This week’s Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll shows a bit of movement in the national polls against the political left in this country, which shouldn’t surprise a soul given the riots in Portland and other assorted bad behavior.
Yet in a poll mostly focused around gun control and President Trump, it managed to squeeze in a question about the nation’s number one abortion provider—Planned Parenthood.
Despite calls from some pro-life organizations that we are “winning” the battle up front to end abortion in America, Planned Parenthood’s approval ratings stand at 52 percent. Of that, 36 percent support the abortion provider strongly:
More alarmingly, the shift of those who strongly support the abortion provider has increased significantly since the Obama era by 10 points, indicating an overall shift in public opinion over the course of the last four years. Opposition to the abortion provider remains steady, near 30 percent—the fluctuation being within the margin of error.
So what do these numbers mean? A couple of things.
First and foremost, it is no secret that the pro-life movement is at odds between two camps: one that seeks to end all abortion and the other that only seeks to end the abortion we can see. In short, while the weaker half of the pro-life movement celebrates European-style regulations on abortion, the abortion industry has leveraged this incrementalism in a campaign to frighten women and demonize the culture of life.
Second and perhaps more concerning is this. While the incrementalist strategy of saving some babies produces momentary headlines, it produces two results. Not only does it sacrifice the pro-life movement to a half-hearted gain, these headline grabbers undermine the argument in toto.
One need only look toward states such as New York, Illinois, and Virginia to see that an arbitrary goalpost—whether that is 20 weeks gestation or actual birth—becomes an exercise in futility. Life begins whenever we say it begins, so goes the argument.
No small wonder why pro-abortion politicians are more than happy to allow half-lifers (not pro-lifers) to negotiate how many babies are going to die for a headline.
Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood benefits from the game of a movement whose commitment to saving babies is merely half-hearted. The culture of life demands more, and as long as we continue to play Planned Parenthood’s game of regulating the so-called “right” to destroy another human person we will continue to reinforce Planned Parenthood’s image in the public square—as the polls vividly demonstrate.
The good news is that over one in four Americans have their doubts about Planned Parenthood as an abortion provider. The more we focus on what Planned Parenthood actually does and praise the alternatives to the culture of death, the sooner we can begin to have a real conversation about defending the basic human right to exist.
At best, pro-lifers should be wary of the machinations of the half-lifers. Incrementalism is not working, not just because it seeks to apply political solutions to spiritual diseases, but most of all because they are demonstrably wrong and playing into the hands of organizations such as Planned Parenthood.
The entire WSJ/NBC poll can be found by clicking here.