The Daily Rundown | January 25, 2013
>>> this week marks the 40th anniversary of the roe v. wade supreme court decision, and according to new polling from nbc news and "the wall street journal ," there's a big shift in how americans view the topic. a majority of americans now say abortion should be legal in all cases or all or most cases, rather. despite the shift, the issue remained a hot topic in the 2012 campaign. take a listen.
>> i think i've said that time and again, i'm a pro-life candidate. i'll be a prof-life president.
>> the policy of a romney administration is to oppose abortion with exceptions for rape, incest, and life of the mother.
>> joining me now is jeanne monahan, the new leader of the march for life . she joins me now. thank you so much, replacing the late nelly gray. welcome.
>> i'm happy to be here. thank you for doing this story.
>> the march is today. we saw the poll numbers, nbc news/" wall street journal ," overturn roe v. wade , 24%, yes, overturn, no, do not overturn, 70%. if you look at how this has shifted over the years, in 1989 , 58% of the folks said don't overturn. 2002 , it went to 60, 2005 , it went to 66, 2013 , now 70% of the country. it's a tough battle for you guys.
>> well, yes and no. i mean, it's true that the majority of americans now want some abortion legal, but the far majority of americans want more restrictions on abortion than we currently have in the united states . we have the most wide-open abortion laws in the western world in the united states . unrestricted access to abortion on demand here. and most americans , i think, a poll two weeks ago said 83% of americans want some restrictions in the first trimester.
>> on that point, you see a lot of states, mississippi, where there's only one abortion clinic , except for kansas, and in virginia, you have to get a wider hallway in order to accommodate an abortion by a legislation they put through --
>> because a woman actually died --
>> it's a very wide --
>> when they couldn't get her gurney through the door a few years ago.
>> so you believe, though, it's widespread availability in the western hemisphere of the united states ?
>> absolutely -- ini mean, everybody will greet that the u.s. has the most wide open laws for abortion. it's a commonly known fact. but it's true, states are enacting positive pro-life laws. in the last three years, almost 200 laws have been enacted at the level of the states. these are laws involving a woman's informed consent, involving parents in the young girl 's decision, et cetera . so in most cases, they're common sense laws that most americans are in agreement with.
>> i went to a catholic university and the majority of the girls who went there were on some form of birth control . i work on capitol hill . i know a lot of republican women who will say, privately, that the party is absolutely hurting itself by its stance on birth control , and a lot of them are more -- they use birth control and they're in favor of it. why take this fight to the extreme? why can't you sort of be cafeteria style. say, you know what, partial birth abortion , we're not for that, but you won't give an inch on birth control .
>> this is where i disagree with you and americans disagree with you. gallup poll shows that being pro-life is the new normal. for the last three years, the majority of americans self-identify as being pro-life. 51% of americans versus 40%, who say that they're pro-choice. if you went to the march today, you'd see a number of young, shining, energetic faces. this isn't an extreme, radical issue. this is the new normal. being pro-life, it's a reasonable perspective.
>> but is being pro-life give you the right to try to restrict access to contraception?
>> those are two very different questions. and right now what we're talking about is the abortion issue.
>> okay. i want to talk about you were familiar with the john pope cultural center , you came through that --
>> actually, i studied at the john paul ii institute for studies on marriage and family, two different things.
>> let's talk about life. obviously, this is the march for life . the death penalty . something that we, as a country, in the top five death penalty countries in 2011 , we're in the company of china, iran, saudi arabia , iraq, and then there we are, the united states . the culture of life, why isn't there more attention paid on the issue of the death penalty , which stats have shown disproportionately affects minorities. if a minority kills a white person , they're more likely to go on death row than the opposite. it's not -- it's costly, as we all know, and it's not a deterrent. and oftentimes in our country, innocent people have been put to death. why is there not more of a focus on that in the march for life as well?
>> well, let me say that actually we are 100% pro-life, and in most cases, we wouldn't be pro death penalty , but the reason why the emphasis is placed on abortion is because it's the human rights abuse of today. in the last four decades, 54 million americans have died as a result of abortion. that is about a sixth of the population in the united states . it is the human rights abuse of today. so that's why we place the emphasis primarily --
>> but should there not be an anti- death penalty component to a march for life ?
>> absolutely, we're 100% pro-life, and as we're moving forward, we're going to work on a broad perspective of working on pro-life. the same with euthanasia and things like that. we're pro-life 100% of the time, from conception to death.
>> jeanne monahan from the march for life , thanks so much. good luck with the march today.
>> thanks for having me.