Commentary

07.03.15

Abortion: People Versus Politicians

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Woman in hospital gown seated on exam table

According to a recent Gallup poll, half of Americans now call themselves pro-choice. Looking at gender, 54 percent of women and 46 percent of men identify as that way.

The current numbers are the result of a trend of increasing identification with being pro-choice since 2012. For the first time in seven years, there’s a significant difference between the numbers of people who consider themselves as either pro-choice or pro-life.

What These Numbers Mean

The last time this happened was in 2008. In the five years after, the data remained fairly equal. However, since 2012, the number of people identifying as pro-choice has been increasing, while identification with pro-life has been decreasing.

According to a recent Gallup poll, 50 percent of Americans now call themselves pro-choice. Looking at gender, 54 percent of women and 46 percent of men identify as that way.

Gallup itself states that the trend may be related to a broader shift in society towards more liberal values. Unfortunately, this shift does not seem to be currently playing out in state legislatures.

The Statehouse Conundrum

Bills have been introduced in both the Ohio House and Senate that would enact a ban on abortions 20 weeks into pregnancy. A bill banning abortions if there is a detectable heartbeatpassed the House in March.

Further, targeted restrictions of abortion providers, also known as TRAP laws, passed as part of the Ohio budget in 2013. These restrictions had the effect not only of closing one of Toledo’s last remaining abortion clinics, but also of driving women seeking abortions to Michigan in order to have the procedure done. Currently, the Ohio House passed the budget bill, which includes further restrictions on abortion clinics in the state.
Things seem bleak for reproductive freedom in Ohio and several other states, but that’s not the whole story. If the trends Gallup has identified continue—if more and more people continue to call themselves pro-choice, then how much longer can politicians continue to pass laws restricting abortion against the wishes of the majority of their constituents?

Nathan Cindrich is a social work intern with the ACLU of Ohio.

 

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