by Steven Ertelt
December 17, 2004
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Another national poll was in the news this week again claiming that a majority of Americans want President Bush to appoint Supreme Court judges who uphold the Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion. As with an Associated Press poll late last month, the survey conducted by Quinnipiac University relied on a question with false information.
The Quinnipiac poll claims 50 percent of respondents favor judges who will uphold Roe and just 34 percent who will overturn it.
However, like the AP poll conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs, the Quinnipiac poll first wrongly told respondents that the Roe decision legalized abortion only in the first three months.
In fact, Quinnipiac used the exact same flawed statement that AP used: "The 1973 Supreme Court ruling called Roe. V. Wade made abortion in the first three months of pregnancy legal."
However, that’s not true.
Roe v. Wade made abortion legal for any reason at any time until "viability," the 22-24 week point in pregnancy where an unborn child, with medical assistance, can survive on her own outside of her mother’s womb.
After viability, the Supreme Court says abortions may be performed for any reason to protect a woman’s "health" — a term that has been so broadly defined as to include virtually any reason. Roughly 10 percent, or 130,000 legal abortions, are performed annually in the United States after viability.
"The Quinnipiac poll question reinforced the complete misconception that Roe v. Wade legalized abortion only in the first three months of pregnancy," National Right to Life legislative director Douglas Johnson told LifeNews.com. "This is a myth that the Supreme Court itself has often repudiated, and it is polling malpractice, which inflated inflated the claimed support for Roe v. Wade by as much as 25 points."
"It is way past time for the news media to stop distorting the real terms of Roe v. Wade," Johnson said.
Despite using the same polling question, Quinnipiac’s poll found sharply different results.
The AP poll showed two-thirds of those who answered the flawed question said they didn’t want President Bush to appoint pro-life judges, while just 50 percent of those answering the biased Quinnipiac poll said they didn’t want judges who favor overturning Roe.
Previous polls with more accurate questions show strongly pro-life results.
A Wirthlin Worldwide poll commissioned just after the presidential elections, found 55 percent said they took a pro-life position and only 40 percent took one of three positions in favor of legal abortions.
Only 9 percent said abortion should always be legal at any time during pregnancy and just 25 percent agreed with the AP/Quinnipiac presentation of Roe, saying abortion should be legal for any reason within the first three months of pregnancy.
"The public deserves from the news media not the continued propagation of discredited myths, but a more candid discussion of the effects of Roe and the legal effects of changing Roe," Johnson concluded.
The Quinnipiac poll surveyed 1,529 registered voters nationwide last week.
ACTION: Email Quinnipiac and tell them to stop using biased polls: [email protected].