Most Americans Oppose Overturning Roe v. Wade

Another poll shows that the vast majority of Americans do not want to see the Supreme Court's ruling in Roe v. Wade overturned.

Another new poll shows that most Americans want the Supreme Court’s 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade to remain the law of the land:

 Nearly two-thirds of Americans do not want to see Roe v. Wade overturned, according to a new poll.

Sixty-four percent of those surveyed said the 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide should stand, according to a Gallup poll released Thursday. That is up 11 percentage points from 53 percent in 2012.

The Roe v. Wade decision made its way back into the news after the retirement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy – which gave President Donald Trump the opportunity to nominate a new justice.

Trump said on the campaign trail that he would nominate only judges who oppose abortion rights. On Monday, he nominated D.C. Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who has, over a decade, favored compromise for cases on abortion and Obamacare.

More directly from Gallup itself:

As the U.S. Senate prepares to hold confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, the public is strongly opposed to any attempts to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that made abortion legal nationwide. Currently, 64% of Americans believe Roe v. Wade should stand, while 28% would like to see it overturned.

The poll was conducted July 2-8, just before President Donald Trump announced Kavanaugh as his nominee to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. Many Democratic senators quickly voiced their opposition to the conservative 53-year-old judge and vowed to vote against his confirmation, based largely on his judicial record and his stances on a number of issues, including abortion and the Affordable Care Act.

Democratic U.S. senators and a handful of moderate Senate Republicans, including Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, do not want to fill Kennedy’s seat with a justice who opposes abortion rights.

While nominees to the high court often do not openly share their personal views on issues, their past public statements are scrutinized. It is generally expected that Kavanaugh would oppose abortion rights. However, Sen. Collins has said that a remark Kavanaugh made more than 10 years ago about Roe v. Wade – that it was “settled precedent” — is encouraging to her.

The American public stands firmly on the side of upholding Roe v. Wade. Gallup has measured the public’s views of the decision periodically since 1989 and has found majority-level support for keeping the 1973 ruling in place, ranging from 52% to 68%. The current reading is on the higher end measured.

In 2007, 2008 and 2012, the slimmest majorities called for abortion to remain legal — but in each of those years, the percentage of Americans saying they had “no opinion” was elevated. The current reading shows the percentage of those with no opinion settling back down to 9%.

Partisans’ opinions are sharply polarized, with 81% of Democrats, 70% of independents and 41% of Republicans saying they do not want Roe v. Wade overturned. In contrast, 51% of Republicans, 22% of independents and 13% of Democrats want it reversed.

While Democrats’ opinions have been consistent over time, Republicans’ views have been less so. For example, a majority of Republicans — albeit a slim majority, at 52% — said in 2006 that the case should not be overturned.

As the chart below shows, these numbers have varied some over the years but that a solid majority of Americans has always supported the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe:

Gallup also asked whether Senators who will be voting on the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court should base their vote on a single issue like abortion:

Americans have decidedly mixed feelings about whether senators should cast their confirmation vote based on a nominee’s stance on specific issues like abortion, if that nominee is otherwise qualified. Overall, 49% of Americans think senators are justified in doing so, while 46% of Americans think it is not justifiable.

Gallup asked the same hypothetical question — which specifies that the nominee “is qualified and has no ethical problems” — in January 2005, just before George W. Bush’s second term as president and months before he announced a nominee to replace deceased Chief Justice William Rehnquist. Americans’ views are nearly identical today to what they were 13 years ago, including a similar partisan divide.

Although the question is asked theoretically, it is possible that respondents view it through a partisan lens: 66% of Democrats say it is justified to reject a nominee based on issue stances, while 59% of Republicans say it is not justified. In 2005, as now, a Republican president was in office along with a Republican majority in the Senate. Gallup has not yet asked the question with a Democratic president in office or with a Democratic-majority Senate. Thus, it is unclear if the same pattern of partisan differences seen in the 2005 and 2018 readings would occur under those conditions.

Almost six in 10 Americans who say Roe v. Wade should not be overturned (57%) think that a nominee’s position on issues is justification for voting against them. Conversely, a similar percentage of those who would like to see Roe v. Wade overturned (59%) do not think a nominee’s views on issues are justification to vote against them.

This new poll from Gallup is consistent with other recent polling that has come out in the wake of the announcement of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement, which has inevitably raised concerns on both sides of the political aisle on the fate of the Court’s ruling in Roe. A poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation, for example, found that 67% of Americans opposed overturning Roe while only 29% supported overturning it. Similarly, a Quinnipiac University poll found that 63% of those surveyed opposed overturning the decision while only 31% supporting overturning it. As with this Gallup poll, the partisan breakdown is about what you would expect, with Democrats and Independents strongly supporting the position that the decision should not be overturned while Republicans strongly support overturning the decision.

These poll results are interesting largely because they differ significantly from polling on more general questions about abortion itself show public opinion to be far more closely divided. The most recent Gallup poll on the subject, which was taken prior to the announcement of Justice Kennedy’s retirement, showed the American public essentially evenly divided on the central issue of the debate of the abortion. In that poll, 48% of respondents identified themselves as “pro-life” and 48% identified as “pro-choice,” a result that is largely consistent with previous Gallup polls on the issue that go back to the beginning of the 21st Century. That same Gallup poll found that roughly half of all Americans should be legal under at least some circumstances, while 29% said it should be legal in all circumstances. Just 18%, meanwhile, said in response to the poll that abortion should be illegal under all circumstances. Based on these numbers, 80% of Americans believe that abortion should be legal in “some or all” circumstances. In that regard, of course,  it’s worth noting that Roe and its progeny do not establish an unrestricted right to abortion, and instead recognize that there is a point during a pregnancy when the state could arguably have an interest in protecting an unborn child, particularly after the pregnancy has passed the point where a fetus would be viable outside of the womb. This standard has been reinforced in subsequent case law and, notwithstanding advances in medical science, the point of fetal viability has stayed roughly the same as it was forty-five years ago. Viewed that way, then I suppose that the wide support for maintaining the status quo that Roe v. Wade and its progeny have created isn’t that surprising. Whether it will matter in the upcoming hearings on Kavanaugh’s nomination, or indeed whether it should, is another question entirely.

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Law and the Courts, Public Opinion Polls, Supreme Court, US Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Michael Reynolds says:

    If only Roe could be overturned before the mid-terms.

    I’ve long been skeptical about the ‘women’s vote.’ It often seems about to become a thing and then. . . doesn’t. Even with the rocket fuel of #MeToo I expected the usual disappointment.

    But man, if there is one thing that can turn Texas, Florida, NC and Georgia blue, it’s abortion. Brown babies in cages – that’s still a POC problem. Attacks on gay rights – that’s a gay problem. Police violence? Black problem. But abortion? Women are not a minority, women have all the power they have ever needed right in their hands. The question has always been, will they coalesce and actually use that collective power?

    If women ever start to really see themselves as a group identity, you’d see a tidal wave in American politics.

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  2. Gustopher says:

    I don’t see what opinion polls have to do with anything here.

    Americans favor gun control, and we don’t get that. Americans voted for Hillary Clinton, and we didn’t get her.

    If we don’t get what we want on the Legislative branch with gun control, or the Executive branch with Clinton, then why would we expect it on the Judicial branch?

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  3. Gustopher says:

    I suppose that the wide support for maintaining the status quo that Roe v. Wade and its progeny have created isn’t that surprising. Whether it will matter in the upcoming hearings on Kavanaugh’s nomination, or indeed whether it should, is another question entirely.

    When judicial nominees are chosen for policy reasons, they can be opposed for policy reasons. You cannot expect purity only on one side of the nomination-confirmation process.

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  4. george says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    If women ever start to really see themselves as a group identity, you’d see a tidal wave in American politics.

    Women have no more unity in their ideology than men do. In the case of abortion (and I assume Roe vs Wade), the percentage of women who are pro-life/pro-choice is almost exactly the same as for men (though I suspect often for different reasons – young men’s lives became much simpler after abortion became legal).

    From what I’ve seen, the real division on abortion rights is between the old and young, where the young tend to be for abortion rights (for the obvious reason) and the old tend to be against it (probably because they’re never going to get pregnant again, or get someone else pregnant again).

    People are incredibly complex and varied; expecting or hoping for unity in any group of them numbering in hundreds of millions is pointless.

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  5. James Pearce says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    If women ever start to really see themselves as a group identity, you’d see a tidal wave in American politics.

    Over abortion? I don’t think so…

    Dems need to stop thinking they’re going to “get” some demographic suddenly and forever by having uncompromising views on some minor issue. Consider that it might be more difficult than that, and the complacency I find so odious might evaporate.

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  6. MarkedMan says:

    @James Pearce: I actually think Pearce might be right on this one. My initial reaction was “what about gun rights?” but when I thought about it more I realized that being highly motivated by some arbitrary and slogan based position is much more of a Republican trigger than a Democratic one.

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  7. MarkedMan says:

    As someone who lived in NY state when there were still liberal Republicans, I am often astounded as to just how easily history has been rewritten about certain hot button issues. Just as gun regulations in the 70’s were often a racist Republican issue (“Did you see that n—– Malcolm X carrying a rifle and threatening to shoot white people who burned crosses on his lawn?!”), abortion did not have nearly so clearly defined a constituency as it does today. In fact, the official newspaper of the Baptist Convention wrote a pro-Roe v Wade editorial after the ruling.

    We think the “Life Begins At Conception!” schtick has some basis in formal religion but it’s really just a null-content slogan. Almost all religions have believed the opposite – they don’t have a christening until weeks after the baby is born (interesting fact: it is often around 40 days regardless of the country or time or religion). Even some of the more esoteric Catholic scholars who spent serious thought on how many angels could dance on the head of pin didn’t push the date a fetus became a soul back before the quickening (when the fetus first started to exhibit spontaneous motion in the womb). And they weren’t considered a full human then, as it would have been simple enough to baptize fetuses and save them from eternity in limbo. Even today, with the full weight of the Roman Catholic distraction machine (“Pedophile priests!? Wait, look over there! ABORTION!!”) running full tilt, there has been absolutely zero discussion about moving baptism back to birth, much less the moment of conception. (Now that’s a scary thought. You’d have to have a priest in bed with you every time you got it on…)

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  8. Facebones says:

    As others have noted, a substantial majority of people (54-46) did not want Trump to be president. The system is gerrymandered in favor of a vocal minority to the point where a 10 point lead for Democrats in the midterms is still not enough to guarantee a Dem majority in the house. Substantial majorities support gun control. Doesn’t matter.

    So yeah. Kiss Roe goodbye. There really isn’t anything democrats can do to stop Kavanaugh. And despite his equivocating, he’ll rule against abortion rights first chance he gets.

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  9. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    There is now a pretty overwhelming amount of evidence that what Americans want according to some poll, has very little correlation with what they get, or even how they vote.

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  10. Michael Reynolds says:

    @george:
    True, it is largely age, with this caveat: I thing abortion is voting issue for women while it generally is not for men. Add that enthusiasm to the already wide gender gap and the Republicans would be in trouble. Do you think Ted Cruz really wants to see Roe overturned? I don’t, because I think he knows it could tip Texas.

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  11. SenyorDave says:

    I think overturning Roe would have negative repercussions for the GOP. Consider it on a state basis. The deep south would pretty much ban abortion, but they are almost 100% Republican so it won’t matter. But states like NC or NV? I think Roe could be a tipping point. And it might not change minds among younger women, but it could certainly affect turnout.
    I don’t see how it could possibly be a positive for the GOP, and if you have a big change that is not a positive, it probably will be at least a slight negative.
    And the males in here (myself included) should never underestimate the “a bunch of old white males are telling me what to do with my body” factor among women in general.

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  12. Kylopod says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Women are not a minority, women have all the power they have ever needed right in their hands.

    Women also never vote as a bloc, the way you see with some ethnic or religious groups. (If they did, Republicans would never win anything.) Women are not only diverse in their political views, but even in their basic beliefs about gender roles. On the abortion issue specifically, there’s only a relatively small gap between men and women in the general populace:

    https://news.gallup.com/poll/235646/men-women-generally-hold-similar-abortion-attitudes.aspx

    I suspect there’s a difference in intensity that’s not being picked up by this poll, since women after all are the ones being most directly affected by abortion policy. But I’d be cautious in assuming the ability of this one issue to change deeply entrenched voting patterns.

    Over the past year pundits have been scratching their heads over the revelation in 2016 exit polls that a majority of white women voted for Trump. But Trump’s share of that demographic was still smaller than it was for Romney, McCain, or Bush. It shouldn’t be surprising that an already R-leaning demographic would support Trump. What takes people aback is that they think Trump’s odious treatment of women would have turned off a lot more women voters than it did. But you can’t just consider that factor in isolation. According to those same exit polls, among voters who claimed to be bothered by Trump’s treatment of women, 29% voted for Trump. The simple fact is that lots of women don’t vote as women. They’re much more likely to vote according to other patterns of identity: as white people, say, or as Christians.

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  13. KM says:

    @MarkedMan:
    It’s 40 days for a reason. Infant mortality was a HUGE problem until fairly recently and that had a resulting influence on abortion. Children weren’t really seen as “people” until they had survived a set amount of time – that’s why many cultures didn’t name babies at birth or include them into the community till they were confident survival was probable. The loss ratio was so high society built in mechanisms to recognize when a future member successfully stayed alive with celebrations. The most common one? Your birthday aka you made it another year, hurray!! Therefore, if you don’t consider a newborn to be a true person yet, why would the unborn be different?

    Modern sensibilities retooling history. Of course Baptists would have been pro-Roe – it fit into a traditional Biblical understanding of life going back to the beginning of the Church. Being anti-abortion was always more of a (derided) Catholic thing….. but then they saw the money and went nuts. They literally changed their theology to cash in on manufactured outrage.

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  14. Kathy says:

    Since 51% in the GOP want to overturn Roe, that probably means the percentage among the base is higher still. So I’d expect the party as a whole has to at least try. After so many years of stating so, no one will take them seriously again if they don’t try when they have the White House and Congress, and now a favorable SCOTUS majority.

    Of course, if they lose the House, they can hang on to that as an excuse for inaction. But even that would piss off some in the base.

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  15. Andre Kenji de Sousa says:

    I think that most voters would be comfortable with some abortion restrictions(Even most people that are opposed to abortion are more comfortable with abortion restrictions like most Latin American countries have – banning except to save the life of the mother, rape or incest, not with complete ban), but not with late term abortions nor complete bans.

    That’s why it’s difficult to get votes from this issue. On the other hand overturning Roe could change this equation.

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  16. James Pearce says:

    @MarkedMan:

    being highly motivated by some arbitrary and slogan based position is much more of a Republican trigger than a Democratic one

    Thanks.

    Anyone 45 and under grew up in a “legal abortion” environment and the issue is less of a priority than it was during the Nixon administration.

    On the other hand, every single Never-Trumper cites abortion as one of their top reasons for why they will remain in the Republican party, despite despising the Republican president, his tariffs, his foreign policy, and his fitness for office.

    I’m not suggesting that the Dems become “the party of life” and call for the reversal of Roe V Wade, but we should be more accommodating to pro-life views.

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  17. Kylopod says:

    @James Pearce:

    every single Never-Trumper cites abortion as one of their top reasons for why they will remain in the Republican party

    Where did you get that data point from? It’s certainly not true that “every single” NeverTrumper has said that. NeverTrumpers include a disproportionate amount of conservative elites, who tend to hold liberal views on social issues.

    The simple fact–which is more than borne out by this poll–is that there are a lot more pro-choice Republicans than pro-life Democrats in the general populace. People who want to see Roe overturned are already almost entirely loyal Republican voters. But there are many pro-choicers in Republican ranks, who continue to support the party for other reasons. Republicans have a lot more to worry about politically if a reversal of Roe were to happen.

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  18. Gustopher says:

    @James Pearce:

    I’m not suggesting that the Dems become “the party of life” and call for the reversal of Roe V Wade, but we should be more accommodating to pro-life views.

    How?

    Either a woman controls her body, and gets to choose whether she wants a relatively simple procedure done now, or to have her entire body change and go through the more risky childbirth a bunch of months down the line — or she doesn’t.

    There isn’t a lot of middle ground there.

    No late term abortions? Those are the people who desperately wanted to have a child but discovered that there was something wrong with the fetus. It’s cruel and sadistic to make someone deliver a child that isn’t going to survive.

    Partial partial birth abortions? That doesn’t even make sense and is something I just made up.

    No taxpayer funding? That means that women on Medicaid, or getting subsidies through the ObamaCare markets are unable to exercise their rights, just wealthier women. That’s terrible.

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  19. grumpy realist says:

    (I put this on the other Roe vs. Wade thread, but don’t think anyone saw it.)

    To all pro-lifers:

    If the zygote/embryo/fetus is all that friggin important, remove it from the woman’s body and stuff it into your own. Don’t commandeer someone else to act as a life-support system simply because your own morality demands it. And if you think that’s perfectly justified, why shouldn’t vegans be able to insist that you eat a vegan diet because of THEIR morality?

    So before you start whining about being pro-life, give up your hamburger, guys

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  20. James Pearce says:

    @Kylopod:

    It’s certainly not true that “every single” NeverTrumper has said that.

    You’re right. I’ve not taken a poll of “every single” NeverTrumper, and I should have amended that to say “Every single NeverTrumper I’ve seen,” and even then that’s not true. Max Boot advocates voting straight Dem in the fall.

    Point is, some NeverTrumpers should and would be Democrat-curious, but they find the Dems a bigger turn off than Trump. Cui bono?

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  21. James Pearce says:

    @Gustopher:

    Either a woman controls her body, and gets to choose whether she wants a relatively simple procedure done now, or to have her entire body change and go through the more risky childbirth a bunch of months down the line — or she doesn’t.

    Times have changed. Women have more opportunity to control their bodies before they conceive, which reduces –not completely– the need for ending unwanted pregnancies.

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  22. Leonard says:

    @KM: You’re confusing baptism and churching. Greeks and Romans have always recognized infant baptism and encouraged emergency baptsism of sick babies. Also, you can’t baptize a fetus.

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  23. Kylopod says:

    @James Pearce:

    You’re right. I’ve not taken a poll of “every single” NeverTrumper, and I should have amended that to say “Every single NeverTrumper I’ve seen,” and even then that’s not true. Max Boot advocates voting straight Dem in the fall.

    As does George Will, but that’s not the point. The point is that you claimed that every NeverTrumper “cites abortion as one of their top reasons for why they will remain in the Republican party.” That certainly doesn’t apply to Steve Schmidt, Rick Wilson, David Brooks, David Frum, Jen Rubin, Charles Krauthammer, Bret Stephens, Bill Kristol–among others. Offhand, the only prominent NeverTrumper I can think of who’s really adamant about opposing abortion is Erick Erickson–and he’s very much the exception that proves the rule.

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  24. James Pearce says:

    @Kylopod: But my point wasn’t that every NeverTrumper cites abortion as a reason to remain in the GOP, but that enough of them do for it to be a thing. Google some “Why I’m Still A Republican” pieces and a common theme will be abortion.

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  25. Kylopod says:

    @James Pearce:

    Google some “Why I’m Still A Republican” pieces and a common theme will be abortion.

    That’s a dubious method of determining general opinion, but I tried it anyway. I typed “Why I’m Still a Republican” into Google and looked at every essay from the first three pages by someone explaining why they were remaining in the GOP despite having problems with it. Here are the writers and bloggers who popped up:

    Aric Wood: no mention of abortion or other social issues
    Ryan Phipps: no mention of abortion or other social issues
    Tom Nichols: one mention of “family values” but no specifics
    Reihan Salam: no mention of abortion or other social issues
    David Frum: no mention of abortion or other social issues
    Bob Orr: no mention of abortion or other social issues

    Not a single one of them references abortion specifically, and only one of them mentioned anything so much as hinting at the issue: Tom Nichols with his “family values” phrase. Most of them talked about things like limited government and individual freedom–with a broad recognition that the GOP in its present form isn’t providing those things.

    Just who were you reading that led you to reach the conclusion that this was a common, let alone nearly ubiquitous, concern among reluctant Republicans?

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  26. Gustopher says:

    @James Pearce: So… abortion should only be available to those who are worthy, who can document that they tried to use birth control? I don’t think that’s what you’re intending to say.

    I’m having trouble putting your “we should accommodate pro-life views” into a coherent policy.

    I’m all for making birth control more available, and making it easier for women who choose to have an unplanned child to do so — but that actually is the Democrats’ position.

    Would a little shame help? Should we go back to Bill Clinton’s “safe, legal and rare” formulation, where there’s obviously something wrong with anyone who has an abortion?

    There are lots of things we could do to reduce the number of abortions, from comprehensive sex education, to distributing birth control to making women jump through increasing numbers of hoops to get an abortion. What is this magical middle ground that will make the Democrats a welcoming home for prolife voters?

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  27. James Joyner says:

    My problem with translating these national surveys into policy is that we’re dealing with a local issue and opinion differs wildly by locality. Even Roe recognized that the states had an interest and Casey and Webster moved the line further. Some states have very restrictive policies on abortion, others have essentially none. If Roe were overturned–and I’m skeptical that it will be—very little will change except in the handful of states where it’s already extremely challenging to get an abortion.

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  28. MarkedMan says:

    @Leonard:

    Also, you can’t baptize a fetus.

    That was actually the point of the original comment. If religious people actually believed their nonsense about “life begins at conception” it would be the norm to baptize fetuses

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  29. James Pearce says:

    @Kylopod:

    Just who were you reading that led you to reach the conclusion that this was a common, let alone nearly ubiquitous, concern among reluctant Republicans?

    Other people, I guess.

    @Gustopher:

    I’m having trouble putting your “we should accommodate pro-life views” into a coherent policy.

    Maybe because instead of asking, “How can I draw more people into the Democratic party?” you’re asking, “How can I draw more people into the Democratic party without conceding anything to pro-lifers?” It’s the difference between asking “How can I lose weight?” and “How can I lose weight while sitting on the couch all day eating ice cream?” Asked one way, it becomes a a task that can, with enough determination and diligence, be accomplished. Asked another it becomes an impossible conundrum.

    Should abortion be the hill this generation of Democrats dies on? You know, in the 70s I can see it, when the poor mothers of the Baby Boom were dealing with a half dozen teenagers, all raising hell, with husbands either beating them or leaving them, or in my family’s case, just up and dying, leaving a 35 year old homemaker a widow with six kids to support. In the 80s, even the 90s, the AIDS years with their condom debates, you could almost still see how it could be an important issue a vast, diverse society could be organized around. But now? Post 9-11, pre-“new” world order?

    We should be, “So you don’t like abortion? That’s cool. Do you like NATO?”

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  30. James Pearce says:

    @MarkedMan:

    it would be the norm to baptize fetuses

    The baby baptizers can claim amniotic fluid does the magic, I suppose, but I don’t see them getting too hung up on that.

    In the religion of my youth, long abandoned now, one had to choose to get baptized, otherwise it didn’t count.

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  31. MarkedMan says:

    @James Joyner:

    Some states have very restrictive policies on abortion, others have essentially none.

    Or another way of saying this: Some states allow religious fundamentalists to make life changing decisions on behalf of women who get pregnant, the man who imseminated her, and all of their close relations, while other states mind their own damn business

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  32. al Ameda says:

    This is a minority (not a majority) governed country, so the fact that a majority of the people polled on this issue oppose overturning Roe, it just does not matter.

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  33. Andre Kenji de Sousa says:

    @Gustopher:

    There isn’t a lot of middle ground there

    There is plenty of middle ground. As I pointed out even people on the antiabortion side does not want women to bear children from their rapist, and late term abortions are pretty unpopular among the general population.

    (I imagine that easy access to abortion -government provided- until something like the first trimester and banning afterwards would be a interesting compromise).

    @Kylopod:

    Not a single one of them references abortion specifically, and only one of them mentioned anything so much as hinting at the issue: Tom Nichols with his “family values” phrase.

    Tom Nichols says that he is pro-choice and pro-control. People that used to vote Republican because of abortion are NOW voting Republican because of Trump.

    The problem for Democrats on abortion used to be that there were many people in Southern and Mideastern states that sympathized with them on economics but did not sympathize with them on cultural issues, like abortion. Kerry would probably have won the Presidency if he had won among Catholics.

    But I don’t know if this calculation works on the age of Trump, and I don’t think that abortion alone could increase the Democratic share of the White Vote. The Democrats can’t win with only the vote of minorities and single women, that’s for sure.

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  34. wr says:

    @James Pearce: “We should be, “So you don’t like abortion? That’s cool. Do you like NATO?””

    I’ve seen this suggested before. The Democrats can attract all sorts of Republican voters, and the only price is that they give up defending the right of women to control their own reproduction.

    Oddly, every time I’ve seen this suggested, it’s always been by a man.

    Just as every time I’ve seen it suggested that Democrats could win over a lot Republicans by ending support for LGBTQ rights, it’s always from a straight man. And when it’s suggested that we could take over if only we stopped trying to bring equality to the lives of blacks and latinos, it’s always from a white man.

    Maybe, just maybe, someone will suggest that the way to get Republicans to vote Democratic would be to give up a right that actually impacts himself — but if that happens, it won’t be from the Pearces of the world.

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  35. grumpy realist says:

    @MarkedMan: And a hellova lot of women would be up on charges for involuntary manslaughter via miscarriages….

    A lot of people get into a tizzy about the seemingly-silly distinction we make of a foetus (before birth) which then turns into a baby (after birth.) But look at it from a legal point of view: after a baby has been born, there is absolutely no way that you can insist the parent be forced to donate blood or bone marrow or ANYTHING for the baby, even if the baby is about to die and said parent’s blood/bone marrow/whatever is absolutely necessary for life. So if you don’t want the distinction, why do pro-lifers insist that the foetus DOES have a mandatory claim on the woman’s body BEFORE birth?!

    (Sheesh. These guys aren’t even consistent with their own attitudes.)

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  36. Leonard says:

    @MarkedMan: No, you can’t physically get to the fetus for a baptism.

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  37. MarkedMan says:

    @Leonard: That’s just silly. You have to be pretty deep into religious mumbo jumbo to think that baptism saves a baby from eternity in limbo but it doesn’t count if you say the words but don’t physically touch the “baby”. In fact, it sounds like one of the rules my older sister would make up when she had claimed my seat because I don’t save it “American Eagle” or some such childish fancy.

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  38. Kylopod says:

    @Andre Kenji de Sousa:

    The problem for Democrats on abortion used to be that there were many people in Southern and Mideastern states that sympathized with them on economics but did not sympathize with them on cultural issues, like abortion. Kerry would probably have won the Presidency if he had won among Catholics.

    According to polls, American Catholics are about equally divided on the abortion issue, despite what the Church may say.

    http://www.pewforum.org/religious-landscape-study/religious-tradition/catholic/views-about-abortion/

    Sure, Kerry might have won over a few culturally conservative, economically populist Catholics if he’d held different views on abortion. But he would have alienated more pro-choice voters in the process, who might have stayed home on Election Day or voted third party if they felt Kerry vs. Bush wasn’t much of a “choice.” That’s Politics 101: there are always tradeoffs.

    Now, if your argument is that Dems should be open to running pro-life candidates in culturally conservative areas, sure. As for how much they should do this without totally losing their identity as a party, I don’t think there’s a simple answer. But I definitely don’t believe abortion should be some absolute litmus test for all Democrats everywhere.

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  39. Gustopher says:

    @James Pearce:

    Maybe because instead of asking, “How can I draw more people into the Democratic party?” you’re asking, “How can I draw more people into the Democratic party without conceding anything to pro-lifers?”

    I might be willing to throw women under a bus, if you just said which bus.

    How does the Democratic Party remain the Democratic Party, and attract prolife voters?

    I don’t think it can.

    We can attract abortion-ambivalent voters, with policies and proposals to reduce the need for abortion, and if there was another party interested in governing, we could reach across the aisle to pass some of that.

    I think you want the Democrats to expand to the point where anyone who doesn’t love Trump and want to have his babies feels at home as a Democrat. But I don’t think a single party can hold the values of the entirety of the left 75% of the country.

    There isn’t a good compromise position. A woman gets to control her body and medical decisions, or she doesn’t. Do we abandon Roe, and declare that “the decision to carry a pregnancy to term is best left between a woman, her doctor and her state government”? Is that what you want? What do you want?

    Are prolife folks really going to be swayed by “after the first trimester, we need evidence that the fetus is malformed”? No, they are just going to vote for the reliably prochoice party.

    Abortion might not matter to you. But it matters a lot to a lot of people on both sides. It’s not something we can just wave away and say “we’ll, we don’t focus on that, but NATO is great, right?”

    Is that it? Do you just not want people to care about abortion and anything else you don’t care about?

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  40. James Pearce says:

    @wr:

    The Democrats can attract all sorts of Republican voters, and the only price is that they give up defending the right of women to control their own reproduction.

    Or…the Democrats can attract all sorts of Republican voters, and the only price is that they accept that a lot of people disagree with them about abortion but agree with them on a lot of other things.

    But go on, then. Fight your war.

    @Gustopher:

    There isn’t a good compromise position.

    And that is exactly why “abortion” should be taken from the number two or three spot way down to something like twelve or thirteen on the list of “What it Takes to be a Good Democrat.”

    You and wr can still care about the issue as much as you want.

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  41. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Kylopod: Throw in wives, and heads of household. Democrats have wrung out all the juice to be had over gender wedge issues. Time for a new approach. The women most likely to go pull a lever are attracted to appeals made to other demographics they reside in besides being a woman. Of course, I wouldn’t expect the geezers that run the Party to have picked up on that. It’s still 1992 to them

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  42. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @wr: You do realize that its possible to energize someone the large pool of people that DONT vote to support your party. The reason most voters dont even come to the polls is both partys are caricatures of governing organizations with no approach to deal with current problems, discover future problems, and implement solutions of either. Your gumbo of slogans and fights are neither a vision nor and indicator of values. Therefore the reserves of uninterested voters remains untapped.

    @Gustopher: An herein lies a problem, abortion rights are not a value…its a litmus test. And frankly, it’s become an abstraction that’s divorced from any narrative the party has painted about the social unit most people are familiar with… families. Of course Democrats believe they are the party of families…their message frequency and intensity on abortion vs families however says otherwise.

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  43. Andre Kenji de Sousa says:

    @Kylopod:

    Now, if your argument is that Dems should be open to running pro-life candidates in culturally conservative areas, sure.

    No. My argument is that there are points in the polls that suggest that Democrats lost Presidential elections in part because of the abortion issue. I don’t know if Kerry would have won Catholics with a anti-abortion stance, but I know that some points in the polls suggest that Carter, Dukakis and Kerry were damaged by their abortion stance in the South and Midwest.

    I frankly don’t know if these factors are valid today. But I understand why some Democrats are wary about losing elections over abortion and that Democrats need a larger share of the White vote.

    To be sincere I think that cultural issues are political losers for center-left parties. There is a reason why the Right likes to bring the debate to cultural issues – they would lose a debate solely on economics.

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  44. Guarneri says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    “If women ever start to really see themselves as a group identity, you’d see a tidal wave in American politics.”

    I love poking you in the eye, Michael, but I always have time for what you say. But you might as well have just said when pigs fly. That’s been the whole problem with liberals, Michael. This whole notion of robotic behavior based upon some narrow personal attribute like gender, sexual orientation or skin color. Women can and do have differing views on an issue like abortion. I’m unencumbered by religious or narcissistic attitudes towards abortion. I can see the reasons for attitudes held on the competing rights of child and mother, which is what this is really about.

    If religious views cause one to define life as occurring at conception, then one has no choice but to oppose abortion absolutely. Others view a “woman’s right to choose” as absolute, giving no thought to a child’s rights as it exists basically right up until birth, giving us the ghastly partial birth abortions. Surely there must be a sensible midpoint. In fact, unlike the women’s rights zealots would have one believe, most of the world does just that. This demonstrates the diversity of views. Women are not a monolithic thinking block.

    For the sake of argument let’s just say the first trimester is the dividing line. It would address all the pro life concerns about mistakes, rapes, time for consideration and action. It won’t satisfy the absolutists on either side, but it’s the only way to get to that large voting bloc you envision. Democrats ought to think about how identity politics has created a pup tent out of that big tent. It’s a self inflicted wound visited upon them by the crazy factions.

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  45. Kylopod says:

    @Andre Kenji de Sousa:

    I don’t know if Kerry would have won Catholics with a anti-abortion stance, but I know that some points in the polls suggest that Carter, Dukakis and Kerry were damaged by their abortion stance in the South and Midwest.

    Why single out the losers? They didn’t have any different a stance on abortion than Clinton or Obama, who both twice won more electoral votes than any Republican has since 1992. And Carter, let us remember, won almost the entire South in 1976.

    Of course the Democratic position on abortion lost them some votes, but it gained them others. It probably helped entrench Democratic power in places like California and New York. I really don’t see what meaningful point you’re making other than that taking a position on any issue of importance has consequences. I’m also puzzled as to what you think Democrats ought to do differently in national elections.

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  46. KM says:

    @Guarneri :

    I can see the reasons for attitudes held on the competing rights of child and mother, which is what this is really about.

    To refine this further, it’s the competing rights of two parties with one making rather demanding biological requirements for survival and the other being the only one who can accommodate that need. A sensible midpoint would be clarifying and applying this concept universally – do you or do you not have the right to request biological material and support from another in order to live? If bodily autonomy was a little more fluid for the general population their whole lives, this would be a different conversation. What do we owe to a stranger to keep them alive?

    For instance, I’m a blood donor. O-, CMV- which means I will be stalked to the end of my days for my blood since it’s necessary for babies in the NICU and other vulnerable populations. I get multiple calls a day regarding donations, future plans, have I considered being an organ donor, yadda yadda. I give my blood freely because I know it saves lives. What if someone had the right to take it, to demand I yield a pint ASAP regardless of my feelings, preferences or even health (anemia’s a bitch)? What if someone TRIED to take it after I said no, citing a dying baby somewhere that only I can save? My entire viewpoint on blood donations would go sour in a second.

    Want a compromise? How about abortion is illegal only so long as 75>% of the population in each state willing and legally gives up autonomy in terms of blood and tissue donation every year. Need to be an organ donor for the ones you can lose without dying as well – you only need one lung! Sign-up is yearly and in person at the DMV, never automatic and a ton of paperwork to prevent the inevitable lawsuits. Should the numbers of registered and compliant people fall past the mark, all abortion’s legal again and incontestable in any way for a least a decade before this can be tried again. Should the goal be met, all forms of abortion but to save the live of the mother is illegal for the entire year. The benefits would be a healthier population, more medical resources for ill patients and everyone would have a better understanding of what it means to give up freedom to save someone’s life. …… it will never work, but that’s the point. If you can’t agree to give up control of what happens to your body infrequently to save a baby, don’t demand it of a woman for 9 months continuously.

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  47. MarkedMan says:

    @Guarneri:

    For the sake of argument let’s just say the first trimester is the dividing line

    Yeah, that’s the idea! Let’s say unrestricted access in the first trimester, access with some restrictions in the second, and third trimester abortions not banned (life of the mother, deformed fetus, etc) but even more heavily restricted. Now that would be a working compromise! Oh wait… that’s Roe v Wade.

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  48. george says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    True, it is largely age, with this caveat: I thing abortion is voting issue for women while it generally is not for men. Add that enthusiasm to the already wide gender gap and the Republicans would be in trouble. Do you think Ted Cruz really wants to see Roe overturned? I don’t, because I think he knows it could tip Texas.

    I agree that abortion is a voting issue for far more women than it is for men (for men its largely a convenience if they’re pro-choice, an abstract principle if they’re pro-life); however its a voting issue for women both ways so the gain for the D’s has been smaller than you suggest – I suspect every woman who feels strongly about it is already voting one way or another.

    In terms of Cruz, I don’t think he or most of the GOP want Roe overturned, and for a number of reasons. One is doing so would turn off young voters, and most voters pick a party when they first vote and stick with it the rest of their life no matter who the candidates are – the long term consequences of overturning Roe would be terrible for the GOP, but not just because of women … young men are also fans of abortion, and might well vote on it for their first election (hormones are pretty strong at age 18, as is the fear of being tied to a child).

    As well, its a great thing for them to use to rally the troops – get rid of Roe and that’s gone. Which is why they never seriously tried under Reagan or either Bush; why give up such a powerful tool? It reminds me of Chretien’s Liberal gov’t in Canada in the 1990’s, which ran on free daycare several elections in a row, yet despite winning consecutive majorities (with which you can do anything in Canada) never getting around to actually implementing it. Way too good as an election platform to ruin by actually putting it into law.

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  49. george says:

    @Gustopher:

    Either a woman controls her body, and gets to choose whether she wants a relatively simple procedure done now, or to have her entire body change and go through the more risky childbirth a bunch of months down the line — or she doesn’t.

    There isn’t a lot of middle ground there.

    That’s a pretty good point. I think however a lot of conservatives think neither women nor men should have the right to control their bodies – the whole point of conscription and sending millions of young men to act as cannon fodder so the elite can enjoy more power and riches was that young men had no right to their own bodies (or lives for that matter) either.

    I think its interesting that the right of women to control their bodies (ie pro-choice) has been in step with that of young men to control their bodies (ie no compulsory military service); its a general right that’s been gained, and that many conservatives want to overthrow.

    Its also interesting in that one of the reasons governments have wanted high birth rates (and hence been against abortion in particular and women controlling their reproduction in general) is the desire for more young men to sacrifice – as armies have become professional rather than conscripted, that need has decreased and so both women and men have gained control of their bodies compared to a century ago.

    The war on drugs is another example of conservatives not thinking anyone has a right to control their own bodies. For an ideology that’s supposedly about rugged individualism and freedom from gov’t control, they’re remarkably unwilling to give people the control of their own bodies.

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  50. Leonard says:

    @MarkedMan: Sounds like you don’t know much about historic Christianity. As for the sacraments, we are bound to them but God isn’t.

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  51. inhumans99 says:

    I have read some of the comments but those are not why I am dropping into this thread, rather I just want to point out that Steven had a series of great posts (they may still be on the front page, so maybe a week or two old) about how over-turning Roe Vs Wade might make things even more difficult for the pro-life crowd (not to be confused with folks like myself who while Catholic fall into the more flexible pro-choice camp) as it removes a useful cudgel to use against us Godless heathen liberals who want to murder babies in the womb (I love that as a Catholic I am still lumped under this banner because I see nuance when it comes to the issue of abortion).

    I am with Michael, let’s just speed up the process of overturning Roe Vs Wade and hand it back to the state courts to deal with. If the reaction to some of the more draconian attempts to pass anti-abortion laws in places like South Dakota are any indication, the unflexible anti-abortion crowd are probably going to experience a rude surprise or two when it comes to the issue.

    I googled, yup…South Dakota passes their attempt to repeal Roe Vs. Wade in their state several years back with the politicians claiming this is what the majority of citizens in the state wanted to happen, and yet…they voted to repeal not long thereafter, interesting.

    The short term pearl clutching by many folks on the left (and some on the right) over what a disaster it is that Roe Vs Wade is no longer the law of the land will most likely fade pretty quickly when folks begin to see it as a net positive that this devisive ruling is no longer weaponized against the pro-choice crowd.

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  52. MarkedMan says:

    @Leonard:I wouldn’t claim to be an expert, but It might surprise you how much I know about historic christianity. It’s really beside the point, though. There is not much about baptism in either the Old or New Testament (and what is there is about voluntary, adult baptism) so what we have is based on tradition and mumbo jumbo from men wearing fancy dresses. Your belief that your religion requires a birth before a baptism is exactly that: your belief and your religion. If you now also believe that, contrary to 2000 years of tradition, life begins at conception, then logical consistency should dictate you change the tradition and start baptizing fetuses. Unless of course, you adhere to one of the Christian sects that believes you shouldn’t be baptized until you are an adult.

    Of course, with so many, many different sects of Christians and so many beliefs that actually differ so substantially between themselves, it makes it hard to know just what beliefs are key to christians and what is just something dreamt up by one Sunday school blatherer in a bad suit and matching haircut and validated the next Sunday as essential belief for salvation. In my current position as an outsider, it all seems a whole lot of arbitrary nonsense. And supporting evidence for this evaluation is that virtually every sect comes up with their own collection of “fundamental and obvious” beliefs, and none of them match another.

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  53. Andre Kenji de Sousa says:

    @Kylopod:

    Why single out the losers? They didn’t have any different a stance on abortion than Clinton or Obama,

    Because there were plenty of losers between 1973 and 2004, and that was correlated with Democrats losing a large share of the white vote in the Midwest and in the South. And Clinton and Obama wins are correlated with Congressional losses.

    And Carter, let us remember, won almost the entire South in 1976.

    And he lost most of the South four years later to a divorced Hollywood actor.

    Of course the Democratic position on abortion lost them some votes, but it gained them others.

    I don’t know. Social Conservatives and specially Evangelicals are toxic even to people that are generally opposed to abortion on demand, but in general these cultural issues are a political loser to the left. Sometimes they are the right thing to do, but don’t expect a political reward from them.

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  54. Guarneri says:

    @MarkedMan:

    R v W was a product of poor judicial reasoning. I’m advocating a legislative approach based upon reasoned debate.

    I see that is not present here.

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  55. Guarneri says:

    @KM:

    Gobbledygook.

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  56. Leonard says:

    @MarkedMan: You’re the guy who said that children aren’t considered human until 40 days. You don’t know much about historcal Christianity.

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  57. Kylopod says:

    @Andre Kenji de Sousa:

    Because there were plenty of losers between 1973 and 2004, and that was correlated with Democrats losing a large share of the white vote in the Midwest and in the South.

    That probably had a lot more to do with civil rights than abortion.

    And Clinton and Obama wins are correlated with Congressional losses.

    EVERY president has presided over Congressional losses for their party. It’s one of the most universal laws in US politics. Even those rare few who managed to stave off losses during one midterm (FDR in 1934, Clinton in 1998, Bush in 2002) suffered devastating losses during another (FDR in 1938, Clinton in 1994, Bush in 2006).

    Social Conservatives and specially Evangelicals are toxic even to people that are generally opposed to abortion on demand, but in general these cultural issues are a political loser to the left.

    You keep saying that, but I’m not seeing it. As I said, there’s a tradeoff. One of the most notable aspects of the rise of Bill Clinton–but which progressives most hate–is how he succeeded politically with a mix of moderate economic conservatism and uncompromising support for key liberal cultural positions, including abortion rights and gun control. It certainly lost him some voters who had once voted Democrat, but it attracted some upper-scale voters who had once voted Republican. It’s no accident that he once referred to himself as an Eisenhower Republican.

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  58. MarkedMan says:

    @Leonard: Don’t put words into my mouth. I said that christenings traditionally take place after 40 days. I don’t question for one second that virtually all twenty-first century people consider a new born to be a human.

    And starting about forty years ago, an increasing number of people claim to believe that an inseminated ovum is equivalent to that new born baby. Having been indoctrinated into such nonsense decent people can think abortion is horrific. I can also understand how someone who believes that stepping on a crack will break your mother’s back can be sincerely upset when someone else strides across a sidewalk without looking.

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  59. Andre Kenji de Sousa says:

    @Kylopod:

    EVERY president has presided over Congressional losses for their party. It’s one of the most universal laws in US politics

    Yes, but Obama and Clinton faced particularly large Congressional losses, more than other presidents.

    You keep saying that, but I’m not seeing it.

    I’m not seeing data showing the opposite, large number of center-left candidates that manages to win statewide elections on social issues. There are some elections where a male candidate lost because they said something stupid about rape, but that’s it.

    Bill Clinton was the guy that signed Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and DOMA.

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  60. Leonard says:

    @MarkedMan: You’re right, that was KM. Then again you’re arguing with me about what I said that’s historically accurate and you didn’t respond to him saying that children weren’t seen as people.

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  61. KM says:

    @Leonard:

    Her, darling.

    And if you don’t believe, here’s a link from a ministry pastor guide (to be fair though, it looks like we were a bit generous on the timeframe):

    The third argument, based on the uniform interpretation of Talmudic commentators, is undermined by the realization that even though the Jewish law taught that a fetus becomes a living soul at birth, it also stated that the infant is not considered to have lived at all up to 30 days after birth.

    Those were the teachings at the time Christianity formed and would have been present throughout it’s formative years at the very least. St. Augustine and Tertullian mention the same thing 200 years later as an ongoing debate. I found that with a 20-second google search – If I bothered to try, I could have a paper with citations ready in a day. These are documented facts about beliefs. The simple fact of the matter is that infant mortality absolutely drove the faith’s perception of babies as beings, let alone one’s still in the womb as not equal to a born child.

