Thursday, May 28, 2009

Working Toward Common Ground in the Abortion Debate

From RH Reality Check:

by Sarah Stoesz
Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota Action Fund

A recent Gallup Poll appears to show a shift in public opinion on abortion, with more Americans than ever identifying as “pro-life.” But experience shows that such labels as “pro-life” and “pro-choice” are hopelessly dated and serve to drive wedges between us, and that the poll itself might be asking the wrong questions altogether.

Read deeper into the results of this and other recent polls and you will find that, no matter what the label, most Americans want to keep abortion legal.

We know from our work in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota, that the more we engage in substantive discussion about the issues that affect the health and safety of women, the more people understand and honor the complexity of the abortion issue and recognize the need to leave these personal decisions to women and families.

The truth is that many people have some level of moral ambivalence about abortion. Most South Dakotans, for example, self-identify as "pro-life" and are opposed to abortion, but they have defeated statewide measures to ban abortion in two elections. Even the most conservative Americans want to keep abortion safe, legal and rare. Why? Because abortion is a morally complicated issue, which is precisely why woman are entitled to think it through and come to their own conclusions.

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