Most Europeans — and Americans — agree with Texas’ abortion law

Photo of Cathy Cleaver Ruse
Cathy Cleaver Ruse
Senior Fellow, Family Research Council
  • See All Articles
  • Subscribe to RSS
  • Bio

      Cathy Cleaver Ruse

      Mrs. Ruse was Chief Counsel to the Constitution Subcommittee in the House of Representatives where she had oversight of civil rights and human rights issues, as well as religious freedom and free speech matters which came before the House. Mrs. Ruse received her law degree from Georgetown University and a certificate from the National Institute for trial advocacy during her work as a litigator in the District of Columbia. She holds an honorary doctoral degree from Franciscan University of Steubenville. Mrs. Ruse served for several years as the chief spokesperson on human life issues for the U.S. Catholic Bishops. She was co-host of the cable television program Legal Notebook, and has made national and international media appearances, including PBS' "Firing Line," CNN's "Crossfire," and Fox News' "The O'Reilly Factor," among many others. Her writing has been published in the Wall Street journal, USA Today,The Christian Science Monitor, the Washington Times, and other national and regional newspapers and publications. In 1997 Wired magazine called Mrs. Ruse "one of the most influential opinion shapers in the country." Mrs. Ruse served as legal director of Family Research Council in the mid-1990s and was legal counsel and program director for the National Law Center for Children and Families, a law firm devoted to strengthening and defending laws against pornography. In 2004 she and her husband, Austin Ruse, received the John Paul II Award for Advancing the Culture of Life from the Institute for the Psychological Sciences. In 2006 they received the Defender of Life Award from American Collegians for Life.

There aren’t many positions on abortion where most Americans have some common ground. But opposition to late-term abortion is one of them.

Every modern poll on the issue shows the same thing: Large majorities say babies should not be aborted in the later stages of pregnancy. Looking at Gallup over the years, opposition to abortion after six months has never dropped below 80 percent. Even at three months, the numbers are still impressive: Over 60 percent of Americans consistently oppose abortions after the first trimester, and in 2011 they rose to 71 percent.

If these were election results, you’d call it a landslide.

On Thursday, Governor Rick Perry signed into law a measure banning the abortion of unborn children after five months’ gestation. It also requires that abortions be done in ambulatory surgical centers, including RU-486 abortions, and that abortion practitioners have hospital admitting privileges within 30 miles of their location.

Reporters describe the new law as “sweeping” and “extreme.” The Washington Post wants its readers to think it’s one of the “strictest abortion-restricting bills” in the nation.

But the French might call it permissive. France bans abortion after just 12 weeks. In fact, most of Europe agrees with Texas. Most of the world agrees with Texas. So, who are the extremists?

We are often told we must reach common ground on the difficult questions in this country. This plea generally comes from the political left, for whom common ground on abortion means taxpayer-funded contraception, which simply changes the subject. On abortion itself, they admit no compromise: no limitation, no delay, no parental involvement, not even personal financial responsibility. “Pro-choice” politics in America is an all-or-nothing proposition, and journalists in Slate and other Left-leaning publications have exposed that.

But these views don’t represent America. When you look at America, which is weary of this fight, you see a growing agreement on various “pro-life” positions. More Americans identifying themselves as “pro-life” than “pro-choice” in the last several years. You see large majorities agreeing that abortion practitioners should let parents know before performing an abortion on their underage children, like the measure just enacted in Illinois after a decade-long legal battle against Planned Parenthood. And you see most Americans favoring legal bans on late-term abortion, like the new law in Texas.

At the same time, a “pro-choice” fringe has developed. Like the folks who opposed the Texas law and took to the State Capitol to shout down the legislature until the clock ran out. The ones who tried to smuggle jars of urine and feces into the chamber for the next vote, or who can be seen in YouTube videos chanting “Hail Satan” at their opposition.