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Abortion

For a policy to be deemed responsive, it must correspond with public opinion. For many policy arenas, this is not the case. Policies do not always correlate with public opinion. However, for the issue of abortion, implemented policy does correspond with the general opinion of the public. Over time, there has been consistency between policies and laws enacted and the general aggregate opinion of the nation as a whole, more so than most policy arenas.

Until 1973, abortion was only legal if and only if the mothers life was in danger. However, Roe vs.

Wade changed this, by legalizing abortion. It also gave individual states more discretion and gave states the

right to add to the parameters of the decision made by the Supreme Court. This decision came at the height of public approval of abortion. During this time, the general opinion of the public was that abortion should be made legal. Since Roe vs. Wade, the policies have changed over time, but the general opinion of the public has not. The various policies implemented and court decisions have changed the law and how it can be interpereted, but has not changed how the public views abortion. It s not an issue that is easily manipulated by officials or activists.

Abortion is considered a responsive domestic policy because the policies and court rulings have generally agreed with public opinion. Although opinion-poll results have changed slightly over time, the general consensus is that the public approves of abortion. However, to what extent the public approves of it is another topic of discussion. Most people believe that abortion should be legal under some circumstances . Most people believe that if the pregnancy occurred from a rape or incest, or if the women s health or life is in danger, or if the child is going to have certain physical disabilities, then abortion should be a way to terminate the pregnancy. However, most people agree that abortion is not a form of birth control, and should not be used because the mother is not ready for children or she doesn t want to have to marry the father.

Most issues that are of high salience to people generally receive response by officials. Typically, economic and financial issue arenas are of high salience. However, abortion is one of those issues that does not affect people financially, but still draws strong opinion. Rarely are there those that do not have an opinion on the subject, and this opinion remains constant over time, independent from court decisions and policies. It appears as if the courts respond to public opinion more than opinion responds to rulings. Over time, court decisions have changed more often than opinions, signaling that personal opinions on the subject are stable.

I believe that by government being responsive to the general opinions of the public, it has led to a better policy being implemented. This country was designed to be by and for the people, so it is the governments responsibility to adhere to the desires of the citizens. Up until abortion was legalized, the general consensus was that it should be legalized, and so it was. Over time, peoples opinions have not changed, but they have felt that more restrictions should be implemented on abortion. Restrictions such as parental consent, sibling consent, and 24 hour grace periods to perform the surgery have been implemented to make it more difficult to get the surgery.


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