It is still uncertain what the outcome of Kavanaugh’s case will be. But at this point, regardless of the end result, it’s obvious that this episode will be remembered as yet another mark against pro-lifers. The movement has become associated with hypocrites like former Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.), the pro-life lawmaker who tried to convince his mistress to get an abortion, and Roy Moore, the pious GOP Senate candidate who was credibly accused of preying on several teenage girls when he was in his 30s. Then there’s Trump himself, whose pro-life record is incredibly weak, but whose past bragging about sexual assault further stains the movement’s image.
If the poll numbers are to be trusted, these associations are having a seismic impact on the nation’s young people and their perception of what it means to be pro-life. Up until quite recently, pro-life sentiment had been growing among millennials, many of whom see abortion as a human rights issue. But according to a new PRRI poll from this year, although overall opinions on abortion have remained stable, “approximately one-third of young Americans say their views on abortion have changed in recent years, and nearly three times as many say their views have become more supportive of abortion rather than more opposed to abortion (25 percent vs. 9 percent).” It’s hard to believe this trend is not tied in any way to the acceptance of Trump (and other unsavory male politicians) by the supposed pro-life party.