The oddity of abortion politics

By Tom Quiner

This election cycle is producing increasingly odd and disturbing abortion politics. The most recent Democratic debate gave us a glimpse at the breathtaking pace Democrats are pulling away from the ‘moderate’ positions staked about by Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

Let’s review abortion politics in a rapid fire Q & A format:

When does life begin?

QUESTION: Do Americans think it is important to understand ‘when life begins’ when determining public policy on abortion rights?

ANSWER: Yes, according to 82% of surveyed Americans. And 93% believe “a human’s life is worthy of legal protection once it begins.”

QUESTION: So who do voters think are most qualified to tell them when human life begins? Biologists, philosophers, religious leaders, Supreme Court Justices, or other voters?

ANSWER: Biologists, according to 80% of poll recipients. (Get research detail here.)

QUESTION: When do biologists say human life begins?

ANSWER: In an interview of 5337 biologists, 96% said human life begins at fertilization.

QUESTION: That’s pretty slanted toward the pro life side. What is the profile of these biologists?

ANSWER:  87% identify as liberal; 92% as Democrats; 85% as pro-choice; and 63% as non-religious. So these biologists responded to the question based on their scientific knowledge, not their personal opinions on the subject of abortion.

The key abortion question is …

QUESTION: So this leads to an obvious question for Tuesday’s Democratic debate: “Would you support any restriction on abortion procedures, and, if so, what would it be?”

ANSWER: None of the reporters asked this question, nor has it been asked at any of the previous debates.

QUESTION: Did they ignore the abortion subject?

ANSWER: No. Rather, they asked leading questions, such as what they’d do as president to prevent states from limiting abortion early in pregnancy, or whether they’d be open to packing the Supreme Court to “protect reproductive rights,” the suggestion being that, of course, limiting reproductive rights is unacceptable.

QUESTION: So how did these candidates respond?

Radical responses

ANSWER: As president, Kamala Harris says she would simply block state laws through a scheme she calls “pre-clearance.” In other words, if a state law, in her view, seemed to contradict Roe V Wade, her Justice Department would simply snuff out it out, states rights be damned. Her rationale:

“While we still have . . . state legislators who are outdated and out of touch, mostly men who are telling women what to do with their bodies, then there needs to be accountability and consequence.”

QUESTION: Doesn’t the Supreme Court allow states to regulate abortion at a certain point?

ANSWER: Yes. The Roe decision said:

[The state] “has legitimate interests in protecting both the pregnant woman’s health and the potentiality of human life, each of which interests grows and reaches a “compelling” point at various stages of the woman’s approach to term.”

Roe limited human abortion to the first trimester, so Ms. Harris’ response is ironic. Every other Democratic presidential candidate (except Tulsi Gabbard) demands abortion rights for the full nine months of a woman’s pregnancy.

QUESTION: So what is Tulsi Gabbard’s position on abortion?

ANSWER: “I support codifying Roe v. Wade while making sure that, during the third trimester, abortion is not an option unless the life or severe health consequences of a woman are at risk.”

Her position is still out of step with the rest of the country, most of whom want human abortion limited to the first three months of a pregnancy at most.

Candidates are out of step with rank and file Democrats

QUESTION: So how do rank and file Democrats view abortion policy?

ANSWER: According to a Marist poll in January, they are far more centrist than their candidates: 61% want substantial restrictions on human abortion:

29% want abortion restricted to the first three months of a pregnancy.

19% only want abortion used in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother.

9% only want it used if it is necessary to save the life of the mother.

4% of Democrats believe it should never be permitted under any circumstances.

Abortion politics have reached a fever pitch of oddity when candidates stake out radical positions at odds with their prime constituents’ views.

SUMMARY: Since human life begins at fertilization, according to 96% of Biologists surveyed, each abortion kills a unique human being.

Honest reporters should probe pro-abortion candidates with this type of information. In this climate of radical abortion politics on the Left, voters trust scientists more than reporters or politicians who have made radical flip-flops on this foundational issue.

[Tom Quiner is president of Iowans for LIFE’s board of directors. You can read more of his blogposts at]


  1. John on October 17, 2019 at 6:59 pm

    Another great article !!!
    I’m still out here…

    • quinersdiner on October 17, 2019 at 7:00 pm

      John, great to hear from you! I’m still writing. I’ll try to post more often knowing you’re there!

  2. parrillaturi on October 17, 2019 at 10:58 pm

    What an eye opening article. Great as usual. Miss your regular posts. Good to hear from you. Blessings.

    • quinersdiner on October 18, 2019 at 10:20 am

      Thank-you, I appreciate it!