每日英語跟讀 Ep.K402: How abortion became a divisive issue in US politics
The US Supreme Court has ruled there is no constitutional right to abortion in the US, upending the landmark Roe v Wade case from nearly 50 years ago in a rare reversal of long-settled law that will fracture reproductive rights in America.
Since the US Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision legalized abortion nationwide in 1973, the issue has become one of the defining fault lines in US politics, with Democratic politicians firmly supporting abortion rights and Republican lawmakers lining up in opposition.
In 1973 the lines were more blurred. Republican and Democratic voters were equally likely to say abortion should be legal, while it was easy to find Republican officials who supported abortion rights and Democrats who opposed the procedure. So what changed?
NOT A PARTISAN ISSUE AT FIRST
Abortion on demand was legal in four states in the early 1970s, while 14 more allowed it under some circumstances. While the Catholic Church opposed abortion, the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest evangelical denomination, was on record saying it should be allowed in many circumstances.
Neither party viewed abortion as a defining issue.
Voters also did not see the issue along partisan lines. The General Social Survey opinion poll found in 1977 that 39 percent of Republicans said abortion should be allowed for any reason, compared to 35 percent of Democrats.
A CONSERVATIVE MOVEMENT MOBILIZES
In the years that followed, conservative activists like Phyllis Schlafly seized on the issue as a threat to traditional values and enlisted evangelical churches, which had shown a new interest in politics following a series of court rulings that limited prayer in public settings.
These groups portrayed abortion as a threat to the family structure, along with broader social developments like gay rights, rising divorce rates, and women working outside of the home. For pastors and parishioners, abortion became a proxy issue for concerns about a liberalizing society, said Mary Ziegler, a legal historian at University of California-Davis. “For many evangelicals, this was more about family and women and sex,” she said. In 1980, the Southern Baptist Convention passed a resolution opposing abortion, reversing its earlier position.
POLITICIANS PICK SIDES - VOTERS FOLLOW
In the years that followed, the dividing lines became more apparent as political candidates found it increasingly necessary to align with activists who were becoming more influential within their parties.
Since 1989, abortion-rights groups have donated US$32 million to Democrats and US$3 million to Republican candidates who support keeping abortion legal, according to OpenSecrets, which tracks money in politics. Groups that opposed abortion have given US$14 million to Republicans and only US$372,000 to Democrats over that time period.
Partisan differences widened in the following years, however, as the issue became a staple of TV attack ads fundraising appeals and mass rallies by interest groups. Other opinion polls have consistently shown that most Americans support some restrictions on abortion but oppose an outright ban. At the same time, Democrats have grown more absolute in their support for abortion rights.
根據追蹤政治獻金的組織OpenSecrets的資料，自一九八九年以來，墮胎權利組織已捐贈民主黨三千兩百萬美元，向支持墮胎維持合法的共和黨候選人捐獻了三百萬美元。與此同時，反墮胎團體捐獻了一千四百萬美元給共和黨，而捐給民主黨的金額僅有三十七萬兩千美元。然而，之後幾年墮胎議題成為電視廣告攻擊、募款與利益團體大型集會的主題，黨派分歧也隨之擴大。 其他民調皆顯示，大多數美國人支持對墮胎採取一些限制，但反對徹底禁止。與此同時，民主黨員對墮胎權的支持變得更加絕對。Source article: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/lang/archives/2022/07/05/2003781133