The Christian Science Monitor

Is our political divide, at heart, really all about abortion?

When Kristen Day joined the nonprofit Democrats for Life of America in 2002, she wanted only to be put out of business.

A new mom at the time, she had dreamed of a day when abortion would become a nonpartisan issue; when people who called themselves “pro-life” could support the cause regardless of whether they identified as Democrat or Republican; when a lawmaker’s career would no longer hinge on how he or she voted on an abortion bill. She says she believed that moment was near. 

“I was so naive,” Ms. Day says in a phone interview.

In the years since, as the two political parties have doubled down on ideological purity, liberal Republicans and conservative Democrats have essentially become oxymorons. The partisan divide has grown into a chasm. 

And abortion is often the issue that most sharply cuts in between. Each party has used abortion – with its intensely personal, life-and-death stakes – to motivate voters. If you believe that abortion is murder, how could you ever vote for a Democrat? If you believe it’s not, and think that banning it would deny women control over their own bodies, how could you cast a ballot for a Republican?

Folks like Ms.

A medical – not political – issueNuanced viewsThe link to partisanship

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