Saturday, August 20, 2011

Silent Majority

Matt Yglesias has a new post up trying to use abortion as an example of how the United States political system is full of veto points that make dramatic change unlikely. I guess his points about the political system are fairly valid, but I think he misses something important about abortion specifically. Treating abortion like some relic kept alive by the inertia of our political system, like the electoral college, ignores the fact that abortion is also legal because legal abortion is popular. Not popular like Justin Bieber or wanting to cure cancer maybe, but of the 800,000 abortions per year in the United States that Yglesias mentions, I'm going to guess that the vast majority are undertaken by women who either can vote or will be able to vote someday. The fact that one of Texas' senators right now is a pro-choice Republican woman isn't just some kind of crazy fluke, it's reflective of the views of a lot of people in Texas (where people have more than 80,000 abortions per year), and of no small number of Republicans. Pro-life bumper stickers may be more popular than pro-choice ones, but that doesn't mean we're living in an anti-abortion country.

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