For the first time since Gallup began asking this question in 1995, a majority of Americans identify themselves as pro-life:
The new results, obtained from Gallup’s annual Values and Beliefs survey, represent a significant shift from a year ago, when 50% were pro-choice and 44% pro-life. Prior to now, the highest percentage identifying as pro-life was 46%, in both August 2001 and May 2002.
The May 2009 survey documents comparable changes in public views about the legality of abortion. In answer to a question providing three options for the extent to which abortion should be legal, about as many Americans now say the procedure should be illegal in all circumstances (23%) as say it should be legal under any circumstances (22%). This contrasts with the last four years, when Gallup found a strong tilt of public attitudes in favor of unrestricted abortion.
Of course, prior to Roe v. Wade and in the early days of our nation — before any polls were taken — the vast majority of our citizens knew the obvious: abortion was the taking of an innocent human life. The predecessor to the American Medical Association pushed for statutes on abortion during the mid-19th century — an effort to codify the common law understanding that abortion was murder.
About a decade ago I wrote for the East Valley Tribune that abortion would end in America for the same reason slavery had to end — it violates our nation’s founding principles. We know as a people that we are endowed with certain unalienable rights, including the right to life. Our compassion as a people for the innocent, the vulnerable, the weak — all of these values demand that we work to protect children in the womb.
While the continued movement toward life is a testament to the tireless efforts of pro-life leaders to increase public understanding of the issue, we have much work yet to do.
One fact these Gallup results make clear — we have now elected a President and put in place Democratic political leadership in Congress who are dramatically out of touch with America on this vital issue.