So much stupidity has been swirling about the newscloud in the last few weeks that, despite being in the middle of planning my second move in as many months, I am compelled to rise from the depths and respond to the challenge. I’ll tackle the flecks of foam flying from the mouths of the ravenous anti-healthcare reform horde momentarily, but let me ease back into familiar patterns by tackling a simpler topic: Abortion.

Back in May, gallup released a poll that allowed the right to sleep comfortably at night whilst still dealing with the trauma of the Obama presidency. This poll said that for the first time, a majority of Americans identified themselves as “pro-life”, and because hugely generalized labels are always accurate, the right was desperate for something to cling to, and the media was unable to resist sensationalizing it concurrent to the Obama/Notre Dame flap, the story caught. Amy Sullivan over at Swampland pointed out then that the result might have simply been an outlier, as such things are wont to occur even within scientific polls, and lo she’s been proven right. Another gallup poll asking the same question last week shows that the sudden pro-life majority has melted back into the aether from whence it came.

But what could explain such a phenomenon? Surely it couldn’t be that while Americans enjoy wrapping themselves in the fuzzy blanket of being pro-life in order to preserve their moral superiority, they actually do support abortion, even if only in limited circumstances (largely the usual rape/incest/life-of-mother trifecta that most reasonable people subscribe to). Amy links to a post from Mark Silk that backs this up in that it’s advisable to look at people’s actual views, rather than the label they adopt to describe them, before declaring victory in the culture wars. On the other hand, it does open an interesting question up for debate: with these results in hand, what exactly does pro-life even mean any more?

The right wing may return to its regularly scheduled sulking.