May 22, 2009


Polls show culture of life is taking root across America

An unborn baby’s heart begins to beat at 18 days.

At 43 days, the baby’s brain coordinates movements.

All of his or her organs are functioning at eight weeks.

At nine weeks, he or she has permanent, individual fingerprints.

The baby’s sense of touch, including comfort and pain, begins at 10 weeks.

At 12 weeks, the baby can smile, suck his or her thumb, and make a fist.

These medical facts are provided by ProLife Across America, which sponsors a national billboard campaign whose goal is to save babies’ lives. These facts also cut right to the heart of the life issue for many people of faith.

And this ministry and other pro-life initiatives throughout America may be slowly changing hearts in the process.

Recent statistics seem to indicate that, where the abortion debate is concerned, the tide may be turning.

As Christians who value every human life from conception to natural death, we can be heartened by the results of recent surveys which indicate that may indeed be the case.

A Gallup Values and Beliefs survey conducted earlier this month found that a majority of Americans—51 percent—describe themselves as “pro-life” with respect to the abortion issue, while only 42 percent say they are “pro-choice.” A separate daily Gallup poll conducted a few days later in mid-May found a similar result: 50 percent of Americans described themselves as pro-life and 43 percent as pro-choice.

After years of being in the minority in these reported poll results, it appears that pro-life supporters are making headway and moving toward becoming the majority.

Last week’s news marks the first time since Gallup began asking the abortion question in 1995 that more respondents said they were pro-life than pro-choice.

To take the poll a step further, the result is a shift of 7 to 8 percentage points from a year earlier, when 50 percent of the people polled said they were pro-choice, and 44 percent said they were pro-life.

Though some people may question the Gallup results, a poll released by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press in late April had similar results.

It found that the number of Americans who said that abortion should be legal in all or most cases had declined to 46 percent in April from 54 percent in August 2008.

In the same Pew poll, 44 percent of the respondents said abortion should be illegal in most or all cases, up from 41 percent last August.

The move toward a pro-life majority is reflected in the response of Catholics and people from other faith traditions.

According to the Gallup Values and Belief survey, 52 percent of Catholic respondents in the 2009 poll described themselves as pro-life, compared to 45 percent of Catholics in 2008. Fifty-nine percent of Protestants or members of other Christian traditions described themselves as pro-life in 2009, as compared to 51 percent in 2008.

To put the most recent Gallup poll numbers in context, when the organization began conducting its Values and Belief survey in 1995, 56 percent of Americans described themselves as pro-choice, and only 33 percent said they were pro-life.

Fourteen years later, the latest polls show the conscience of our nation could indeed be swinging in favor of life.

There will be people who will try to convince pro-life supporters that we can’t change more hearts.

Our advice? Don’t let the naysayers tell you any differently: Slowly but surely, we are building a culture of life.

Our work must continue.

We have seized the momentum and must continue building on it, building a culture of life across America.

Through our prayers, words and actions, with sincerity and conviction, may we do just that.

—Mike Krokos

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