miércoles, 6 de marzo de 2013
This is how you can use public opinion, to take a dangerous task.
Por: Lizbeth Gutiérrez Sauceda
Arkansas adopted this Wednesday a new ban to the abortion law, contradicting the limit established by the Supreme Court, which gives women the opportunity to interrupt pregnancy around the 24th week. The law was promoted and voted by the Republican mayority legislature. This law, called “Human Heartbeat Protection act” was adopted over the veto of the governor Mike Beebe, who rejected the initiative because of its unconstitutional nature. Now the restriction of abortion cuts the limit for abortion at the 12th week, when the fetal heartbeat can be detected by abdominal ultrasound.
The relation of this action and public opinion can be read in the next tone. 1st As long as the elite can generate and influence public opinion, according to Susan Herbst, we can interpret the declarations of, for example, Senator Jason Rapert, comparing the 50 million abortions with the atrocities of the Holocaust or the Rwandan genocide, as a clear message directed to the conservative and non-conservative population to support the decision. This kind of actions may influence public opinion, no matter if the “fetal heartbeat” ban is not sustained in any scientific logic or proof. 2nd People is critical in the same measure they have information about a public issue, according to John Zaller. So we can infer, based on the premise that Arkansas´ population is mainly conservative, the argument exemplified above can be enough to obtain the public support, no matter the legal arguments against the “Human Heartbeat Act”. In third place Zaller is right when he says that people will use the most prominent ideas they can reach. This last argument supports the other two.
When politicians take decisions and actions, they have to consider if they will have public support, and how they affect public opinion. No matter if a government is liberal or conservative, I think that it would be tremendously more difficult, to take this kind of decisions in a more liberal context as, for example, the New Yorker society. So we can conclude that the Republicans attempt to take out this action, because they think they will probably have public support, no matter the unconstitutionality of the law, nor the governor´s veto, nor the public opinion. Under these circumstances, it is easier for them to confront several advocacy groups, including the ACLU and the Center for Reproductive Rights. This is how you can use public opinion, to take a dangerous task.