American Morals Are Changing; Are Politicians Keeping Up?

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

On average, more people believe that gay and lesbian relations are more immoral than divorce, gambling, and stem cell research. It ties with the percentage who say having a child when unmarried is morally acceptable, according to a Gallup poll taken between May 8 and May 11, 2014. Even so, the poll shows that gay and lesbian relations alongside a number of other major political items had a near record high in acceptability this year, which begs the question: are politicians on the same page? To an extent, catering to an electorate and staying in office means politicians need to stay up to date on public opinion to take their state seats. On the other hand, there are plenty of politicians who win based on contemporary economic issues in their state, such as coal interests this election, rather than by focusing on morally controversial subjects.

Let’s look at abortion first. According to Gallup, 28 percent of Republicans say abortion is morally acceptable, 41 percent of Independents, and 59 percent of Democrats. Based on the recent rise in anti-abortion legislation in historically conservative states like Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arizona, abortion is one of those highly visible political stances that demands political compliance with public opinion. Arizona saw a law go into effect that would prevent drug-induced abortions after the 9th week of pregnancy. Other states have seen a similar ban challenged, including Indiana, Iowa, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Texas; only Iowa doesn’t lean red amongst them. Oklahoma, on the other hand, hasn’t chosen a Congressmen that wasn’t anti-abortion in 14 years, and both Oklahoma, Indiana, and four other states prohibit abortion after 20 weeks, according to CBS. South Carolina has demanding controls in place for clinics, even accounting for required doorway size, so it’s no surprise that 91 percent of the state counties don’t have abortion providers.

With just over 40 percent of Democrats saying abortion is immoral, it makes sense that more than just the tried and true GOP states have limiting legislation, but appropriately, more moderate states seem to have more moderate abortion state environments. CBS reports that 83 percent of Michigan is without an abortion provider. Pennsylvania has 78 percent of counties without providers and its Governor, Tom Corbett, is strongly anti-abortion; however, congressional representation is split on the issue. According to a Guttmacher Institute Report on state policies, “An Overview of Abortion Law,” forty-six states let healthcare providers make the choice on whether or not to refuse abortion. Nine states have rules on when abortion can be covered by private insurgence plans, usually only allowing coverage if a woman’s life is in danger. Most have abortion coverage available for added cost.

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