What is the abortion debate in the US really about? It seems to me that there are two completely different issues which are being constantly mixed/misrepresented in the public debate:
- Legality of abortion - some religious people think that abortion should be (completely) illegal. My guess is that this represent a minority of the US voters, and even minority of the religious or right-wing electorate.
- Conflict between the women's right to choose and the right to life, which is really about setting the term limit on how late one can carry out abortion "on-demand" (i.e., not necessitated by medical conditions). Here the late-term abortions become an issue.
Both political parties seem to pretend to be fighting the hardcore extremists in regard to one option, while respectively pushing through the hardcore version of the other option... with disastrous results for the majority of women, who arguably would like to have the opportunity to resort to abortion, without necessarily waiting until the 24th week of pregnancy.
Thus, the Dobbs vs. Jackson case was really about bringing the abortion term down to 15 weeks, which is rather close to what is considered normal elsewhere (i.e., essentially about issue #2), but eventually resulted in putting into question the right to abortion in general (issue #1).
In most developed countries the abortion terms are rather "conservative":
As of 2011 among those countries that allowed abortion without restriction as to reason, the gestational limits for such abortions on request were: 37 countries set a gestational limit of 12 weeks, 7 countries of 14 weeks, 4 did not set limits, 3 at viability, 3 at 10 weeks, one at 90 days, one at 8 weeks, one at 18 weeks, and one at 24 weeks. In addition, Abortion in Australia, and, to a certain extent, Abortion in the United States, is regulated at state/territory level, and laws vary by region.
As an example one can take France:
Abortion in France is legal on demand during the first 14 weeks from conception.1 Abortions at later stages of pregnancy are allowed if two physicians certify that the abortion will be done to prevent grave permanent injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman; a risk to the life of the pregnant woman; or that the child will suffer from a particularly severe illness recognized as incurable.
Note that the legal restriction comes after the 11th week ultrasound exam, where the serious health anomalies of fetus are detected with high certainty, giving time to make a decision.
At the same time, children born after 24 weeks from conception are considered viable, and requiring all the necessary medical care to survive.
To restate the question more precisely: what is the opinion of the majority of Americans (specifically American women) regarding the two issues? How are the positions promoted by the two parties align with this opinion - i.e., do the Democratic strive for on-demand late term abortion or the Republican attempts at prohibiting the abortion really serve the majority, even the majority of their voters?
I am essentially looking for the analysis of this political situation, based on the opinion polls, the positions of the parties as stated by their major representatives and/or party plateforms, etc.