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Co-Opting Choice One Woman at a Time

By Ziad Munson

The abortion debate has mobilized millions of people and hundreds of millions of dollars in the United States over the last 40 years.  What is perhaps most surprising about the battle over abortion, then, is that public opinion toward abortion has remained remarkably and stubbornly stable over this time.  According to Gallup polls, approximately 52 percent of Americans today believe abortion should be legal under some, but not all, circumstances—not very different from the 51 percent in 2002, 53 percent in 1992, 52 percent in 1981, or 54 percent in 1975.  The ideological debate over abortion during this period has remained stable too: the pro-life movement has focused on the humanity of the fetus, and sees abortion as the killing of a human being; the pro-choice movement has focused on the rights of women, and sees abortion as a woman’s choice necessary for her to retain control over her own body. Continue reading

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