Right Opinion

Left in Agony on Pain Ban

Tony Perkins · May 15, 2015

Not everyone was celebrating [Wednesday’s] historical pro-life victory in the House of Representatives. Planned Parenthood’s Cecile Richards and President Obama wasted no time blasting the House’s decision to end the intense pain babies feel from abortion after the five-month mark. Cecile Richards aired her disgust that Americans would rise up and want to stop the shedding of innocent blood.

“A 20 wk ban would hurt women,” Richards tweeted. As experts in hurting women, Planned Parenthood should know better. The organization — and in fact, the entire movement — is indifferent to the agony their industry causes to the unborn and women. It’s that aggressive insensitivity that continues to repel Americans from their cause. “Put simply,” Richards argued, this bill “lacks compassion & it lacks respect.”

The only thing that lacks respect in this debate is the organization that covers-up rape and abuse, encourages sex trafficking, teaches girls how to hide bruises from abusive men, targets black children for extinction, and leaves women bleeding on their tables without help. Is that how Planned Parenthood defines “compassion?” Tearing babies apart when they can feel it? Leaving women with deep emotional scars and a lifetime of guilt? Richards is right: This is a “dangerous bill.” Dangerous to her bottom line. Dangerous to her industry’s slipping grip on society. But to the rest of the country who stands on the side of humanity, of life, this a vote that — as Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) said emotionally — “we will all remember the rest of our lives.”

So will the tens of thousands of future Americans saved by the courageous work of this Congress. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who made a rare floor speech in support of the legislation, teared up when he talked. H.R. 36, he said, “is the most pro-life legislation ever to come before this body. It reflects the will of the American people.”

The Democratic Party, on the other hand, reflected anything but. Proving what rigid hard-liners the Left has become, only four Democrats (Reps. Henry Cuellar, Texas; Jim Langavin, R.I.; Dan Lipinski, Ill.; and Collin Peterson, Minn.) sided with 70% of the country in stopping the barbaric practice of late-term abortion. The other 180 voted to keep America in the company of the brutal dictatorships of North Korea and China — two of the only seven countries that allow abortions after five months.

As for the President, the same man who fought to legalize the killing of babies who survived their own abortion, the mere idea that our country would end the torture of these children is “disgraceful.” That’s what White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest called the bill [Wednesday] — to the shock and dismay of millions of Americans.

“It shouldn’t be such a hard vote,” Rep. Franks lamented, “because in spite of all of the political noise, protecting little unborn pain-capable babies is not a Republican issue — and it’s not a Democratic issue. It’s a test of our basic humanity and who we are as a human family. It is time that the members of the United States Congress to open our hearts and our souls and remember that protecting those who cannot protect themselves is why we are all here! That’s why we’re here!”

Phoning in Phony Polling

In the marriage debate, we pay a lot of attention to how polling questions are asked. But a new report from Pew Research shows that we should watch where they’re being asked too. For years, FRC and other conservative groups have watched the media twist and distort survey questions to feed their “inevitability” narrative on same-sex “marriage.”

But, in election after election, those same researchers seemed surprised that the attitudes they measured in surveys didn’t show up with nearly the same ferocity as they did in polling results. A lot of that has to do with how the questions are phrased. More often than not, left-leaning survey houses “prime” their surveys with language designed to steer people toward a particular result. In questions about same-sex “marriage,” they focus on words like “rights” or “outlaw” — any term they’ve proven to spark more empathy in the people they’re quizzing. The goal is to predispose men and women to answer a certain way. It’s effective at creating headlines — but not nearly as useful at predicting how those same people will vote on the issue.

Why is that? Well, Pew thinks it has to do with where and how these interviews are happening: during a live phone call or on the web. In an interesting (and telling!) study, “From Telephone to the Web: The Challenge of Mode of Interview Effects in Public Opinion Polls,” Pew found that Americans did adapt their answer a little bit based on the mode of questioning. But the biggest and most surprising swings of opinions were on LGBT issues. If people were allowed to answer privately and anonymously, as opposed to on the phone with the pressures of political correctness, their responses spiked as much as 14%! When Pew asked if gays, lesbians, and transgenders “face a lot of discrimination,” only 48% answered yes online. But on the phone, they were 14 points more likely to say so!

It’s what some experts call “social desirability bias.” People give the answer they think you want to hear, instead of what they actually feel. That’s why there’s such a tremendous swing at the ballot box — sometimes as much as 6-10 percentage points on marriage protection amendments. If you want to know where Americans really stand on marriage, the truth is in the ballots– where only three states directly voted to redefine it.

So be encouraged! All of these phony headlines about a seismic shift in cultural views are just the Left’s way of isolating people and forcing them into a P.C. box. Don’t buy it! The other side doesn’t have “history” on its side — it has manufactured polling!


This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.

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