Poll Finds Majority of Americans Don’t Want Roe Overturned, Education Helps
by Steven Ertelt
April 22, 2008
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A new poll of Americans on the question of overturning the Roe v. Wade case that allowed unlimited abortions find most don’t want the Supreme Court to reverse it. However, previous polling finds Americans more willing to go along with overturning the case once they learn what it does.
Knowledge Networks, Yahoo and the Associated Press teamed up for the poll, which featured interviews with 1,844 American adults conducted between April 2 and 4.
The poll asked: "In 1973 the Roe vs. Wade decision established a womans constitutional right to an abortion. Would you like to see the Supreme Court overturn its Roe vs. Wade decision, or would you like to see Roe vs. Wade remain in force?"
The results showed 66 percent of Americans want Roe v. Wade to remain in place while 32 percent want it overturned and two percent don’t know.
The polling data is slightly afield from the results of a May 2007 Gallup poll showing 35 percent would like to see the high court overturn its landmark 1973 abortion ruling while 53 percent disagree and 12 percent are undecided.
The number of Americans who want the abortion on demand ruling reversed has increased three percent since Gallup’s May 2006 survey and the percentage wanting it to stay on the books is down by two points.
Despite the polls on Roe, other surveys show Americans actually oppose what it does.
An October 2007 CBS News survey found 54 percent of Americans take one of three pro-life positions opposing all or almost all abortions and another 16 percent want more restrictions on it.
The survey found that 16 percent of the public only favors allowing abortions "only to save woman’s life" and another 34 percent think abortions should only be allowed in the very rare cases of rape, incest or to save the mother’s life.
Another four percent of Americans want all abortions to be made illegal. In total, 54 percent of Americans oppose 98 percent of all abortion cases Roe authorized.
While Americans are more likely to favor keeping Roe in place, a seminal survey in May 2007 found they’re more inclined to oppose Roe and want it reversed when they’re told of its far-reaching effects.
The Judicial Confirmation Network and the Ethics and Public Policy Center first asked Americans a generic question about whether they wanted Roe overturned and found the public opposes that by a 55 to 34 percent margin.
Their poll then told respondents that Roe prohibits states from limiting abortion during the first six months of pregnancy and that, if Roe is overturned, states could make abortion policies that would permit abortion for some reasons and bar it for others.
The percentage changes to just 48 to 43 against overturning Roe — almost within the margin of error — when they get more information about what it does and doesn’t do.
"In the face of more than three decades of media misrepresentation about what Roe means and what overturning it would mean, this swing is very striking," the groups said in a statement. "Compared to the brief comments of an anonymous surveyor, consider what a sustained public education campaign on these matters could achieve."
The Supreme Court issued its Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton companion decision in January 1973.
Since then, more than 50 million unborn children have died from abortions and millions of women have suffered medical, mental health and spiritual complications.