When it comes to abortion, Americans have a reputation for being extreme. For the first time ever, a majority of Americans identify as pro-life, but what does "pro-life" mean exactly? While 51 percent say they're pro-life, in fact only 23 percent say abortion should be illegal in all circumstances. Thus, splitting the issue of abortion into two camps doesn't really represent the nuances of American views. Doing this means that anyone with reservations about abortion can be grouped in with the Cupcakes For Life folks who advocate throwing birthday parties for "children who weren't allowed to be born," and citizens who want abortion to be safe and legal can be branded as baby killers.
Just last night we saw how the adversarial nature of the debate can boil over. When Bart Stupack, a "pro-life" Democrat, agreed to a compromise that made restrictions on abortion funding slightly less extreme, he was called a "baby killer" on the House floor. The compromise in the healthcare bill makes sure that federal money is not spent on abortions. Stupack's original amendment would have banned insurance companies that accept federal money from covering abortion whatsoever. Still, singling out abortion, a legal medical procedure, as a service that cannot be funded is a significant concession for abortion advocates. But, alas, it's possible to succeed at getting abortion funding restricted, as Stupack did, and still be called a baby killer by your fellow lawmakers.
You can be for women having control over their reproductive health and also for reducing the number of abortions. And pro-life and pro-choice labels don't make much sense when you consider that many "pro-life" politicians also favor the death penalty. If you had to come up with a new label to describe your position on abortion, what would it be?