Texas, abortion and the forgotten middle

Texas, abortion and the forgotten middle

Abortion rights advocates protest abortion restrictions being debated in the Texas House in July 2017. The frighteningly archaic, unworkable and very likely unconstitutional anti-abortion law out of Texas has thrust the issue back into the political foreground, and atop the heaping pile of policy issues President Joe Biden is going to have to address — mostly without much help from Congress. To be blunt, the law is bad for many reasons, and I say this as a conservative who very much dislikes abortion. Back to that in a minute. But one of the most deleterious effects of the law, which effectively exempts Texas from the nearly 50-year old settled law decided by Roe v. Wade, is that it serves an underwhelming minority of American voters at the expense of the overwhelming majority. Like nearly everything else in this hyper-partisan climate, the Texas law, and others before it, radically misrepresents the contours and the stakes of an important political issue. If you didn’t know better, you might assume this is actually what most people want, or why else would it be a thing. It’s simply not the case — not even in Texas. Yes, America is predictably divided on abortion. According to Gallup’s latest polling, 49% of Americans consider themselves pro-choice, and 47% consider themselves pro-life. But like on every other issue, what the political conversations about abortion, and increasingly the policies concerning it, leave out, is the middle, where the majority of voters comfortably reside. Gallup has tracked views […]

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