by Rod D. Martin
September 20, 2013

In what could well be enough to make Wendy Davis’s head pop, a new Quinnipiac poll finds that 60 percent of women support the sort of abortion ban after 20 weeks (or five months) of pregnancy just enacted in Texas. Contemporaneous polls from ABC News-Washington Post and The National Journal find similar results.

This is an earthquake. Up to now, the conventional wisdom has been that abortion is a winning issue for Democrats, and a key to keeping women’s support.

No longer. And it’s not just women. As the National Journal put it, “Overall, the survey suggests that the 20-week abortion measure fractures some of the modern Democratic coalition. Among all age groups, it was young Americans — who have regularly sided with Democratic priorities in the age of Obama — who most strongly supported the measure.”

Surprisingly to some, it is actually men who disagree, narrowly supporting a 20 week ban but by 10 percent less than women.  As one wag put it on Facebook, “of course men want legal abortions:  it’s a lot harder to force your pregnant girlfriend to get an illegal abortion.”

(Okay, I’ll admit it.  That wag was me.)

The fact is, men forcing abortion on vulnerable women is all too often the reality.  And women are waking up.  They’re also waking up to the fact that a five month “fetus” (Latin for “baby”) is viable:  it has an extraordinary chance of living a full life if delivered prematurely.  Killing it is an obscenity, even to a lot of people who don’t consider themselves pro-life.  And that date of viability drops every single year.

The more you realize those truths, the more you realize these as well:  first, abortion is a women’s rights issue mostly because men abuse women by making them have abortions, not by making them keep their babies; and second, that really is a baby.  Killing it is horribly, horribly wrong.

The lie often told by pro-abortion groups that the unborn child is just “a nonhuman parasitic lump of tissue” begins to fray when women see sonograms of their babies, when they see news photos of infants holding a doctor’s finger when he’s performing life-saving surgery on them in the womb, and when other courageous women speak up about the abortions they had and regret, or the abortions they considered and refused.  Movies like Juno and short films like Crescendo — the story of Beethoven’s abused mother — make an enormous impact too.  What if you’re killing the next Einstein?  Or just the most precious part of your own life?

It took a long time to cut through the financial, legal and convenience issues that kept slavery alive.  Some countries (like ours) never really overcame them:  we just had a bloody war instead.  It should not surprise us that abortion is no different.  It’s a lot closer to home.

Still, those conservatives who oppose sonogram laws, and 20 week bans, and the partial-birth abortion fight, need to wake up.  Each of these has helped millions see the true horror of abortion.  It would be nice to simply affirm life by fiat, but that is neither possible, nor is it America’s system:  the people have to agree to the laws they live under.  We know that precious lives are our tiniest and most vulnerable citizens, protected every bit as much by the Equal Protection Clause as we are.  But not enough people see what we see, and laws like these — and crucially, the battles surrounding them — win converts to the cause of life every single time.  Those converts make each subsequent victory possible, until the battle someday is won.

America is becoming pro-life.  Americans are re-learning the need to protect those weakest among us.  Rome did this once too:  Romans would leave babies on their stoops, exposed to the elements, as an Obama-like “post-birth abortion”.  Rescuing these babies was punishable by death, but that’s exactly what the early Christians did.  Their ultimate victory — paid for with the blood of many martyrs — resolved the issue of abortion for almost 2,000 years.

That’s exactly what we will do, in this generation.  And the legislatures of Texas, North Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Idaho, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Georgia, Alabama and Arkansas, in banning abortion after 20 weeks, have taken a long step toward that ultimate goal of living up to the words of our Declaration of Independence, that “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”