A recent editorial in The Oklahoman is a subtle but classic case of how the newspaper continues to demonize gay people as it panders to its right-wing readership.
The editorial, “On abortion, left’s stance is far afield from U.S. general public” (July 9, 2013), is also a typical example of cherry picking evidence and drawing illogical associations between two non-related issues. The editorial does this, it appears, to criticize gay people and same-sex marriage, not just to make a supported argument about abortion.
Note the subtle association in the editorial’s first paragraph:
The U.S. Supreme Court’s rulings on gay marriage issues left liberals jubilant and proclaiming that conservative critics of gay marriage are out of step with modern life. Yet those same liberals are often unflinching supporters of abortion on demand, a position strongly rejected by the broad public.
Following the basic illogic of the argument is not difficult here. “Gay marriage”-not “same sex marriage”-is supported presumably by a lot of gay liberals and other liberals who crave “abortion on demand” for all, according to the newspaper. In other words, the newspaper’s logic implies, if you’re gay, you probably support the demanding of abortion anytime, anywhere. Give me my abortion, NOW!
Of course, that’s not the case. There’s even an organization, Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians, that proves that assumption wrong. I’m unsure how viable this organization really is, but I do know people in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBT) community and those who support and love them hold varying political and cultural views.
So the leap from “gay marriage” to liberals to “abortion on demand” makes the editorial not only a basic non sequitur but also a sleazy, lazy and stereotypical smear of the LGBT community.
The editorial then goes on to allegedly present evidence that the country is solidly against this “abortion on demand” concept by citing a 2012 Gallup that shows 64 percent of Americans want to ban abortion from the second trimester of pregnancy. It also cites another obscure poll and a Texas poll that shows there’s majority support for prohibiting abortions after 20 weeks.
What the editorial doesn’t do, of course, is mention more recent Gallup polls, which show majority support for abortion in general terms. In May of THIS YEAR, Gallup published this on its site:
As Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell awaits the jury verdict in his capital murder trial, Gallup finds 26% of Americans saying abortion should be legal under any circumstances and 20% saying it should be illegal in all circumstances. The majority, 52%, opt for something in between, as has been the case in nearly every Gallup measure of this question since 1975.
In other words, support for the abortion procedure has remained steady for 38 years, which is a far more telling statistic in terms of where the country stands. Note as well that only 26 percent of Americans, according to the poll, believe abortion should be legal under any circumstance. I guess these would be the abortion on demanders (AODers). Yet more than 50 percent of Americans support same sex marriage, according to another recent Gallup poll. So about half of those people who support “gay marriage,” using the newspaper’s illogic, aren’t even AODers.
The newspaper also conveniently omits the fact that studies show that abortions are rarely performed beyond 13 weeks of pregnancy. One academic study showed that in 2007 less than 9 percent of all abortions were performed beyond that time and only 1.2 percent of all abortion were performed after 21 weeks of pregnancy.
In other words, second trimester and late-term abortions remain extremely rare in this country. The anti-abortion crowd often doesn’t note this small percentage when it makes arguments about banning abortion after a certain time in a woman’s pregnancy.
Frankly, I’m unsure how reliable polls remain in our culture today, but 38 years of steady support in Gallup polls for the abortion procedure means something substantial. The fact that second trimester abortions are rare shows that reproductive education is the answer to preventing them, not draconian laws pushed by religious extremists. Late-term abortions are often for medical reasons or when the mother’s life is in jeopardy.
And, to reiterate, abortion has nothing to do with celebrating same-sex marriage decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court.