are few differences across the different regions. Educational attainment, gender, and age do not vary greatly across the regions. Two key demographics that differ by area are race and ethnicity and religious tradition.
White Americans are more concentrated in the Midwest than in the Northeast , South , or West . Black Americans make up higher proportions in the South than in the Northeast , Midwest , or West . Hispanic Americans are most concentrated in the West as compared to the South , Northeast , or Midwest .
White evangelical Protestants are overrepresented in the South and Midwest compared to the West and Northeast . The concentration of white evangelical Protestants helps explain why the South is more conservative on abortion than the rest of the nation, despite the higher proportion of black Americans. By contrast, white Catholics are more concentrated in the Northeast and Midwest as compared to the South and West . Hispanic Catholics are more concentrated in the West than the South , the Northeast , or the Midwest .
More Agree With Democrats Than Republicans On Abortion Policy
As debates over abortion continue in states around the country, a majority of Americans continue to say that abortion should be legal in all or most cases. A smaller share of the public says abortion should be illegal in all or most cases .
The new survey by Pew Research Center, conducted July 22-August 4 among 4,175 adults, also finds little support for overturning Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision that established a woman’s right to an abortion. Seven-in-ten say they do not want to see the Roe v. Wade decision completely overturned; 28% say they would like to see the Supreme Court completely overturn the 1973 decision.
Consistent with these views, a majority of Americans say their greater concern is that some states are making it too difficult rather than too easy for people to be able to get an abortion.
Results for this report are based on a survey conducted through Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel – a probability-based, nationally representative panel of U.S. adults administered online. Two of the questions on this survey have been included on telephone surveys in the past.
Results from self-administered and interviewer-administered surveys aresometimes different even when the questions are worded the same. This difference is called a mode effect.
Charts in the report that draw upon trend data from telephone surveys include footnotes indicating the mode of data collection. For more information about mode effects, .
Views On Abortion By Level Of Education 2021
About two-thirds of college graduates say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, as do 61% of those with some college education. Those with a high school degree or less education are more evenly divided on the question: 50% say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, while 47% say it should be illegal in all or most cases.
|Level of Education|
Pew Research Center
Note: For more information on other religious groups or state-by-state data on views about abortion, see our Religious Landscape Study. Survey conducted April 5-11, 2021. Trend lines show aggregated data from polls conducted in each year. Data from 2019 and later come from Pew Research Center’s online American Trends Panel; prior data from telephone surveys. See report for more details on changes in survey mode. Question wording can be found here, and information on the Pew Research Center’s polling methodology can be found . White, Black and Asian adults include those who report being one race and are not Hispanic. Hispanics are of any race. Asian adults interviewed in English only.
Abortion Trends By Party Identification
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The following graphs display Gallup’s full trends on U.S. views about abortion by party identification.
- The first set of graphs provide views since 1975 about the legality of abortion.
- The second set of graphs display self-identification since 1995 as “pro-choice” vs. “pro-life” on the abortion issue.
Hillary Clinton On Abortion
Hillary Clinton is a strong proponent of making abortion safe but rare. She strongly supports initiatives that will decrease the number of abortions occurring, but still wants to see it as an option where unwanted pregnancy does occur. Clinton states, “I have spent many years now, as a private citizen, as first lady, and now as senator, trying to make it rare, trying to create the conditions where women had other choices.
Both Sides Still Tried To Appeal To The Center For A While
Even after the parties began to move apart on the issue, activists on both sides tried to appeal to the center, as Mary Ziegler, a law professor at Florida State University who studies the history of the abortion debate, wrote recently at the Washington Post. In the 1990s and early 2000s, for instance, many abortion opponents devoted their energy to supporting incremental restrictions, like a ban on dilation and extraction, a technique for abortions later in pregnancy that opponents called “partial-birth abortion.” The restriction, which was eventually passed at the federal level in 2003, is far less sweeping than the “heartbeat” bills many Republican lawmakers favor today, which would ban abortions as early as six weeks.
Democrats, meanwhile, could be somewhat equivocal on abortion during this time period, with Bill Clinton during his 1992 campaign famously saying that abortions should be “safe, legal, and rare.” Hillary Clinton used the same language in her 2008 presidential campaign.
But more recently, both sides of the abortion debate have come to seek broader change. Among abortion-rights supporters, there’s been an increasing awareness of reproductive justice.The term, coined in 1994, describes an approach focused not just on the legal right to an abortion, but on safe, affordable access to a range of reproductive health care, as well as the ability to parent children safely.
Oped: Democrats Now Openly Support The Murder Of Newborns
Trump jumped on the issue: “Ithought it was terrible,” Trump said of Tran’s remarks. “Do you remember when I said Hillary Clinton was willing to rip the baby out of the womb? That’s what it is. That’s what they’re doing. It’s terrible.”
“The Democratic Party has become soextreme they are now openly supporting the murder of newborn babies,” Camille Gallo, spokeswoman for the National Republican Congressional Committee said last week after Democrats in Virginia pushed to loosen restrictions on abortions later in pregnancy.
Republican Leaders Asked The Supreme Court To End Legal Abortion They May Get Their Wish
Finally, Republicans are saying what they have always meant about abortion: They want to make it illegal for everyone all the time, full stop.
On Thursday, more than 200 Republican members of Congress filed by the anti-abortion organization Americans United for Life, asking the Supreme Court to reconsider and potentially overturn the landmark abortion rights rulings in Planned Parenthood v. Casey and Roe v. Wade. That represents fully 80 percent of congressional Republicans, and included 39 Republican senators and the three top House Republicans.
Abortion Rights Groups Break With Progressive Counterparts On Filibuster
The groups see how easy it would be for a future Republican Senate to roll back progressive policies and implement new bans.
03/26/2021 04:30 AM EDT
Abortion rights proponents are breaking with other progressive groups and sitting out the fight over abolishing the Senate filibuster, fearing the maneuver would quickly backfire on them when Republicans are back in charge of Washington.
Groups such as Planned Parenthood and NARAL know that killing the legislative filibuster could remove an obstacle to getting abortion rights legislation on the books while Democrats control the White House and both chambers of Congress for the first time in a decade. At the same time, they see how easy it would be for a future Republican Senate to roll back progressive policies and implement new bans, and they keenly recall getting burned by the GOP’s similar rules change for Supreme Court nominees in 2017. That puts them at odds with unions, social justice groups and others who think that the filibuster should be abolished so they can get their current priorities through.
“It’s a double-edged sword,” said Sen. Mazie Hirono .
A spokesperson for NARAL said the filibuster is “a dynamic, moving target, and we’re watching the conversation really closely.”
“If we’re going to move some of the really important legislation that we need to, I think we’re going to need to do filibuster reform. Otherwise you’re going to see Mitch McConnell blocking everything,” she said.
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Opinion:republicans Have Stopped Pretending On Abortion
When it comes to abortion, Republicans are peeking out from behind their masks.
To be clear, I don’t mean to say they aren’t still spreading lots of lies about abortion, about women’s health, and about their own supposedly deep concern for the welfare of children. There is no topic on which either party’s rhetoric is as consistently disingenuous, misleading, and outright false as when Republicans talk abortion.
But if nothing else, Republicans are making their hostility toward women and their hopes of overturning Roe v. Wade and making abortion illegal painfully clear.
Their latest instrument is what is known as a “heartbeat bill,” which would outlaw abortion as soon as a heartbeat can be detected, usually around 6 weeks. At that point a fetus is the size of a pea, and many women aren’t even aware they’re pregnant.
On Tuesday, Governor Brian Kemp of Georgia a heartbeat bill into law, the sixth state to do so .
The anti-abortion activists who push these bills and the legislators who write them always say that they aren’t interested in punishing women for having abortions; I’m reminded of the time in 2016 when the recently pro-life Donald Trump “there has to be some form of punishment” for women who have abortions and was then quickly silenced by Republicans whispering “ixnay on the unishment-pay!” out of the corners of their mouths, since this is a truth you’re not supposed to mention.
