POLLS SAY CHRISTIANS OKAY WITH ABORTION, SO WHY IS IT DEVIL’S WORK?
Forty-four years ago the Supreme Court ruled in favor of women’s rights on abortion. Why this was ever up to nine men in the first place remains a mystery.
Rather than let that reasonable decision stand, Americans still argue about it daily. Because nothing really important has come up in politics since then, right?
Lost in that general murmur of complaint this week, Pew Research released some poll results about America’s abortion politics. The takeaway: We’re fucking fine with it already.
Oh yeah, sorry, spoilers.
Researcher Hannah Fingerhut writes:
The latest Pew Research Center political survey finds deep disagreement between – and within – the parties over abortion. In fact, the partisan divide on abortion remains far more polarized than it was two decades ago.
But in my very layman’s opinion, the consensus in favor of putting a woman’s uterus in her own hands (um, figuratively, of course…) remains pretty solid.
Some 57 percent of Americans say abortion should be legal in “most or all” cases. That includes a huge majority of both people who call themselves liberals and so-called moderates.
A generation ago (1995) it was 60 percent. The Pew numbers have gone up and down, but the majority always favors women.
(Notably, the majority has also always been women…)
Okay, some assholes still aren’t on board. But this is a country where pineapple on pizza almost broke up the union this year.
Hell, 40 percent of people back the Purge. There may be a ceiling on how much we can expect from everybody is all I’m saying
(Admittedly, those Purge supporters may be trolls. But the Purge will rid us of such people.)
Bottom line, even 53 percent of American Catholics say yes to abortion rights in the Pew numbers. So do a majority of black protestants and white mainline protestants. Only white evangelicals remain holdouts.
That bears repeating: even the fucking Catholics.
At the same time, every day we’re buffeted with claims that abortion is like Satan’s World of Warcraft habit. That is to say, not his full-time occupation, but on his mind more often than not.
In a barely coherent May blog, Italian Cardinal Carlo Caffarra (try saying it out loud. Now stop before you summon him…) declared abortion a “Satanic attempt to [ennoble] the killing of humans.”
A month later, Oregon preacher/walking bumper sticker Randy Alcorn said pretty much the exact same thing in a less wordy and opaque editorial: “Abortion is Satan’s attempt to kill god in effigy by destroying the little ones.”
These are two cherry-picked examples, but they’re hardly unusual cases. So why do I bring it up?
Well, Alcorn, Caffarra, and the millions of pro-choice Catholics and Protestants who break with them all say they believe in the same Jesus and the same devil.
But that’s only on paper. In practice, everybody’s gods and monsters seem to be different. To some people Satan is like the Willy Wonka of abortions. Others apparently think Jesus is just all right with a woman’s right.
The catch is, they probably don’t realize this is a contradiction. Sociologists tell us that most people default to assuming their peers agree with them on the issues.
In fact, in a 1999 book, Ohio State professor Carroll J Glynn argues this False Consensus Effect is the reason the anti-choice movement lost the fight leading up to Roe v Wade:
Many activists were working to make abortion easier, but almost no grassroots movement opposed abortion. Most people who opposed abortion believed theirs was the majority view.
So a Catholic against women’s rights probably thinks most Catholics agree. And it goes without saying that god always conveniently agrees with your own prejudices.
And if a dissenting voice pops up here and there? Well, we can always blame that on Satan. It’s why they keep him around.
Now me, I say a woman’s body is inviolable, subject to her will alone. And whether they know it or not, a majority of Americans are in Satan’s camp on this issue.
Of course, we can’t appeal to popularity to argue that something is right. But we do live in a country where public opinion steers policy. So when can we finally stop arguing about this one?