The War on Women vs. The War on Children

by Nathan L. Gonzales June 21, 2013 · 3:00 PM EDT

There isn’t an issue that more clearly defines the partisan disconnect in this country than abortion and abortion rights.

Hosts and guests on MSNBC are perpetually perplexed by Republicans, who pursue limits to legal abortion – mostly recently the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act – even in the face of potentially negative political repercussions.

The two sides don’t even agree on the framework of the abortion debate.

While most Democrats believe Republicans are engaged in a war on women, most Republicans believe Democrats are engaged in a war on children. Democrats are fixated on the health and well-being of the woman, while Republicans focus on the health and well-being of the unborn child.

That difference was encapsulated by two emails I received on Tuesday night after the vote:

“Bera votes against extremist anti-choice legislation,” according to the subject line from Rep. Ami Bera’s, D-Ca., office.

“PEARCE VOTES TO PROTECT THE UNBORN,” according to a release from Rep. Steve Pearce’s, R-N.M., office.

Many Republicans believe pushing legislation that limits legal abortion is a moral issue that saves the lives of children and is worth any negative political consequences. Does that sound familiar?

Many Democrats are so incensed with mass shootings and the killing of innocent children from gun violence that they are willing to push legislation that they believe will save lives, even if it is politically unpopular in some parts of the country.

Of course, advocates of more stringent gun control measures will say that it’s really not that big of a political risk and point to public polls that show support for increased background checks.

But are Republicans really outside of the mainstream in their latest anti-abortion effort?

“One of the clearest messages from Gallup trends is that Americans oppose late-term abortion,” according to a Gallup poll in May. The group also pointed to a December 2012 poll for more detail.

“A solid majority of Americans (61%) believe abortion should generally be legal in the first three months of pregnancy, while 31% disagree. However support drops off sharply, to 27%, for second-trimester abortions, and further still, to 14%, for third-trimester abortions,” according to a January summary. “Gallup has found this pattern each time it has asked this question since 1996, indicating that Americans attach much greater value to the fetus as it approaches viability, starting in the second trimester.”