The Corner

Re: New Polls on Abortion

Ramesh, do you think it’s possible that the understanding of what the terms pro-life and pro-choice mean to people is shifting?

Let’s say a person takes the following position:  “I think abortion should be available in cases of rape, incest or where the mother’s health is threatened, and that it should otherwise be strictly regulated and not available merely as an alternative birth control method.” 

To my knowledge, that has always gone down on the scorecard as a pro-choice position.  But is it possible that such a person now has a self-perception that his position is generally pro-life and that he is, therefore, pro-life.  Put another way, has the term pro-choice now become more identified in the public mind with one who favors abortion-on-demand, such that it is affecting the poll numbers you and Ed mention.  I wonder if we’re seeing the sort of cultural developments you talk about in your excellent book, but that polling hasn’t caught up with how to measure it yet since it’s based on a gross “are you pro-life or pro-choice” approach.