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Surprise, Mom: I'm Anti-Abortion

Steve Wewerka

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New York Times, March 30, 2003

For her high school class in persuasive speech, Afton Dahl, 16, chose to present an argument that abortion should be illegal. She graphically described the details of various abortion techniques, including facts about fetal heart development.

"The baby's heartbeat starts at around 12 to 18 days, so it's murder to kill someone with a heartbeat," Miss Dahl said recently, recalling the argument she used in class in January. "I don't believe in abortion under any circumstances, including rape. I think it would be better to overturn Roe v. Wade."

A study of American college freshmen shows that support for abortion rights has been dropping since the early 1990's: 54 percent of 282,549 students polled at 437 schools last fall by the University of California at Los Angeles agreed that abortion should be legal. The figure was down from 67 percent a decade earlier. A New York Times/CBS News poll in January found that among people 18 to 29, the share who agree that abortion should be generally available to those who want it was 39 percent, down from 48 percent in 1993.

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