If you missed Secular Pro-Life’s appearance on WBEZ Chicago Public Radio yesterday, you can listen to it below. The segment begins at 5:35 with some background information from a university professor. SPL’s Kelsey Hazzard and abortion supporter Erin Matson come in around 12:00.
It was a short piece, so there were a couple of things I didn’t have the chance to say.
First, around 15:40, Matson trotted out a poll showing that approval of the Roe decision is at a record high. The host noted, rightly, that polls are contradictory. But a pattern does emerge: namely, that it depends on how you ask the question. If you ask when abortion should be allowed, large numbers of people say that they want abortion only to save a mother’s life, or in cases of rape and incest, or in the first trimester. When you put these various pluralities together, you get a strong majority. But then you also get a strong majority saying they support Roe, when Roe is what stops these majority-favored restrictions from being enacted! There’s a simple explanation for this: people don’t know what Roe v. Wade actually is.
Don’t believe me? In a recent Pew Research Center poll, 17% of adults over the age of 30 thought that Roe v. Wade had to do with school desegregation, the death penalty, or environmental protection. (If I confused Roe with Brown v. Board of Education, I’d tell the pollster I supported it too!) Another 20% admitted that they had no idea what the case was about. Among those under 30, the ignorance is even worse.
Second, I didn’t get to respond to Matson’s great sky-is-falling moment. After noting that she is 21 weeks pregnant, she said: “Knowing the restrictions that are out there– we recently had a woman die in Ireland because they said this is a pro-life country, here, um, in the United States […] we’ve created this situation where pregnant women no longer have full civil and human rights in this country. And that is truly behind the meaning of the anti-abortion rights movement.”
First of all, the Irish case she’s referring to is a case of media gone amok; the reporter who “broke the story” later admitted that Savita Halapannavar may not have requested an abortion in the first place. But the admission came too late; Savita had already become a poster child for abortion. Because who cares what she really would have wanted, right?
I am not in any way motivated by a desire to deprive pregnant women of human rights. As for Ms. Matson’s belief that she is a second-class citizen, I wish I could have asked her: why do you feel that way? Just because you might have to jump through some hoops before you could kill your (presumably wanted) late-term son or daughter?
I can’t understand the psychology behind needing that lethal power over your child, but I find it sad.