Roe v. Wade Anniversary: Clinics Closing, but Abortion Opinions as Divided as Ever?

Tuesday marks the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in the United States, and despite the significant number of abortion clinic closures, polls have suggested that the nation remains as divided on the issue as ever before.

Pro-life group the American Rights Coalition recently released a report that noted that since 1991, a total of 70 percent of abortion facilities in the nation have closed doors. Twenty years ago, there were 2,176 surgical abortion clinics nationwide, but today there are only 660, with the number decreasing, which the pro-life group says is a sign for optimism.

"Only 12 percent of counties in the Unites States actually have abortion clinics," Charles Wysong of the American Rights Coalition said in a phone interview with The Christian Post.

What is more, in 2012, an average of seven abortion clinics closed each month, and five states – Arkansas, Mississippi, Wyoming, North and South Dakota – have only one clinic each.

"Abortion has been legal for 40 years this month, and 57 million babies have paid with their lives. While the pro-life movement has not ended all abortions yet, it has made some significant progress," added Ken Brady, president of Planned Childhood Life.

A recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll on abortion views in America revealed, however, that a slight majority of Americans now support the legalization of abortion.

"These are profound changes," remarked Republican pollster Bill McInturff, who conducted the poll along with Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart. The survey shows that seven out of 10 of those who responded to the poll do not believe that Roe v. Wade needs to be overturned, the highest percentage since 1989.

"The dialogue we have had in the last year has contributed … to inform and shift attitudes," McInturff added.

The exact question on abortion asked by the poll read: "Which comes closest to your view on abortion – abortion should always be legal, should be legal most of the time, should be made illegal except in cases of rape, incest and to save the mother's life, or abortion should be made illegal without any exceptions?"

The results showed that 31 percent of respondents said that abortion should always be legal, while another 23 percent said that it should be legal most out of the time – adding up to 54 percent of respondents holding a largely supportive view of early termination. Those that said that it should be illegal without any exceptions were only nine percent.

In his interview with CP, Wysong from the American Rights Coalition said that such polls have always been circulating, but that they don't prove what the majority of Americans really support.

Wysong expressed that the issue is a "spiritual battle" that the Church needs to begin addressing more directly. The American Rights Coalition founder said that he has been battling abortion for over 30 years, and believes Christians need to step up the fight to put an end to abortion.

"I see abortion as – yes babies are being murdered, and women are being injured – but I see abortion as an open affront to God. That ought to be driving Christians to action," Wysong said.

The pro-life activist insisted that there must be a common moral consensus in the country about what is right and what is wrong, if there is to be any progress made on the issue.

"The Church has got to take on the responsibility of developing a common moral consensus that starts with a clear understanding inside the Church of the laws of God," Wysong concluded, pointing to a report he wrote addressing the steps the Church needs to take in order to become more effective in the protection of unborn life.

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