Sunday, April 09, 2006

Pro-Choice for Me

It's been my long-held belief that this country is much more "pro-choice" than opinion polls show but there's been a failure to educate people about what this really means. Lots of people think abortion is icky, but still imagine that it'll be an option for them when they want it. They know, of course, that they'll have a "good" abortion while lots of other people have "bad" abortions and the trick is to make them understand that when they're in that situation the choice is between letting them, personally, decide whether their abortion is "good" or whether they need to ring up Bill Frist and get his opinion.

I'm not so surprised by this article about the apparent popularity of the movement to overturn the South Dakota abortion ban. Certainly the percentage of legislators who voted for the ban is greater than that of those in that state who describe themselves as pro-life. Most people in this country really don't want to turn it into El Salvador on this issue.

STURGIS, S.D. — Volunteers pushing to overturn the nation's most far-reaching abortion ban are surprised and delighted by the response as they circulate petitions to put the law up for a public vote.

Even in the most conservative corners of this conservative state, both Republicans and Democrats — including some voters who say they oppose abortion — are eagerly signing the petition. In two weeks, volunteers have collected a third of the signatures they need to get a November referendum on the ban.

My favorite is this guy.

"I don't believe in abortion. It's just an excuse to get wild," said Daniel Perea, 28. "Guys think, 'Oh well, if you end up pregnant, all we have to do is come up with $300 and we can go across the state and get an abortion.' It's very dangerous to let people choose that."

Perea said he spoke from experience: He helped three former girlfriends obtain abortions. He believes God punished him with a childless marriage and his recent divorce; he wants to make sure other young couples don't make the same mistake. "We have to put our foot down," he said.

Elsewhere in the article you get the key lesson national Democrats should take from the South Dakota case: most voters don't think Republicans are serious about banning abortion. Well, they are, and most people don't like that very much. If this gets on the ballot in November, and the voters of that state vote to nullify the law, I hope people finally understand that choice is, in fact, a winning issue.