Roundup: Myth of “Pro-Life Majority” Dispelled in New Gallup Poll

Emily Douglas

Myth of a "pro-life majority" dispelled by new Gallup poll; Family Research Council ad misleads on abortion coverage; one more time: abortion coverage and health care reform; Clinton visits Congo, announces funding to combat sexual violence in the region.

Myth of "Pro-Life Majority" Dispelled in New Gallup Poll
The much-touted "pro-life majority" found by a Gallup poll this past
spring has turned out to be a fluke, Amy Sullivan reports in TIME.  As Sullivan writes, "Now along comes a follow-up poll from Gallup
and whaddya know, the much ballyhooed pro-life majority seems to have
disappeared. The percentages of Americans calling themselves "pro-life"
and "pro-choice" are essentially the same (47% for pro-life; 46% for
pro-choice). Meanwhile, the positions they hold–a more useful
indicator than the labels people choose for themselves–haven’t budged.
A solid 78% think abortion should be legal in some or all
circumstances." 
 
Sullivan’s analysis of the most telling aspect of the poll?
 
I’m with Mark Silk,
who thinks that the most interesting finding is that approximately 60%
of those who describe themselves as "pro-life" believe that abortion
should be legal in at least some circumstances. Anti-abortion activists
would say they’re not really pro-life, just like they insist that
politicians like Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio)
who support the use of contraception to prevent unwanted pregnancies
should not be described as pro-life. But clearly many Americans are
comfortable thinking of themselves as "pro-life" and at the same time
holding the belief that abortion should be legal. Now that’s a story.

Family Research Council Ad Misleads on Abortion Coverage

On Beliefnet,
Steven Waldman takes Family Research Council to task for a recent ad
that suggests that health care reform will allot taxpayer funds for
abortion care:
 
Planned Parenthood already gets money from the federal government
for family planning services and they’re not allowed to use it directly
for abortion. The Senate bill does not mandate abortion BUT it doesn’t
close the door to that possibility either. That’s why Senator Robert
Casey, a pro-life Democrat, voted against the amendment. "It’s too
broad and that the way it could be interpreted down the road might
include something like abortion," he said.
 
And what about the ad’s phrase, "spending tax dollars on abortions"?
There was a convoluted debate about this in the House Energy and
Commerce Committee. I’ve written about the details here,
but the bottom line is that the legislation does not mandate government
paying for abortion — but again leaves open that possibility.

Waldman also targets the Democratic Party:

While I’m not excusing Family Research Council’s exaggeration, the
Democrats should have seen this coming a mile away…No one thinks the Democrats will, or should, try to come up with
something that will win over the Family Research Council, which would
oppose health care even if abortion were clearly prohibited. But if you
want health care reform, the fact that the Democrats haven’t figured
out a way of assuaging pro-life Democrats at this point seems risky in
the extreme.

One More Time: Abortion Coverage and Health Care Reform

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A New York Times FAQ on health care reform sets the record straight (again):

What if I don’t want my health
care dollars to pay for other
people’s abortions?

Abortion opponents say the legislation would use taxes to subsidize
insurance that could cover the procedure. Under the House bill, health
plans could choose to cover abortion, but they generally could not
use federal money to pay for the procedure and instead would have to
use money from the premiums paid by beneficiaries. Representative
Diana DeGette, Democrat of Colorado, said the bill would keep
current restrictions on the use of federal money for abortion.

And an NPR segment concurs, in an interview with Robert Farley of PolitiFact.com:

[Host Melissa BLOCK]: let’s talk about the bill that has been approved in the House. It
includes an amendment from Democratic Congresswoman Lois Capps in
trying to make the bill abortion neutral. First of all, in the public
plan under that bill, is abortion coverage required?

Mr. FARLEY: It’s not required but it is allowable.

BLOCK: Okay. So not prohibited, not mandated…

BLOCK: We should explain that the public plan that’s being discussed
for health care is not like Medicaid. It’s not government-funded, but
there would be some government subsidies for low-income people to buy
insurance. So that does bring up the money question that that
questioner in Pennsylvania was alluding to. Would taxpayer dollars, in
fact, be paying for abortion through subsidies to those people who are
insured?

Mr. FARLEY: Well, this Capps Amendment seeks to answer
that question by segregating the money that would be used to cover
abortions. It would specifically prohibit federal dollars from being
used to subsidize abortions. Any of that money that would be used for
abortion coverage would have to be paid through the premiums paid by an
insured person.

BLOCK: So not from government funding.


Heading to a town hall meeting on health care reform this August?  Be prepared for questions from the "Pro-Life Toolkit," on CBN’s Brody File

Clinton Visits Congo, Denounces Sexual Violence in the Region

On a visit to Goma, Congo, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton denounced the sexual violence that has been a weapon of war in the region.  Reports the New York Times, "Mrs. Clinton used her unprecedented visit — she is the first secretary
of state to venture into the war zone here — to unveil a $17 million
plan to fight Congo’s stunning levels of sexual violence, a problem she
called ‘evil in its basest form.’" The $17 million will be used to "train doctors, supply
rape victims with video cameras to document violence, send American
military engineers to help build facilities and train Congolese police
officers, especially female police officers, to crack down on rapists."

Before departing, Clinton spoke to survivors of rape:

After the camp, she spoke with two rape survivors, including the
woman who lost her fetus and nearly bled to death in the bush. Mrs.
Clinton then talked with a group of doctors and advocates who
specialize in treating victims of sexual violence. Many said they felt
abandoned.

“Children are killed, women are raped and the world closes its eyes,” said one woman.

Other News to Note
August 13: Philippine Information Agency: Campaign for male participation in family planning breaks ground in Dumaguete

August 13: Argus Leader: Abortion dispute sharpens

August 12: Rockford Register Star: Pro-life group defends graphic images

August 12: Baptist Press: Kennedy Shriver remembered for defense of unborn

August 12: WaPo: ‘Family Guy’s’ Look at the Lighter Side of Abortion

August 12: Science Daily: Seizures During Pregnancy Associated With Risk Of Pre-term And Small Babies

August 12: Peoples’ Weekly World: Death panels, euthanasia, abortion: health care fiction and facts

August 12: LifeSite: Member of Congress Admits House Health Care Bill Includes Abortion Funding

August 12: USA Today: More women wait to start families

August 12: FOX News: Disagreement, Distraction, and Dishonesty

August 12: Examiner: Giving up your baby: The other side of adoption

August 11: Catholic PRWire: Abstinence Is a Positive Challenge for NFP Couples, Says Top Expert

August 12: Telegraph: ‘Sex bus’ offers children free chlamydia tests

August 12: America Magazine: A Time for Reform

August 12: Unreasonable Faith: The Right Stuff: Dr. Patrick Johnston

August 12: Spectator: No Good Deeds

August 12: Forest Grove News Times: Keep abortion out of reforms

August 11: HuffPo: Far-Right Fearmongering on Death is Nothing New

August 12: Tulsa World: Ruling likely next week on challenge of ’08 abortion law

August 11: Morehead News: (Letter) Fight ‘anti-life’ measures

August 12: NYTimes: Frequently Asked Questions at Health Care Town Halls

August 12: AP: Oklahoma: Attorney: Don’t force ultrasound before abortion

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