ASBURY PARK, N.J. (ChurchMilitant.com) - The U.S. pro-life movement continues to face a steep uphill battle, according to the results of a Rasmussen poll that concludes 54% of U.S. citizens classify themselves as pro-choice compared to 37% who identify as pro-life.
The percentages derive from a July 17–18 Rasmussen poll, which found that 50% of those participating in the poll were opposed to cutting public funds from family planning centers that perform abortions compared to 35% who favored such a move and 15% who remained undecided.
In addition, 34% of poll participants stated they held a positive impression of Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion provider.
The positive view of Planned Parenthood is attributable to external factors such as massive marketing, public relations and advertising budgets, according to Eric Scheidler, executive director of the Chicago-based Pro-Life Action League.
"Planned Parenthood has been very successful at positioning themselves as champions of liberty and government-sponsored health care as well as advocates for immigration and gay marriage," he said.
"They've done a good job for many years at both creating the illusion of defending women in our society and demonizing pro-lifers as mean-spirited and prudish, against sexual pleasure and intent on controlling women's bodies," he added. "In other words, they've been very effective at identifying their opponents as a group of nasty deplorables."
Additionally, Scheidler noted, is the complicity of Hollywood celebrities and the media at large.
"Planned Parenthood has Alyssa Milano and Scarlett Johansson who publicly advocate for Planned Parenthood and give away their endorsements for free," he said.
Worse, he says, is a media that refuses to question false claims made by the organization.
"The more people learn about Planned Parenthood and its practices the less they'd be inclined to support them and their mission," Scheidler said. "But the media chooses to repeat such lies and misinformation that abortions provided by Planned Parenthood only represent 3% of the total services offered."
Instead, Scheidler says, Planned Parenthood performs 36% of the abortions committed in America — including late-term abortions — defrauds U.S. taxpayer-funded Medicaid, operates unhygienic and dangerous clinics, encourages women younger than 18 to obtain abortions without parental consent and is responsible for diagnosing and treating only 1% of sexually transmitted diseases reported each year.
"We have a lot of work yet to do," Scheidler said.
Father Frank Pavone, national director of the Florida-based Priests for Life, told Church Militant he's not surprised by the poll results.
"Planned Parenthood is, in its very name, a manipulation of language, because it has nothing to do with planning parenthood and everything to do with destroying it," he said. "Yet many of our fellow citizens do not even know that Planned Parenthood sells abortion, much less is the largest abortion business in the world."
Pavone notes the power of Planned Parenthood's brand.
"We consistently find that language about taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood gets a more positive response than language about taxpayer funding of abortion," he said. "Compare, for instance, this poll to the January 2019 Marist poll that showed 54% of the public are opposed to using taxpayer dollars for 'abortion.'"
Pavone also takes issue with the confusion prompted by the wording of the Rasmussen questions, which includes such phrases as the government "stopping" money for "family planning."
The president's policies do not take a dime away from family planning or women's health funds. All the money going towards health clinics would continue to go there, and those federally qualified clinics that do not kill children outnumber the Planned Parenthood clinics that do kill children by 20 to one.
But if a poll question starts by asking if people want to stop money from going to family planning clinics, the respondent will already have formulated their answer before they get to the end of the question, and therefore be answering a question that doesn't correspond to the reality of the situation.
In short, ask the question as to whether someone favors a policy that "protects your taxpayer dollars from funding someone else's abortion," and a strong majority will say yes.