Republicans Have Moved Far Right On Abortion
Looking at Republican and Democratic party platforms since 1976 – the first post-Roe election – we counted the number of times the word “abortion” itself is mentioned, as well as synonyms used by either side – phrases like “rights of the unborn” on the right of the political spectrum and “a woman’s right to choice” on the left.
In their 2012 platform, Republicans mentioned abortion more times than ever before: 19 mentions in 2012 compared with 12 in 2008 – and five in 1976.
The last such spike in attention to abortion came in 1996, also an election year in which Republicans faced a Democratic incumbent. Previously a marked increase in mentions of abortion was seen under Ronald Reagan between the 1980 and 1984 platforms, though numbers remained in the single digits.
Democrats have moved more slowly to include a greater emphasis on reproductive rights and other pro-choice values over the past 40 years.
Support For Government Health Insurance Covering Contraception And Abortion
More than three-quarters of Americans believe that government health insurance programs, like Medicaid, for low-income women should cover the cost of birth control. Americans are slightly less likely to support these same programs covering abortion services 46% than they are to oppose it .
There is a strong correlation between attitudes on abortion and support for government health insurance programs covering abortion services. Among Americans who believe abortion should be legal in most or all cases, 87% support government health insurance programs covering the cost of contraception, and 69% of this group thinks these programs should cover abortion costs. Among those who think abortion should be illegal in most or all cases, 66% think these insurance programs should cover contraception, and only 19% support abortion coverage.
Trump Administration Restricts Federal Research Involving Human Fetal Tissue
On requiring insurance companies to cover abortion procedures, 75% of Democratic women support that, while 78% of Republican women oppose it, higher than the 63% of Republican men who said the same.
Republican women also stand out for the 62% of them who said they oppose laws that allow abortion at any time during pregnancy in cases of rape or incest. They are the only group to voice majority opposition to that. Fifty-nine percent of Republican men, for example, said they would support such a law.
And Republican women are the only group to say overwhelmingly that life begins at conception. About three-quarters said so, compared with less than half of Republican men and a third of Democratic women.
It’s a reminder that Republican women, in many ways, are the backbone of the movement opposing abortion rights.
The survey of 944 adults was conducted by live interviewers by telephone from May 31 through June 4. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.
Editor’s note: The survey asked respondents to identify as either “pro-life” or “pro-choice.” This question wording, using the labels “pro-life” and “pro-choice,” was included in the survey because it has tracked the public debate on abortion over decades. It is sensitive to current events and public discussion even though it does not capture the nuanced positions many people have on the issue.
How Democrat Joe Biden’s Catholic Faith Shaped His Life Politics
How Democrat Joe Biden’s Catholic Faith Shaped His Life, Politics
Trump, meanwhile, wants Roe v. Wade overturned and has said he only supports abortion rights in cases of rape, incest or protecting a mother’s life. If he is reelected, he almost certainly will have a chance to name at least one conservative justice to the U.S. Supreme Court, possibly overturning the decision that legalized abortion in the U.S.
Figuring out how important abortion is to the electorate as a whole depends on which polls you look at — and how you ask the question.
“If you ask about the most important issue facing the country in comparison with issues like the pandemic, jobs and the economy, health care, our educational system, abortion barely registers,” said Republican pollster Whit Ayres.
As of August, less than 0.5% of Americans told Gallup that they consider abortion the most important problem in America.
But then, abortion is a top priority to far more voters. Fully 40% of voters see abortion as “very important” to their vote, according to a summer poll from Pew. That puts it well behind nearly a dozen other issues, but nevertheless shows its importance to a huge number of Americans.
One way to look at it is that abortion doesn’t function for many voters as an issue in the way the economy does. Because many conservative Christian voters talk about seeing abortion as wrong because of their religious beliefs, abortion is closely tied to their core identity.
Who Knows Someone Who Has Had An Abortion
When asked whether they personally know someone who has had an abortion – such as a close friend, family member or the respondent themselves – 57% of the public says they know someone who has had an abortion; 42% say they do not.
About half or more across most demographic groups say they know someone who has had an abortion.
Women are 12 percentage points more likely than men to say they personally know someone who has had an abortion.
Across age groups, the youngest adults ages 18 to 29 are less likely than older adults – particularly those ages 50 to 64 – to say they know someone who has had an abortion.
The share who know someone who has had an abortion varies little across levels of educational attainment.
Nearly identical shares of Democrats and Democratic leaners and Republicans and Republican leaners say they personally know someone who has had an abortion.
Those who personally know someone who has had an abortion are only modestly more likely than those who do not to say abortion should be legal. Almost two-thirds of those who know someone who has had an abortion say abortion should be legal in all or most cases . Among those who do not know someone who has had an abortion, support for legal abortion is slightly lower .
Government Is Not The Solution To Domestic Social Problems
This is pretty universal among Republicans. Government should not be providing solutions to problems that confront people . Those problems should be solved by the people themselves. A Republican would say that relying on the government to solve problems is a crutch that makes people lazy and feel entitled to receive things without working for them.
Abortion Is Covered In More Sections Of The Gop Platform Today
Looking beyond sheer mentions of the issue, we found references to abortion have also been included in more and more sub-sections – or “” – of the GOP platform since 1976.
In 2012, abortion is discussed under nine separate platform planks – the most ever – ranging from “Our Prescription for American Healthcare” to “The Sanctity and Dignity of Human Life” and “China”. Four years ago, abortion was mentioned in five such sections.
A shift in how abortion is framed is evident over 10 party platforms.
America Should Deport Illegal Immigrants
Republicans believe that illegal immigrants, no matter the reason they are in this country, should be forcibly removed from the U.S. Although illegal immigrants are often motivated to come to the U.S. by companies who hire them, Republicans generally believe that the focus of the law should be on the illegal immigrants and not on the corporations that hire them.
Partisan Gap In Views Of Legal Abortion Has Widened In Recent Years
While Republicans and Democrats have long differed in their views on abortion, the partisan gap today is larger than it has been in recent years. And the growing partisan gap has been driven largely by an increase in support for legal abortion among Democrats.
In the current survey, Democrats and Democratic leaners are 46 percentage points more likely than Republicans and Republican leaners to say abortion should be legal in all or most cases . This gap is wider than it has been in previous Pew Research Center surveys dating to 2007. For instance, in 2016, there was a 33-point gap between the shares of Democrats and Republicans who supported legal abortion in all or most cases.
Differences in views on legal abortion extend beyond party affiliation; there are significant divides in views on the basis of religious affiliation, education and age. Notably, there are virtually no differences in the opinions of women and men.
A majority of white mainline Protestants and black Protestants say abortion should be legal in all or most cases. By contrast, 77% of white evangelical Protestants say abortion should be illegal in all or most cases. Among Catholics, more say abortion should be legal than illegal in all or most cases. Those who are not affiliated with a religion are among the most supportive of legal abortion: 83% say abortion should be legal in all or most cases.
Most Americans Oppose Overturning Roe V Wade
Seven-in-ten say they do not want the Supreme Court to completely overturn its Roe v. Wade decision, compared with 28% who want to see the decision completely overturned.
Similar majorities of women and men do not want Roe v. Wade overturned.
Republicans are divided in their views, reflecting internal ideological differences. Half of Republicans and Republican leaners do not want the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade; nearly as many would like to see the decision overturned.
Nearly nine-in-ten Democrats and Democratic leaners do not want Roe v. Wade overturned, including 94% of liberal Democrats and 81% of conservative and moderate Democrats.
Views on the Roe v. Wade decision are tied to overall views on whether abortion should be legal or illegal. For instance, 92% of those who say abortion should be legal in all or most cases do not want the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade. A majority of those who say abortion should be illegal in all or most cases want the decision overturned; however, a sizable minority of those who think abortion should be illegal in all or most cases do not want the court to completely overturn its 1973 decision.