A Christmas prayer: Blessed be the confused

Commentary by David Brandao

At the risk of reading too much into polling data, I couldn’t help but notice that some recent surveys offer much to ponder when it comes to Americans’ attitudes about abortion. To say the least, polls about abortion make a wonderful Christmas grab bag. There’s always something for everyone.

The freshest poll comes from the New York Times and CBS News. It shows 18 percent of those questioned say abortion should not be permitted at all; 43 percent say there should be more restrictions; 36 percent say abortion should be generally available (the rest are undecided).

Pro-life word wizards can add 18 and 43 to say that 61 percent of Americans oppose abortion on demand. Spinmeisters from the other side can add 43 and 36 to say a whopping 79 percent of Americans want to retain the “right to choose.” Yes, something for everyone. America is both pro-life and “pro-choice.” Obviously, that can’t be right.

Or can it? A look at some additional polling suggests that could indeed be the case.

A CNN / Opinion Research Corporation poll showed a similar statistical breakdown, although the questions were slightly different. In that survey, 23 percent said abortion should always be legal; 54 percent said abortion should sometimes be legal; 22 percent said abortion should never be legal. So depending on the direction you want to spin this, either 76 percent of Americans are against abortion on demand or 77 percent of Americans are “pro-choice.”

What really seems to be the case is that a whole lot of Americans are confused.

This second poll proved the point by following up with another question: What’s your personal opinion about abortion? When asked if having an abortion is wrong, 60 percent said yes and 36 percent said no (the rest weren’t sure).

If 60 percent say abortion is wrong, why do only 22 percent want it to be illegal? Conversely, if 36 percent say abortion is okay, why do only 23 percent want to permit it unconditionally? Could it be that the 60 percent aren’t really sure abortion is a bad thing and the 36 percent aren’t really sure it’s a good thing?

When you compare the answers, the clear winner is confusion. But come to think of it, that could play perfectly into the hands of Planned Parenthood and its cohorts. Planned Parenthood can thrive if it successfully fosters a climate of ambivalence, where not enough people are really fired up enough about abortion to challenge the status quo.

The good news is that there’s still time to undo what this organization has done. Unfortunately, too many people who self-identify as pro-life have swallowed Planned Parenthood’s lie. The mantra of “I’m personally opposed to abortion, but won’t impose my will on others” has been repeated so often that it makes sense to many people. It shouldn’t; but it does.

I wonder if the survey would have had similar results if the questions had been about carjacking or smoking crack. I doubt it. High percentages would consider both actions to be both wrong and unlawful. In all likelihood, there would be near unanimity. Somehow, the lines between right and wrong are unexplainably blurred when it comes to abortion. Thank you, Planned Parenthood!

Still, it’s noteworthy that Planned Parenthood hasn’t totally convinced even the folks on its own side that abortion is simply another aspect of “comprehensive reproductive health care” that one can engage in with a guilt-free conscience.

Perhaps it’s because there really is something wrong with abortion. Otherwise, why would the abortion-on-demand crowd position itself as “pro-choice,” without bothering to mention by name that nasty little surgical procedure that mothers should be free to choose? Choice is safe. Choice is all-American. Choice is good. Abortion just sounds so … untidy.

Planned Parenthood, though it solemnly intones that abortion accounts for a mere three percent of its services, has seen its share of the abortion market increase every year. As of its last annual report, the numbers show that Planned Parenthood alone has garnered more than 20 percent of the U.S. abortion business. It is now constructing abortion mega-centers, such as a massive facility that just opened in the Chicago suburbs and a huge complex proposed near Denver, in an effort to further grow its market share.

It would appear that the only limitation Planned Parenthood wants to see is a scenario in which abortions are limited to Planned Parenthood. It wants to be America’s abortionist. No others need apply. Things seem to be headed in that direction. Those who do wish to exercise the so-called right to choose will have fewer options, which is somewhat ironic considering Planned Parenthood’s embrace of “choice” ? an embrace that gets warmer and fuzzier each December.

For several years now, Planned Parenthood has offered greeting cards (they’re “holiday cards,” of course, not Christmas cards) with the message, “choice on earth.” There’s the obvious mockery of the Christian gospel, which is often part and parcel of the organization’s message. But this year’s versions are interesting for another reason as well. Some of the cards feature an illustration of a mother and a small child, perhaps an attempt to show that Planned Parenthood is a benevolent organization that does good things for moms, kids and the community.

‘Tis the season to be choosy. Never mind those 264,943 dead babies. We’re supposed to choose to ignore them. (The number, by the way, is an actual yearly abortion total taken from Planned Parenthood’s own annual report.)

No wonder people are so confused. No wonder that seemingly so few people are honestly bothered any more by the fact that more than one million lives are lost to abortion every year.

This year, my Christmas prayer is for an end to the confusion; a blessing for all those misguided souls who have unwittingly fallen under the influence of those who call evil good and good evil. May Jesus Christ, whose birth we celebrate, bring clarity to their eyes and truth to their hearts.

“For you were once darkness,” wrote the Apostle Paul, “but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light” (Ephesians 5:8).

Release issued: 21 Dec 07