Mainstream media outlets are touting new polls claiming to show that Americans support Roe v Wade and want a Supreme Court Justice to replace retiring pro-abortion Justice Anthony Kennedy who also supports abortion.
However most of the polling data supplied simply asks Americans what they think about the Roe v Wade decision. The polling questions do not provide any details about what the infamous Roe decision actually did. As a result, the polling really has little worth or value because Americans for the most part don’t really understand the pervasive nature of Roe v Wade and how it allowed virtually unlimited abortions.
Few Americans have a comprehensive understanding of the Supreme Court jurisprudence on abortion and don’t realize that Roe is combined with a companion case Doe v. Bolton that has a health exception big enough to drive a Mack truck through. When combined, the cases essentially prohibit states from putting forward any limits or bans on abortions before viability — and most abortions are done pre-viability. And even after viability, the health exception allows virtually unlimited abortions because almost any reason for an abortion can be justified under the exception.
Thus, i the new poll, the respondent is not told that the decision (along with its companion case Doe v. Bolton) essentially established abortion throughout all nine months. That includes killing fully mature, perfectly healthy babies if a woman so desires.
Previous polling data makes it clear that Americans don’t fully understand the extensiveness of Roe v Wade and it’s pro-abortion character.
Gallup trends indicate that the increase in public uncertainty about overturning Roe v. Wade is largely the result of a growing percentage of young adults aged 18 to 29 expressing no opinion. This suggests that the generation born entirely after Roe became law has had less exposure to information about the decision than those who lived through the original decision, or were at least old enough to witness some of the major abortion debates during the 1980s and ’90s, such as those involving President Ronald Reagan’s nomination of Robert Bork to the Supreme Court in 1987 and reaction to the high court’s Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey decision in 1992.
The same kind of misinformation about Roe and abortion was seen in a recent Pew poll, where two-thirds of young Americans didn’t even know Roe v. Wade had to do with abortion.
As James Agresti, President of Just Facts, pointed out previously…
The designers of the Pew poll boost support for the ruling by telling respondents: “In 1973 the Roe versus Wade decision established a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion, at least in the first three months of pregnancy. Would you like to see the Supreme Court completely overturn its Roe versus Wade decision, or not?”
That language is misleading because Roe v. Wade, along with its accompanying ruling, Doe v. Bolton, mandate that abortion be legal up until the point of birth if any one physician willing to perform an abortion says it is needed for “the preservation of the … health of the mother.” Furthermore, Roe cites specific examples of what may be considered harmful to a mother’s health, such as the “stigma of unwed motherhood,” the work of “child care,” and “the distress, for all concerned, associated with the unwanted child.”
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Likewise, Doe v. Bolton, which was issued by the Supreme Court on the same day as Roe v. Wade with an order that they “are to be read together,” states that “the medical judgment may be exercised in the light of all factors — physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman’s age — relevant to the well-being of the patient. All these factors may relate to health.”
Thus, “health,” as defined by Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, provides broad leeway to perform abortions throughout pregnancy. In Roe v. Wade, the majority wrote that their ruling does not permit abortions “at whatever time, in whatever way, and for whatever reason” a woman chooses, but they provided no example of a circumstance where abortion could be prohibited.
In fact when Roe is more fully explained, Americans oppose it in greater numbers.
The Judicial Confirmation Network and the Ethics and Public Policy Center were curious to find out what the public thinks about Roe if educated about the facts of the case.
They commissioned the highly respected national public-affairs research firm Ayres, McHenry & Associates to conduct a national survey of registered voters on abortion issues.
The survey 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.
The polling firm 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. It represents a huge shift of 16 percentage points in terms of the public attitude on the case.
So just where do American stand on the issue of abortion? The answer is very clear and it comes from recent polling data from Gallup which shows that when actually asked about when abortions ought to be illegal most Americans do not support Roe v Wade and abortions being legal in all cases. Americans want either all abortions are most abortions to be made illegal. The Gallup polling data is actually very clear and showing a majority of Americans would actually want April life Justice who would overturn Roe v Wade.
“In a follow-up question asked of those in the middle “legal under certain circumstances” group, most of these respondents say it should be legal “only in a few” rather than in “most” circumstances,” the polling institute reported. “The result is that 43% of Americans say abortion should be legal in all (29%) or most (14%) circumstances, while a majority of 53% say it should be legal in only a few (35%) or no circumstances (18%). No fewer than 51% of Americans have favored more restrictive abortion laws since 1994, when Gallup first asked the follow-up probe of those saying abortion should be legal under certain circumstances.”
So the most accurate polling data bout their true stance on abortion shows Americans oppose what Roe v. Wade did in allowing almost unlimited abortions, even if they don’t know what Roe did.