According to an Associated Press poll, 59 percent of Americans believe President Bush should choose a Supreme Court nominee who would uphold the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that restricted the right of the states to regulate abortion. But could the poll results be skewed based on misleading questions? That’s what some pro-life advocates are saying.
Steven Ertelt, LifeNews.com Editor, says that the poll contained “a key error that probably drastically changed the results.” The poll question reportedly stated that Roe v. Wade made abortion legal in the first three months of pregnancy — implying it is only legal in the first three months. Ertelt says this isn’t true.
He quotes National Right to Life legislative director Douglas Johnson as saying “Roe v. Wade allows absolutely no limits on reasons for abortion until nearly six months into pregnancy.”
In fact, Roe v. Wade made abortion legal for any reason at any time until “viability,” the 22-24 week point in pregnancy where an unborn child, with medical assistance, can survive on her own outside of her mother’s womb.
After viability, the Supreme Court says abortions may be performed for any reason to protect a woman’s “health” — a term that has been so broadly defined as to include virtually any reason. Roughly 10 percent, or 130,000 legal abortions, are performed annually in the United States after viability.
In addition, according to Ertelt, this poll contradicts previous polling data, including a Wirthlin Worldwide poll following the elections which showed that 55 percent were basically pro-life with a combined 40 percent favoring legalized abortions.
Beyond the arguments stated in this article I think there is another gross misperception among the American public concerning the abortion issue. Most people seem to believe that if Roe were overturned that abortion would automatically be illegal and the people who have no say in the matter.
The truth is that before Roe the issue was decided by the democratically elected legislatures of the fifty states. The people, through their duly elected representatives, determined the legality of abortion. If Roe were overturned, we would revert to that system.
Pro-abortion advocates would still be free to legalize abortion through the democratic process. It was the Roe decision that took the matter out of the people’s hands in favor of judicial decree. And this judicial decree was issued in complete contravention of the Constituiton by the creation, out of whole cloth, of a constitutional right to privacy, which a majority of the justices found hiding in the “emanations and penumbras” of the Bill of Rights.
For those interested, here’s a link to the actual Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade.