THE U.S. House of Representatives last week passed a bill that would ban most abortions 20 weeks after conception. For that, U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen accused Republicans of waging a "war on women." If that is true, then would it not also be fair to say that Jeanne Shaheen, vocal champion of abortion, is waging a war on babies?
The Democrats' never-ending campaign to portray any restriction on abortion as a "war on women" is as tiresome as it is untrue and ineffective. Just look at the polling data.
Though Americans have been fairly evenly split on the topic of abortion for years, more Americans describe themselves as pro-life (48 percent) than pro-choice (45 percent) nowadays (Gallup poll, May 10). More tellingly, far more Americans support some restrictions on abortion than support no restrictions.
Per Gallup's May poll, 58 percent of Americans say abortion should be illegal in most or all situations vs. 39 percent who say it should be legal in most or all situations. The breakdown is not gender-specific. Twenty percent of both men and women say abortion should be illegal in all circumstances, while 38 percent of men and 37 percent of women say it should be legal "only in a few circumstances."
The percentage of women who say abortion should be legal "only in a few circumstances" (37) or "in all circumstances" (20) is greater than the percentage who say it should be legal "under any circumstances" (28) or "under most circumstances" (12). If supporting restrictions on abortion amounts to waging a "war on women," then it is a war being waged by a majority of women upon a minority of them.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, which compiles data on abortion and abortion laws, 41 states place restrictions on abortion after a certain point in the pregnancy. That's 81 percent of the states. Are they all waging a war on women?The House ban (which included exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother) started at 20 weeks because there is evidence that 20 weeks is when babies in the womb can begin to feel pain. Many doctors believe babies cannot feel pain until 24 weeks, which is the beginning of the third trimester. Eighty percent of Americans support banning abortion in the third trimester. Are they engaging in a war on women, too, or does the war begin with any restriction on or before 23 weeks, six days? Placing legal restrictions on abortion for the purpose of saving babies is not anti-woman. It's pro-baby. Most Americans get that. Jeanne Shaheen does not. So really, who is the extremist?