Saturday, June 8

Abortion Opinions and the State of the Non-debate

From a personal Facebook post.

Poll: Majority Want To Keep Abortion Legal, But They Also Want Restrictions

I've been thinking a lot about abortion. But I won't be sharing my nuanced views here at this time because of the likelihood of being attacked. (That is, I don't think expressing my views would be helpful enough to risk the negative near-certainty of attack.) Culturally we have moved away from the possibility of reasoned debate in public (including online). What 'wins', in the short term, is extremism. But the extremists on both sides are playing a short game that often damages their own long-term interests (which they're willing to do in their sense of self-righteousness).

I'm afraid politico-cultural polarization is a horse that's out of the barn and can't really be stopped at this point. But I do ask you, my friends, to contribute to reasoned debate and not to the shouting match that is not dialogue but just scoring cheap points among like-minded people (and further alienating those on the other side).

After that preamble, the point of this post is to share an extensive article on the results of a poll on abortion opinions. The results show a lot of degrees in US opinion. Then I'm interested in discussing the possibility of dialogue.

Obvious assumption (to me): public consensus does not equal or determine what is right.

A few quotes:

+ Three-quarters of Americans say they want to keep in place the landmark Supreme Court ruling, Roe v. Wade, that made abortion legal in the United States, but a strong majority would like to see restrictions on abortion rights.

+ "The public is very reactive to the arguments being put forth by the more committed advocates on both sides of the issue. The danger for Republicans is that when you look at independents, independents are moving more toward Democrats on this issue. ... When the debate starts overstepping what public opinion believes to be common sense, we've seen independents moving in Democrats' corner."

The most-strongly held opinions (as I read the analysis) are by women who identify as Republican and pro-life or Democrat and pro-choice. It makes sense, of course, that women would feel most strongly about this issue.

What conclusions do you draw about the variety of opinion?

And is there any way for us in the US to find some political common ground here and step back from a polarized culture war with nothing between us but a World War I-style 'no man's land'?

Disrespectful comments will be deleted.

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