Poll of Women Voters Shows Many Don’t Know What Roe v. Wade Did on Abortion
by Steven Ertelt
August 6, 2008
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A new poll of women voters shows what previous polls of Americans in general has confirmed: most people don’t know what Roe v. Wade mandated when it comes to abortion. The poll shows women appear uninformed that Roe allowed virtually unlimited abortions.
From July 17 to 24, 2008, the Democratic Peter hart Research Associates polling firm conducted a survey for the pro-abortion National Womens Law Center with over 1,000 women.
The poll asked men and women whether they felt the Roe decision by the Supreme Court should stay in place or be overturned.
The survey question included biased wording calling abortion a "woman’s constitutional right" and saying the decision limited "the circumstances under which government could restrict this right."
Some 62 percent of women said Roe should be upheld while 30 percent said it should be overturned.
At the same time, the survey asked women a follow-up question about when abortions should be legal.
Only 50 percent of women wanted abortions legal in general and most of them favored some abortion limits.
Meanwhile, another 15% think abortion should be legal only in extreme cases such as rape, incest and life of the mother but still want to see Roe upheld in the courts; 15 percent believe abortion should be legal in only the most extreme cases and want to see Roe overturned; and 12% think it should be illegal in all instances.
In other words, 42 percent of the women polled believe abortions should essentially be limited to the rare cases that only constitute one percent of all abortions that take place annually in the United States.
Fifteen percent of women want abortions limited to those rare cases but apparently don’t realize that Roe v. Wade allows the 99 percent of abortions they want to make illegal.
Should those women be informed of that contradiction, the support for Roe v. Wade drops from 62 percent to 47 percent and the 30 percent figure for those women favoring Roe’s reversal rises to 45 percent.
A 47-45 percent split on overturning Roe v. Wade is within the poll’s 3.2 percentage point margin of error — meaning it is just as likely that women support reversing Roe by a small margin if they were informed what the case established.
Other polls of women on abortion bear out the conclusion that a majority of women actually are opposed to virtually all legal abortions and the particulars of the Roe case.
An August 2007 poll of women voters found they want candidates who support limits on abortions.
Some 64 percent of women voters would be less likely to vote for a presidential candidate who voted against the partial-birth abortion ban. Sixty-eight percent of women voters are less likely to vote for a presidential candidate who supports taxpayer-funded abortion.
Another 73 percent of those polled said they would be less likely to vote for a presidential candidate who voted against a law that would have made it a criminal act for an adult to take a girl younger than 18 years of age across state lines to get an abortion without her parents knowledge.
As recently as June, a survey commissioned by the Polling Company found pro-life Americans outnumber pro-abortion Americans by a 16 percent margin.
The poll finds 54 percent of Americans take one of three pro-life positions on abortion and just 38 percent take a pro-abortion position.
Looking at a breakdown of the pro-life side of the equation, 17 percent of those surveyed said they oppose abortions and want them illegal for any reason.
Another 12 percent said abortions should only be allowed to save the life of the mother, and 27 percent said abortions should only be allowed in the very rare cases to save the life of the mother or when the woman is a victim of rape or incest.
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