by Steven Ertelt
May 6, 2007
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Following the Supreme Court’s recent ruling that a federal ban on partial-birth abortions is constitutional, the Hart/Newhouse polling firm released the results of a survey it conducted for the Wall Street Journal showing that a majority of Americans agreed with the decision.
Half of the 1,004 American adults in the April 20-23 poll were asked one question while the other half were asked a more biased question that saw the results shift in a predicable pattern.
The first question simply asked respondents if they favored or opposed the Supreme Court’s decision upholding "a law that makes the procedure commonly known as a partial birth abortion illegal."
Some 53 percent of those polled agreed with the ruling in the case while just 34 percent were opposed to it.
Another 13 percent of adults said they were unsure.
The second question included biased language mirroring the complaints of abortion advocates who said they opposed the ruling because the high court said the three-day-long abortion procedure could be banned even in cases when it was supposedly needed to protect the health of the mother.
In that question, Hart/Newhouse told respondents that the "court’s ruling outlaws using this procedure, and does not make an exception for the health of the mother."
As expected, fewer people supported the ruling — although it still had the support of a plurality.
With the biased wording, 47 percent backed the high court’s decision while 43 percent opposed it and 10 percent said they were undecided.
The first question comes fairly close to the results of other polls showing that a strong majority of Americans oppose partial-birth abortions and want them banned.
A March 2006 Fox News survey found 61 percent to 28 percent of Americans favored banning the controversial abortion method.
A late July 2006 poll by Quinnipiac University found 76 percent of Americans believe partial-birth abortions should be illegal except when necessary to save the life of the mother. Only 15 percent supported the partial-birth abortion procedure.
Another July 2006 poll, commissioned by American Values and the American Family Association, found that 65 percent of those surveyed disagreed with the Supreme Court’s 2000 decision overturning a Nebraska ban on partial-birth abortions.
Hart/Newhouse surveyed the responded by phone in the poll, which had a 3.1 percentage point margin of error.