New at Live Action – A Berkley Professor Wonders Why More Americans Don’t Accept Abortion

My latest Live Action post:

Implicit in most pro-abortion commentary is a certain level of frustration that there remain people who disagree with them. “It’s the 21st century and the Supreme Court has spoken; can’t you anti-choice yahoos get with the program?” This leads to all sorts of outlandish speculation about what really makes pro-lifers tick.

Yesterday, UC Berkley sociology professor Claude Fischer published his thoughts on the “abortion puzzle,” attempting to figure out why Americans are growing “notably more laissez-faire on most sexual issues,” but not abortion:

Before the Roe v. Wade decision on behalf of abortion rights perhaps 25% to 30% of Americans were inclined to say yes [abortion is acceptable for any reason]. Then opinions shifted a bit in the liberal direction. Since that initial shift, however, the distribution of opinions has changed little. The trend since Roe v. Wade is displayed in the blue line in the graph below. About 37% of Americans said yes to abortion on demand at the end of the 1970s and about 41% said yes at the end of the 2000s.
Contrast that to the change, three times greater, in the percentage who said that “sex relations before marriage… [is”] not wrong at all” — the red line — from about 38% at the end of the 1970s to about 51% at the end of the 2000s. And contrast that to the shift, five-fold greater, the green line, in the percentage of Americans who disagreed with the proposition that “Women should take care of running their homes and leave running the country up to men.” Another perspective on this compares generations of Americans. The generation born in the 1970s was far more liberal than the generation born in the 1910s on whether women should stay at home and on premarital sex (by over 30 points on each question). But the 1970s generation was only a bit more liberal on abortion than the 1910s generation (only 7 points more).   

To begin with, the premise’s question is flawed in two ways.

Read the rest at Live Action.

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Around the Web

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Jill Stanek takes a look at the polling data and asks just how controversial being pro-life really is.

At NewsReal, Lisa Graas draws attention to pro-liberty Muslims the media doesn’t want you to know about.

Half of All Republicans Are Birthers…According to Democrat Pollsters

In a bid to keep their meal ticket going, WorldNetDaily is pushing a new poll that allegedly reveals that “only 3 in 10 members of the GOP believe that Barack Obama was born in the United States”:

With the issue still disputed in a number of court cases and under review by nearly a dozen states considering laws that presidential candidates document their constitutional eligibility, the poll by Public Policy Polling found that only 28 percent of the Republicans surveyed believe Obama was born in the U.S. while 51 percent do not.

Another 21 percent say they are not sure.
“Any thought that the birther theory has been put to rest can be thrown out the window,” Dean Debnam, the president of the Democratic-leaning polling firm, told Politico.

“That view is still widely held in Republican circles,” he said. [Emphasis added.]

Granted, Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie’s quest to find Obama’s birth certificate once and for all ended in failure, and Obama has brought some distrust over his origins on himself—he has a record of misrepresenting details in his own biography for political gain. So it’s not completely surprising that a not-infinitesimal percentage of Republicans would have doubts. But half? I doubt it.

I’ve duked it out with Birthers time and time (and time and time and time) again, so I won’t revisit the merits of believing Barack Obama was secretly born in Kenya. Here I’d like to instead call attention to the words in bold. Shouldn’t the head of a left-leaning firm (check out their list of clients, which includes the National Education Association and the North Carolina chapters of Planned Parenthood and the Sierra Club) discussing how their poll reflects on Republicans set off a few alarm bells?

Leftists are known for using dubious polls to smear conservatives as nutjobs, and they especially like having the Birther club to beat Republicans over the head with. During the midterms, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee sent out memos directing candidates to try making their races about whether or not their opponents thought Obama was a natural-born citizen. Why? Because it’s easier to talk about that than the really bad ideas they want to implement in office. As Kurt Schlichter wrote for Big Journalism on February 8, 2010:

The last thing we need as the truth and power of our core beliefs in small government, a strong defense and the Bill of Rights are becoming evident again even in places like Massachusetts is to distract and discredit ourselves by tolerating weird, nutty conspiracy theories.  It’s also a dream come true for our opponents – a chance to dodge the real questions about out-of-control spending, crippling taxes and hug-a-jihadi terrorist policies and to instead focus on the irrational fixations of a few nuts.

Every time some right-wing journalist “raises a question” about the President’s birth certificate, Rahm Emanuel smiles.

One would think experienced right-wing media outlets would know the Left well enough to recognize propaganda by a hostile entity when they saw it. But instead, WND can’t embrace and disseminate it fast enough. I’m sure President Obama and the Democratic Party are most appreciative.

Pat Toomey & Arlen Specter: Neck and Neck

I’ve written before about how the anger resercons like David Frum have for Pat Toomey is both unprincipled and foolish.  Today, with the 2010 midterms still over a year off, Arlen Specter’s once-profound lead has disappeared: Quinnipiac has Specter at 45%, Toomey 44%, “and voters say 49 – 40 percent that Sen. Specter does not deserve reelection.”  Anything could happen between now and Election Day, but there’s plenty of reason to be optimistic that Republicans can regain Specter’s seat—and do it by putting principle over (faux) pragmatism.

No wonder the guys at New Majority haven’t mentioned Toomey in a while…

Question

Every now and then, atheists claim they’re being discriminated against because polling data suggests many Americans wouldn’t want their children to marry an atheist. I don’t see any reason atheists should be offended by this. Why should a desire to marry, or to see your kids marry, somebody with similar values be taken to mean you think somebody with different values is inferior? The issue isn’t superiority, but compatibility: what will make a couple bond best, what will give children the clearest foundation and messages, and so forth. I don’t feel even remotely slighted by the fact that a Muslim would probably not want his daughter to marry me (whether or not Dad’s into honor killings, of course, is a different matter…). This claim is really grasping at straws.