When it comes to issues dealing with abortion, most Americans group themselves into one of two opposite camps: pro-life or pro-choice. But according to a new poll, these labels can actually be misleading.
Marist Poll, which measures public opinion for clients like NBC News and Wall Street Journal, conducted a survey for Knights of Columbus in July and found that an overwhelming majority of Americans support pro-life policies, regardless of their pro-life/pro-choice affiliations.
In this poll, 43 percent of respondents identified as pro-life. The rest were either pro-choice (51 percent) or undecided (6 percent). And yet, over half of the individuals contacted felt that abortion should not be allowed in most circumstances. Nearly eight in 10 Americans (78 percent) said that abortion should be limited to the first three months of pregnancy, at the very most.
Yet “pro-choice” politicians have consistently claimed that there’s a political mandate for the current policy of abortion during all three trimesters that they endorse. The reality is only about one in 10 Americans (13 percent) support unlimited abortion. These elected officials, who insist they represent the average American’s stance on abortion, actually stand with the radical minority at the expense of the majority’s views.
Most Americans do not support allowing unborn children to suffer the agony and torment of lethal cardiac injection or limb by limb detachment. While this is occurring, there are thousands of loving families that are willing, able, and eager to adopt, raise, and love these children.
Let’s look at the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 36) as an example of a bill that the majority of Americans agree with. H.R. 36 would prevent abortions from being performed after 20 weeks of gestation, at which stage medical evidence confirms that an unborn child can feel pain. It’s a step toward securing unborn children the protection they are due, and this recent Marist poll demonstrates that there is wide public support for these safeguards. H.R. 36, which I wholeheartedly supported, passed the House of Representatives in May of 2015. However, 184 members of Congress voted against it – members who claim to represent you and your views. In the Senate, nearly half of your elected officials blocked H.R. 36 from even coming to the floor for a vote.
Fortunately, at least, there is the long-standing Hyde Amendment, a federal provision inserted into annual spending legislation that bars the use of taxpayer funds to pay for most abortions. September 30 marked the 40th anniversary of the Hyde Amendment, which has saved an estimated 2 million lives since its enactment. According to the recent Marist Poll, 62 percent of Americans, including 45 percent of “pro-choice” respondents, support the Hyde Amendment, but “pro-choice” politicians are incredibly hostile to the provision and have repeatedly vowed to repeal it.
All the while, the largest abortion provider in the U.S., Planned Parenthood, is investing in pro-abortion politicians. Even the mainstream media readily acknowledges this fact. During the 2014 election cycle, Politico wrote that Planned Parenthood launched “its largest campaign offensive ever,” planning to spend over $18 million to help elect politicians friendly to abortion. Earlier this month, USA Today reported that Planned Parenthood was planning to spend $30 million “to sway the 2016 election,” double the amount they spent in 2012.
January ushers in a new Congress, and these issues will undoubtedly resurface. I sincerely hope that “pro-choice” legislators can unite with their “pro-life” colleagues around the American consensus on abortion. Not only is it our duty as elected officials; our children’s lives depend on it.
Congressman Brad Wenstrup represents the 2nd Congressional District of Ohio. He serves on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the House Armed Services Committee, and the House Veterans Affairs Committee. He is also an active member of the U.S. Army Reserve.