On November 2, Reuters, the news organization owned by the media conglomerate, Thompson Reuters, produced a “fact check” of a Live Action Facebook and Instagram post claiming the “pro-life position is a majority position.” Reuters claimed this and Live Action’s claim that “the pro-life movement is full of young people” are both “false.”
Here is what they claimed:
Reuters cited polls by Reuters Ipsos, Gallup, and Pew Research Center
Reuters cited a 2019 Reuters Ipsos poll which found 55% of Americans think “abortion should be legal in most or all cases,” 73% think “abortion service” providers should be allowed to operate, and 80% think the “Supreme Court should maintain the legal right to abortion.” Reuters also cited a Gallup poll that found 48% of Americans identify as “pro-choice” and 46% identify as “pro-life,” while 6% held “no opinion.”
As to Live Action’s claim about young people, Reuters said, “[w]hile it may be true that there are many young adherents to the anti-abortion movement” a Gallup poll found that 53% of respondents between 18 and 34 identified as “pro-choice,” 43% “pro-life,” and 4% “unsure.”
Reuters also reported that a 2019 Pew Research Center poll showed 61% of respondents thought abortion “should be legal in all or most cases, while 38% say it should be illegal in all or most cases.” The same poll showed 70% of respondents between 18 and 29 thought “abortion should be legal in either all or most cases.”
Reuters concluded its “fact check” by saying Live Action’s claims are “[p]artly false,” because the “majority of Americans do not identify as ‘pro-life’ or oppose abortion.”
Fact #1: The pro-life position is a majority position.
According to Gallup, Americans have been “mostly split” on abortion for several decades. Only 33% of Americans identified as “pro-life” in 1996, while 56% identified as “pro-choice.” However, since the early 2000s, Gallup shows the percentages of “pro-life” and “pro-choice” respondents routinely fluctuating between the ranges of 41% and 51%. For instance, in 2019, 49% identified as “pro-life” while 46% identified as “pro-choice.”
Gallup also found that while self-identified “pro-choice” Americans edged out “pro-life” Americans by a slim margin in 2020, 44% believe abortion is “morally acceptable” while 47% consider abortion “morally wrong.” The percentage of Americans who consider abortion “morally wrong” has consistently exceeded the percentage of Americans who consider abortion “morally acceptable” for two-decades of Gallup polling. This indicates a certain percentage of people may self-identify as “pro-choice” but also consider abortion “morally wrong.”
Gallup also found that while only 20% of Americans favor the illegality of abortion in all circumstances, 50% support legality under “certain circumstances,” with 29% supporting legality in “all circumstances.” This means 70% of Americans support some form of legal restriction on abortion. Moreover, most of the 50% group supported its legality “in only a few circumstances.”
This polling suggests 70% of Americans hold a view about abortion laws that leans “pro-life” despite how they self-identify.
What self-identifying as “pro-life” and “pro-choice” tells us.
Reuters fundamentally misunderstands the abortion debate.
First, it inaccurately describes Live Action’s claim, insisting the “claim that most Americans oppose abortion access is false.” However, this is not what Live Action claimed in its Facebook post. Rather, Live Action said the “pro-life position is a majority position.”
Second, Reuters reveals its bias by using the loaded term “anti-abortion” as opposed to the term pro-lifers use to identify themselves: pro-life.
“Pro-life” implies a worldview that promotes the inherent moral worth of preborn children, and which advocates for the legal protections of preborn children. The term suggests a value proposition that favors life over death; inasmuch as the term “pro-choice” suggests a value proposition about a woman’s legal choice to abort her preborn child.
Each side of this debate is attempting to persuade Americans of one of these value propositions and to inform their beliefs on abortion.
As an educational nonprofit, Live Action’s mission includes exposing the tragic and horrific nature of abortion procedures, the financial corruption, and criminality of the abortion industry, and persuading Americans that the pro-life position is the morally just position held by all people who value life, and who value of human rights.
For instance, Live Action produced a series of “Abortion Procedures” videos to inform the public about the gruesome nature of the various procedures used to kill preborn children in the womb. These educational videos have been viewed over 100 million times.
Reuters insists a majority of Americans support a legal right to abortion, and yet a 2013 Pew poll found that only 44% of Millennials knew the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision dealt with abortion, while another 16% thought the case was about school desegregation. Among all age groups, the poll found that just 62% of respondents knew Roe dealt with abortion, 20% were not familiar with it, and 17% thought it dealt with a different public policy.
Live Action also produced a video explaining the history of Roe v. Wade which has been viewed more than 100,000 times on YouTube alone.
The limited or inaccurate information on which many Americans form their beliefs about abortion may explain why the “pro-life” versus “pro-choice” self-identification continues to fluctuate.
Fact #2: The pro-life movement is full of young people
The polls Reuters cited proved the claim that the “pro-life movement is full of young people” to be true.
First, Live Action did not claim that the majority of young people are pro-life but claimed the pro-life movement is “full” of young people. According to the Pew Research Center, there are approximately 72.1 million Americans between the ages of 23 and 38, a group often referred to as “Millennials.” If the Gallup poll cited by Reuters is accurate, then 43% of Americans between 18 and 34 are pro-life. Live Action gave no definition for its use of the term “young people” but these numbers suggest tens of millions of Millennials self-identify as pro-life.
Second, Live Action specifically claimed “the pro-life movement” is full of young people. While Live Action did not define the term “pro-life movement” in its Facebook post, this term is typically used to mean individuals who are socially, legally, and politically active in promoting the rights of preborn children. For example, a 2011 Washington Post article reported on the increasingly “youngish” and “feminine face” of the pro-life movement, citing the specific examples of young and female leaders of pro-life nonprofits such as Susan B. Anthony List, Americans United for Life, Students for Life, and Concerned Women for America.
The annual March for Life held each January in Washington D.C. typically attracts a crowd of more than 100,000 people, a quarter of which, according to the Daily Beast, is “high school and college kids.”
Reuters appears to misunderstand what is commonly meant by the term “pro-life movement” which its own references indicate is indeed “full of young people.”
Thompson Reuters donates to the pro-abortion Clinton Foundation
Thompson Reuters is among several major international news organizations that have given large donations to the Clinton Foundation. A 2012 disclosure shows Thompson Reuters gave between $500,001 and $1,000,000 to the foundation. The Clinton Foundation also partners with Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc. to promote contraceptive use among young people in Latin America and Africa, and to “combat… cultural taboos around age and sexuality.”
During the 2016 election, Reuters reported on the potential ethical breaches committed by the foundation which accepted gifts from foreign governments while Hillary Clinton served as secretary of state. Clinton and the foundation’s ties to Planned Parenthood also raised ethical concerns during Clinton’s tenure at the State Department. Between 2010 and 2012 alone, Planned Parenthood received more than $100 million through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Clinton was the 2009 recipient of Planned Parenthood’s Margaret Sanger Award and received 20 times more in personal donations from Planned Parenthood executives than any other 2016 presidential candidate.
In her acceptance speech, Clinton said “Margaret Sanger’s work here in the United States and certainly across our globe is not done.”
Reuters did not disclose its support for pro-abortion organizations like the Clinton Foundation, and its biased fact-check misrepresents the pro-life position, the pro-life movement, and gives a distorted interpretation of the polling trends concerning how Americans truly feel about abortion restrictions.
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