Polling Results Offer Continuing Signs of Hope in 2006; WHEN JUDICIAL PRECEDENT SUBVERTS THE CONSTITUTION.Let not your hearts be troubled by polls showing support for Roe v. Wade Roe v. Wade, case decided in 1973 by the U.S. Supreme Court. Along with Doe v. Bolton, this decision legalized abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy. or a "pro-choice" majority of Americans. Results like these are produced by questions that are biased (implying, for example, that Roe legalized only first-trimester abortions), imprecise im·pre·cise
impre·cisely adv. , or confusing. Sometimes all three.
Many polls ask whether abortion should be legal under most or only a few "circumstances" or "legal in most cases" versus "illegal in most cases." Words like cases, circumstances, most, some, and few can mean very different things to different people in the context of abortion.
A question such as "Would you like to see the Supreme Court overturn its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision concerning abortion, or not?" assumes that the respondent knows what Roe really entails and what the impact of its being overturned would be. A whopping 66% answered "no, do not overturn" (CNN/USA Today/Gallup, January, 2006).
Either two-thirds of Americans really do support abortion on demand throughout pregnancy (hardly likely) or many of them do not realize that is what Roe produced. And many may think that the impact of overturning Roe would be automatically to outlaw all abortions throughout the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. . Advocacy groups exploit such misunderstandings to portray a future in which women are suddenly sent off to die from "coat hanger" or "back alley" abortions.
Why can we assume that most of the 66% of respondents expressing support for Roe are ill-informed? Because polls with precisely-worded questions based on identified circumstances, which are far better measures of public opinion, show waning support for the policy of Roe. A CBS News CBS News is the news division of American television and radio network CBS. Its current president is Sean McManus who is also head of CBS Sports. Current productions
Current television shows
abortion should only be permitted to save the woman's life (17%)
it should be permitted only in cases of rape, incest incest, sexual relations between persons to whom marriage is prohibited by custom or law because of their close kinship. Ideas of kinship, however, vary widely from group to group, hence the definition of incest also varies. , and to save the woman's life (33%)
it should be permitted, but subject to greater restrictions than it is now (15%)
it should be permitted in all cases (27%).
Alert readers will notice a category missing. The poll did not even offer the choice of "should never be permitted," which has garnered as much as 17% in other polls. Nevertheless, 5% of respondents volunteered that answer. So the composite result is that (at least) 55% of Americans would ban all abortion, or restrict its legality le·gal·i·ty
n. pl. le·gal·i·ties
1. The state or quality of being legal; lawfulness.
2. Adherence to or observance of the law.
3. A requirement enjoined by law. Often used in the plural. to cases where the mother's life is at risk or the pregnancy resulted from rape or incestall of which together make up less than 1.5% of abortions.
In addition 70% of Americans want abortion to be subject to greater restrictions than it is now, compared to 27% who would keep abortion as it is under Roe. These pro-life results are encouraging.
An April 2006 poll by The Polling Company offered these six choices:
never legal (16%)
legal only when mother's life is in danger (16%)
mother's life at risk plus cases of rape and incest (22%)
legal for any reason during first 3 months only (21%)
legal through 6 months (8%)
legal any time, any reason (12%).
To summarize sum·ma·rize
intr. & tr.v. sum·ma·rized, sum·ma·riz·ing, sum·ma·riz·es
To make a summary or make a summary of.
sum , 54% of respondents would restrict abortion to the 1.5% of "hard cases," and only 12% favor the abortion regime established by Roe and Planned Parenthood Planned Parenthood
A service mark used for an organization that provides family planning services. v.Casey. And that's how we know that the 66% of Americans who answered "don't overturn Roe" in the poll mentioned earlier do not know Roe.
Just the month before Zogby International Zogby International is a polling firm which was founded by John Zogby in 1984. References
1. ^ About us. Zogby. Retrieved on 2007-10-11. conducted an extraordinary survey, unusual for the number and specificity of its questions on abortion, and for its breadth30,117 respondents in the 48 contiguous states. Due to its size, the margin of error (MOE Moe
continually exasperated at Larry and Curly for their mischievous pranks. [TV: “The Three Stooges” in Terrace, II, 366]
See : Exasperation ) was only 0.6%, significantly less than the standard 34% MOE in surveys of 1,000 people.
The survey results are useful markers pointing to where the pro-life community has succeeded, where it can expect to be successful in the near future, and where greater educational efforts are needed. There were any number of encouraging results.
One recent success: The pro-life outcry against a litmus test litmus test
A test for chemical acidity or basicity using litmus paper. for judicial nominees based on allegiance to Roe v. Wadewidely reported and seconded by many national commentatorsresonated with public opinion. By a margin of better than 2 to 1 (59% to 28%), respondents oppose the use of a filibuster filibuster, term used to designate obstructionist tactics in legislative assemblies. It has particular reference to the U.S. Senate, where the tradition of unlimited debate is very strong. It was not until 1917 that the Senate provided for cloture (i.e. based on a nominee's position on abortion. Only 18% of respondents say that only pro-choice nominees should be confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court; 71% disagree.
An area where greater educational efforts are called for: half of Americans have forgotten a basic lesson from high school biology:
only 50% think human life begins at conception
9% think life begins at 3 months
8% at 6 months and
19% at birth.
Responding to another question, 59% of respondents agree (29% disagree) that abortion ends a human life. It appears that 29% of Americans define the beginning of a human life according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. some standard other than biological reality. In doing so, they fail to see the danger of defining life based on outward appearance, or on some social or philosophical criteria like self-awareness or the ability to feed oneself. Efforts to correct such fallacies This is a list of fallacies. Formal fallacies
Formal fallacies are arguments that are fallacious due to an error in their form or technical structure.
The Zogby survey also gauged support for various pro-life laws. Support continues to be strong for the most common state restrictions on abortion. Requiring parental notification for a minor to have an abortion is favored almost 2 to 1 (59% approved, 32% opposed). Support rises to a 3 to 1 margin where such laws apply to minors under 16 years of age69% vs. 23%.
Respondents approve of informed consent laws by a margin of 55% to 37%, and support 24-hour waiting period laws by an almost identical margin56% to 37%. In a question referring to a generic law along the lines of the Unborn Victims of Violence Act The Unborn Victims of Violence Act of 2004 (Public Law 108-212) is a United States law which recognizes a "child in utero" as a legal victim, if he or she is injured or killed during the commission of any of over 60 listed federal crimes of violence. , 64% of respondents believe a person who murders a pregnant woman and her unborn child is guilty of two murders; 23% disagree. By a margin of 69% to 21%, respondents favor a U.S. policy prohibiting the use of foreign aid money for abortions in countries that permit sex selection abortions. An astonishing a·ston·ish
tr.v. as·ton·ished, as·ton·ish·ing, as·ton·ish·es
To fill with sudden wonder or amazement. See Synonyms at surprise. 86% believe sex selection abortions should be illegal in the United States.
The advent of a culture of life, where all the weak are protected and pregnant women are accepted and supported with their unborn children, may still seem a long journey. But we can be forgiven if we think we can detect the first hint of the dawn.
Susan Wills is the associate director for education of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Secretariat Secretariat, 1970–89, thoroughbred race horse. Trained by Lucien Laurin and ridden by Ron Turcotte, Secretariat won the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont Stakes to capture the Triple Crown in 1973.
(foaled 1970) U.S. for Pro-Life Activities.