Poll: Americans Wanting Roe Abortion Ruling Overturned Reaches New High

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 4, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Poll: Americans Wanting Roe Abortion Ruling Overturned Reaches New High

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
May 4
, 2010

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds the percentage of Americans saying they want the Roe v. Wade ruling that allowed abortion on demand overturned has reached a new high. Meanwhile, Americans say the current Supreme Court, which has a 5-4 pro-abortion majority, is too liberal.

The Post-ABC poll has been asking a question about overturning Roe since 2005 and, this year, 60 percent said no while a new high of 38 percent said the favor reversing the case.

The poll found 60 percent of Republicans want Roe reversed, up from 54 percent last year.

The percentage of Americans wanting Roe overturned may have been higher had the Post and ABC News properly explained the Supreme Court case.

The question respondents were asked read: "The Supreme Court legalized abortion 37 years ago in the ruling known as Roe versus Wade. If that case came before the court again, would you want the next justice to vote to (uphold) Roe versus Wade, or vote to (overturn) it?"

That doesn’t describe how Roe, and its companion Doe v. Bolton case, essentially allowed unlimited abortions for any reason throughout the entirety of pregnancy. Polling data consistently shows a large majority of Americans oppose that kind of unlimited abortion scheme.

Ed Whelan wrote about the poll, released late last week, in National Review and agreed the question is poorly worded.

"The Left might try to find hope in the report [that 60% favor Roe]," he writes. "But even apart from the fact that the 38% figure is apparently a high, the Roe question is drafted in a way that predictably understates support for overturning Roe."

"The phrase ‘legalized abortion’ could easily lead respondents to believe that the effect of overturning Roe would be to make abortion illegal, when it would in fact be to restore abortion policy to the democratic processes," the legal scholar continues. "Nor, of course, does the question reveal how extreme the Roe/Casey regime is and how it prevents implementation of measures that Americans overwhelmingly support."

He points to questions in a prior poll that provided a more accurate description of Roe and found "with even a brief education about what Roe really means, public opinion on overturning Roe swung a full 16 points in the direction favoring the reversal of Roe."

Also, an August 2009 HarrisPoll found Americans moving away from supporting Roe v. Wade.

Meanwhile, the new Post-ABC News poll found 46 percent say the current court is balanced in its decisions. But 26 percent consider it too liberal, compared with 21 percent who say it is too conservative.

That’s a chance from three years ago, when the same poll showed 31 percent called the Supreme Court’s rulings too conservative and 18 percent thought they were too liberal.

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