A national survey suggests that Americans are tolerant of those who choose to seek an abortion, but overwhelmingly believe that the procedure is morally wrong.
A Gallup poll released Monday shows the number of Americans who consider themselves pro-choice is up slightly ahead for the first time since 2008. Respondents are closely divided with 49 percent now labeling themselves "pro-choice" and 45 percent identifying as “pro-life.” Between 2009 and 2010 as many as 51 percent of respondents believed themselves to be pro-life while only 42 percent identified as pro-choice.
The poll seems to suggest that Americans are buying into abortion provider Planned Parenthood’s supposed mission of empowering women, men and teens through reproductive and sexual health services.
However, 51 percent of respondents answered that abortion is a morally wrong practice when questioned about ethical implications of abortion. Only 39 percent of those polled believe abortion is morally acceptable.
The morality responses are consistent with Americans' view on abortion since 2007. Since that time, public opinion labeling abortion as immoral hovered above 50 percent.
Americans' personal beliefs that abortion is immoral have given momentum to pro-life efforts aimed at cutting taxpayer funding to abortion providers.
Last month, Republicans and social conservatives urged Congress to cut federal funds going to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers from the budget. The measures to strip abortion providers of Title X funds passed in the U.S. House of Representatives, but failed in the U.S. Senate by a 42-58 vote. States have since picked up the effort. This month, Indiana became the first state to bar federal tax dollars, in the form of Medicaid payments, from going to clinics that provide abortions.
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said of the Indiana bill, "This law is a tremendous victory for the pro-life movement and for taxpayers who will no longer be forced to pad the profit line of Indiana Planned Parenthood abortion clinics."
Exclusive Op-eds from the Presidential Campaigns
It is illegal for federal funds to be spent on abortion services. Yet many abortion providers do receive federal funds for health services offered, in some cases, in the same buildings where abortions are performed, according to Penny Nance, CEO of Concerned Women for America.
Title X funds that abortion providers receive from the federal government for health services are "co-mingled" with the budget for its abortion services operations, Nance told The Christian Post.
Pro-life advocates believe that Americans who believe that abortion is wrong should not be forced to fund abortion providers with their tax dollars.
David Bereit, national campaign director of 40 Days for Life, noted that without federal funding, abortion clinics have plenty of support, particularly from celebrities. "They (celebrities) certainly have people with deep pockets that can make up for their expenditures.”