How Factions Work

Women jumped on the Stupak “Abortion” Amendment to last week’s health care train wreck (there, I said it) as a “women’s issue.”  There are many ways to classify such an enormously controversial topic, but below find some numbers that at least provide a jumping-off point as to who says what.

Evidently about 70% overall would not support a federal ban on first trimester abortions.

Here’s what’s interesting about public choice: It’s not about what you want, it’s about how loud you’ll shout for it.  So while this majority ostensibly would oppose a first-trimester abortion ban, evidently they don’t want it enough to shout as loud as the Viagra folks.

That’s not sexism, kiddos.  That’s the most elegantly-structured government on earth.

This post is really just a frame for the numbers below.  But here’s the takeaway: 1) Statistics are the most biased form of data; 2) It’s not about some binary “yes” or “no” inquiry, it’s all about degree and dollars and noise; and 3) Frankly I’m a little thrilled that private corporate interests beat out that sticky subsidized succubus Planned Parenthood.

And let’s not forget that critical fact, that the Stupak Amendment does not ban abortions UNLESS the public option cannibalizes all private care.  The only thing this amendment accomplished was excluding abortions from public funding.

Perhaps what we should gather from all this hue and cry is a resounding taps for private care.  If any of these folks believed private care would survive, we wouldn’t hear such an emotional death knell for abortion.

By gender, party, and region

A January 2003 CBS News/New York Times poll examined whether Americans thought abortion should be legal or not, and found variations in opinion which depended upon gender, party affiliation, and the region of the country.  The margin of error is +/- 4% for questions answered of the entire sample (“overall” figures) and may be higher for questions asked of subgroups (all other figures).
Group Generally available Available, but with stricter limits than now Not permitted
Overall 39% 38% 22%
Women 37% 37% 24%
Men 40% 40% 20%
Democrats 43% 35% 21%
Republicans 29% 41% 28%
Independents 42% 38% 18%
Northeasterners 48% 31% 19%
Midwesterners 34% 40% 25%
Southerners 33% 41% 25%
Westerners 43% 40% 16%

By trimester of pregnancy

CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll in January 2003 asked about the legality of abortion by trimester, using the question, “Do you think abortion should generally be legal or generally illegal during each of the following stages of pregnancy?”  This same question was also asked by Gallup in March 2000 and July 1996.
2003 Poll 2000 Poll 1996 Poll
Legal Illegal Legal Illegal Legal Illegal
First trimester 66% 29% 66% 31% 64% 30%
Second trimester 25% 68% 24% 69% 26% 65%
Third trimester 10% 84% 8% 86% 13% 82%
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