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  62. Leonard says:

    @KM: Bad day to be making this argument, when Ben Shapiro just wrote a major piece about it yesterday.

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  63. Kylopod says:

    @Andre Kenji de Sousa:

    Yes, but Obama and Clinton faced particularly large Congressional losses, more than other presidents.

    That isn’t quite accurate. I decided to review House losses in presidencies going back to the early 20th century. Here is what I found:

    Taft: 219 to 134 = 85 seats lost
    Wilson: 291 to 192 = 99 seats lost
    Harding/Coolidge: 303 to 270 = 33 seats lost
    Hoover: 270 to 117 = 153 seats lost
    FDR: 313 to 242 = 71 seats lost
    Truman: 242 to 213 = 29 seats lost
    Eisenhower: 221 to 175 = 46 seats lost
    JFK/LBJ: 262 to 243 = 19 seats lost
    Nixon/Ford: 192 to 143 = 49 seats lost
    Carter: 292 to 243 = 49 seats lost
    Reagan: 192 to 175 = 17 seats lost
    GHWB: 175 to 176 = 1 seat gained
    Clinton: 258 to 212 = 46 seats lost
    GWB: 221 to 178 = 43 seats lost
    Obama: 257 to 194 = 63 seats lost

    As you can see, Clinton lost the same number of seats as Nixon/Ford and Carter and only slightly more than Dubya. Obama’s loss of 63 seats looks pretty large in the modern era, but it’s still smaller than FDR (71 seats), Hoover (153 seats), Wilson (99 seats), or Taft (85 seats).

    Moreover, you have to consider where each president started off. Reagan endured relatively modest losses in the House, but his party never had a majority in the chamber at any point in his presidency. Carter, Clinton, and Obama–not to mention FDR–began their presidencies with large House majorities, so it’s not surprising their losses were much steeper. The more seats a party has, the more vulnerable it is.

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  64. MarkedMan says:

    @Leonard: are you arguing that there is a long history of considering inseminated plums as equivalent to a new born? If so, you’re wrong. If not, well, I’m not sure what you are arguing.

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  65. Kylopod says:
  66. KM says:

    @Leonard:
    Try again, I’m not the only one who can point out this bullshite.

    His recent tweet that “virtually every major Jewish halakhist of the modern era has barred abortion except when the life of the mother is threatened,” met pushback from thousands of responses, many from rabbis and Jewish academics citing both published halakhic decisions and responsa, as well as anecdotal testimony, demonstrating the opposite.

    Look, I get you don’t want to admit this but people back then didn’t have the same warm and fuzzies towards babies we do today. Perceptions of moral and the human condition change and usually change for the better. Hell, it wasn’t that long ago that little children worked themselves to death in dangerous jobs because the concept of “childhood” as we know it was is an Industrial Revolution byproduct.

    I’m unsure why this is the hill you choose to die on. There’s literally millennia of documentation to back up the original point. Yours is a rewrite of history and theology less then 50 years old. The original point stands: if a fetus is a person, then it should be treated as one in religious ceremonies such as baptism with no difference then a born child. Not only that, but most social and religious ceremonies acknowledging a child as a member of the community take place not at birth but rather a month plus after birth. You’ve yet to offer proof to the contrary.

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  67. KM says:

    @Kylopod:
    Damnit, beat me by few minutes! Damn lagging keyboard…..

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  68. teve tory says:

    @Kylopod: I occasionally disagree with you, but kudos on being data-driven.

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  69. Kylopod says:

    @KM: It looks like our posts were off by literally 3 seconds.

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  70. Kylopod says:

    Oh, that was 3 minutes, nm.

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  71. teve tory says:

    @KM:

    Not only that, but most social and religious ceremonies acknowledging a child as a member of the community take place not at birth but rather a month plus after birth. You’ve yet to offer proof to the contrary.

    The most memorable thing about my single anthropology class in college was the professor explaining that in his home country, which I believe was Nepal, historically they didn’t name babies until a month or so had passed, because if it died, then it wasn’t really a child, more like a ghost or a tumor or something, and nobody had to mourn it. Only when it survived a month or so and got a name was it a Person.

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  72. KM says:

    @teve tory:

    It’s striking how if you go back through old records like the Census, church documents or family records how many nameless births appear. I remember being struck by the though that you name only something of value. A human being without a name is something strange – a person’s identity and existence is deeply tied to the concept of a Name. That these little human beings didn’t even merit a name because nature was cruel enough to end their life days after it began was jarring, especially in today’s age where you get asked about baby names almost immediately. My grandfather had 3 sisters listed in separate Censuses we didn’t even know about, all nameless and gone within ten years time. They only exist in government records as “Baby Girl, Age One” and the like, there’s no family stories of them at all.

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  73. Mister Bluster says:

    Let’s start here.

    Human Life Begins Before Conception
    The eggs in a human female’s body are alive and are human eggs.
    The sperm in a human male’s body are alive and are human sperm.

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  74. Andre Kenji de Sousa says:

    @Kylopod:

    I decided to review House losses in presidencies going back to the early 20th century. Here is what I found:

    I was thinking more about the Senate, specially because of SCOTUS nominations. 😉 Both Clinton and Obama had a majority in the Senate only for two years.

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  75. Kylopod says:

    @Andre Kenji de Sousa:

    I was thinking more about the Senate

    Without going into the same detail, let’s just say that the amount of Senate seats lost under Obama and Clinton was not unusually large compared with other presidents historically.

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  76. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @teve tory: In Korea, the tradition is to have a party for the child’s 1ooth day of life. My Korean friends explained that the significance of 100 days is that until 100 days have elapsed, no one would be certain that the child would survive. Why 100 days, I’m not sure, but this also conforms to an element in Michael Chabon’s The Yidish Policemen’s Union (?)” where the narrator notes (IIRC) that Yiddish didn’t believe that children were safe from “crib death” (which the narrator ascribes to the Devil killing the child for spite) until 100 days. After 100 days, the child would be named, before 100 days, the child would be given a false name so that the child’s soul would not be able to be found to take to hell.

    Not much logic over all, but interesting in the context of when does life start.

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  77. Barry says:

    @James Joyner: ” If Roe were overturned–and I’m skeptical that it will be—very little will change except in the handful of states where it’s already extremely challenging to get an abortion.”

    No.

    Here’s a sumary:
    http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2018/07/pundit-knows-nothing-abortion-law-confident-overruling-roe-will-just-fine

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