Recently, political scientist Michael J. New described the results of what’s being called “the largest known in-depth interview study of American attitudes on abortion” as “nuanced.” A better term would be “complicated,” or maybe even “not-at-all coherent.”
This new study out of Notre Dame, entitled “How Americans Understand Abortion,” not only sought to determine what Americans believe about abortion, but why they believe it and which factors influenced those beliefs. Anyone who opposes abortion and is committed to protecting the preborn can learn much from the results.
For example, I found it fascinating that, according to the study, most Americans are simply not “particularly knowledgeable about the details of abortion.”
Those of us neck deep in the issue may find it unbelievable that anyone could be “unfamiliar with basic facts about fetal development or public policy,” or what Roe v. Wade actually did to America, or where state abortion laws currently stand. But many are, which makes the task of education, especially about the science and politics of abortion, a priority for pro-lifers. In fact, data suggests that many Americans would be shocked to learn how permissive our nation’s abortion laws are.
Another lesson to learn from this Notre Dame study is that we must do a better job publicizing the “life-affirming work done by the thousands of pregnancy help centers in the United States.” Much of the support for legal abortion is based on the fear “that children born after unintended pregnancies would be neglected,” and that “women would be adversely impacted by carrying an unintended pregnancy to term.”
In other words, people are simply unaware that these old arguments, which date back to even before Roe itself (i.e., “who will care for these women and children”), have been substantially answered in incredible ways by pro-lifers everywhere. Easing concerns about whether help is available for women in unexpected or crisis pregnancies will be essential to any effective pro-life apologetic.
The most important lesson from this study, however, is just how deeply moral relativism is shaping the abortion debate. Though a large percentage of Americans dislike abortion, they are uncomfortable with making abortion illegal. The data is incredible. Even those who think that abortion should be legal know that something is wrong with it. And yet, they simply can’t imagine an alternative to the status quo.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, John Stonestreet and Roberto Rivera