Evangelicals Who Backed Obama Say Pro-Life Laws Can’t Reduce Abortions
by Steven Ertelt
November 12, 2008
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A new survey that details the beliefs of evangelical voters and why they supported Barack Obama or John McCain finds those voters who supported Obama don’t believe government can reduce abortions. Their views appear to be at odds with studies showing pro-life legislation save lives.
The web site BeliefNet conducted the survey and found that 25 percent of evangelical voters supported Obama.
The so-called "Obamagelicals" who gave their vote to a pro-abortion candidate appear to have a different view of abortion than the evangelicals who backed McCain.
Although both Obama and McCain backers agreed that reducing abortions is important, they strongly disagree on how to do that.
Some 61 percent of McCain evangelicals say pro-life legislation (legal restrictions on abortions) are the best way to reduce them while only 8 percent of Obama evangelicals agreed.
The BeliefNet survey found 86 percent of Obama’s supporters said the best way to reduce abortions is "by preventing unintended pregnancy (through education and birth control), or providing financial assistance to pregnant mothers."
Because they have different views on how to reduce abortions, the Obama and McCain backers also have different expectations on what will happen to the abortion rate under each presidential candidate.
The web site said, "Among Obama’s evangelicals, 50.4% believe the abortion rate is unlikely to be affected by an Obama or McCain presidency, while 27.2% believe it will likely fall more under Obama and only 4.2% that it would fall more under McCain."
Evangelical voters for McCain disagreed and 57.6% believe abortion would be lower under McCain — which still shows just under half of voters who backed the pro-life candidate don’t really think abortions will fall under him.
The results appear to draw two conclusions: First, the argument from groups like the Matthew 25 Network and Catholics United that abortions will fall under Obama hasn’t been persuasive as even his evangelical supporters don’t think abortions will fall with him as president.
The second conclusion, and the most important for the pro-life movement that lost part of its base to Obama, is that it must do more to educate voters on how pro-life laws reduce abortions.
The notion that pro-life laws actually reduce abortions is an easy case to make.
The states that have adopted the most number of pro-life laws — places like Mississippi, Michigan, Missouri, South Carolina and others — have seen their abortion numbers drop 20-50 percent over the last two decades.
Studies have also proven the point that pro-life legislation, or restrictions on abortion, actually reduce abortions.
Dr. Michael New, a political science professor at the University of Alabama, has conducted a national study showing parental involvement laws reduce abortions anywhere from 19-31 percent where they are adopted.
The number of abortions has fallen in 12 out of the past 14 years and the total number of abortions has declined by 21 percent since 1990, thanks to pro-life laws, New explains.
"Case studies provide still more evidence of the effectiveness of state level pro-life legislation. Between 1992 and 2000 the overall abortion rate declined by 14 percent (among the 47 states reporting data both years). However, those states that were especially active in enacting pro-life legislation during the 1990s experienced even larger decreases in abortions," he explains.
New also has conducted three studies which have examined state abortion data from almost every state for every year from 1985 to 1999. Each study finds state level public funding restrictions reduce the incidence of abortions by over 10 percent.
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