Poll: Why Abortion Stays Central in Health-Care Debate, Even When We Don't Want It To

The Women Donors Network and Communications Consortium Media Center came out with some great polling today that really drives home why abortion has become such a central issue in health-care reform, even when the vast majority of us think it should not be.

Take a look at these two graphs:

Take away, graph No. 1: No one wants abortion to hold up health-care reform. Eighty-nine percent of those surveyed agree there should be a much broader discussion. These high numbers cut across gender, party identification, and religiosity. Take away, graph No. 2: A lot of people feel very strongly about how abortion ought to be handled in health-care reform—64 percent of us, in fact, are very decided in our opinion on whether or not those receiving federal subsidies ought to be able to purchase health insurance with abortion coverage. That definitely outshadows the 23 percent who are lukewarm on either side.

Take away, graphs No. 1 and 2: No one wants abortion to hold up the health-care reform debate, but the vast majority of us feel pretty strongly that it should come out our way.

And this explains why, even though we keep saying abortion should not be a central issue in the health-care reform debate, it is. Abortion is a perfect storm for gridlock and infighting; it's an incredibly divisive issue that we feel strongly about and rarely change our opinions on. As much as we'd like for it not to become a focal point in the health-care debate, our own adamant opinions on the issue stand in the way.