Before delving into the abortion issue, we think its prudent to remind our readers that at TQC, our platform is dedicated to promoting the ideals and tenets of the sensible center, where compromise is often discovered. While this sometimes involves highlighting and discussing some uncomfortable hypocrisies, it almost always involves rejecting overly-simplistic black-and-white binaries.
Prima facie, few issues are more divisive in the American collective than the debate over abortion. According to a recent Gallup poll, United States citizens are essentially split between pro-choice and pro-life camps. Indeed, 48% of adult Americans consider themselves “pro-choice,” while 48% define themselves as “pro-life” (4% of Americans claimed they had “no opinion”). Interestingly, and perhaps surprisingly to people who reside on the east and west coasts, the dividing line was also just about equal between genders. 48% of women identify as pro-choice and 49% of men said they were "pro-life." One can certainly parse through a litany of data to unearth underlying trends regarding the number of overall abortions, when during gestation those procedures took place, where they took place, and more, but the bottom line is that ~1/2 of Americans support a woman’s right to choose, and ~1/2 do not.
At the Quintessential Centrist, we feel abortion - under most circumstances - is morally wrong (not for religious reasons), but we are “pro-choice,” with the following caveats:
• We support a woman’s right to obtain an abortion without any restrictions in the 1st trimester of pregnancy.
• We support a woman’s right to obtain an abortion in the 2nd trimester only if the woman’s life is in danger or if tests reveal the fetus is afflicted with a congenital defect or other grave ailment. We believe, however, that the standard established by the Supreme Court’s Roe v Wade decision – that abortion is legal until a fetus reaches viability outside the womb (typically @ ~24 weeks) – must be followed. Therefore, even though we respectfully disagree with the tenet set by the Supreme Court in its landmark 1973 Roe decision (and reaffirmed in Planned Parenthood v. Casey in 1992) and generally do not support abortion in the 2nd trimester, we think abortion must remain available and accessible based on the aforementioned set of valid reasons. With the advancement of medical technology and breakthroughs in research, most genetic defects can usually be detected in the first trimester. But there are cases where certain afflictions are not discovered until later. Bringing a severely handicapped person into this world and sacrificing so much to care for them is one of the ultimate forms of altruism. We don’t think ordinary (or exceptional) people should be required to do something exceptional.
• We support a woman’s right to obtain an abortion in the 3rd trimester if and only if the woman’s life is in danger and she cannot be induced nor have an emergency caesarian-section. In the 3rd trimester, a baby can usually be delivered and an abortion should not be necessary. To be clear, there are certainly exceptional cases where a woman's life is in danger and the aforementioned alternatives are not feasible. In this case, we would support a late term procedure.
In short, we think unfettered abortion access is wrong and sensible restrictions should be in place. And, aside from a few specific carve-outs, there are cases late in the gestation period where it is and should remain illegal. Moreover, adopting (excuse the pun) a blindly pro-life stance without exceptions is incorrect. More significantly, denying a woman the right to have an abortion if certain conditions are met under Roe v Wade and reaffirmed in Planned Parenthood v Casey, is a civil rights violation.
Now let's take a deeper dive into Americans' views. Although opinion polls show the nation is evenly split between the pro-choice and pro-life camps, we were pleasantly surprised to learn that despite the rage and vitriol surrounding the topic, many Americans actually do have centrist points of view surrounding abortion.: