Numerous polls on the public’s opinion of Roe v. Wade — the decision which legalized abortion in the United States in 1973, overriding all state laws at the time — have been taken in recent weeks, with President Trump’s nomination of a new Supreme Court justice causing abortion supporters to fear that Roe may be overturned soon. These polls all seem to show that the public is heavily in favor of Roe and of legal abortion. But cheering from the pro-abortion camp aside, the truth is that when Americans are asked more in-depth questions about when abortion should be restricted, it is revealed that Americans do not actually support abortion on demand — even though groups like Planned Parenthood and NARAL claim the opposite. This was noted by Michael J. New in a recent article at National Review, in which he pointed out that these Roe v. Wade polls are “misleading” for several reasons:
… [A] significant number of Americans are unfamiliar with the Roe v. Wade decision. A Pew Research Center poll taken in 2013 found that only 62 percent of respondents were aware that Roe v. Wade dealt with abortion…. Many wrongly think that overturning Roe v. Wade would result in national ban on abortion, instead a reversal of Roe would return the issue to the states.
Additionally, many polling questions… fail to inform respondents that Roe v. Wade effectively legalized abortion on demand for all nine months of pregnancy and makes it difficult to place limits on late-term abortions.
The wording used by pollsters affects the way people tend to answer a question.
At Real Clear Politics, the March for Life’s Jeanne Mancini writes that Roe “legalized overnight abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy.” How many Americans know this, do you suppose? Mancini adds, “It left to the states, however, regulating abortions during the second and third trimesters. So, Roe was in effect the beginning—not the end—of a national conversation about the legal limits of abortion, especially in the second and third trimesters.”
And Americans don’t support unlimited abortion as Roe legalized. Mancini notes (emphasis added):
Marist asked specifically about later abortions and found Americans heavily favor restrictions during the last two trimesters. Seventy-six percent of Americans said they would like to see abortion restricted to the first three months of pregnancy—and even a majority (60 percent) of those who self-identify as pro-choice favor such restrictions. Those numbers have been more or less consistent for the past decade.
She also points out a Gallup poll which showed that 81% of people would make abortion in the third trimester “generally illegal,” and 65% said the same about second trimester abortions. In addition, 77% of people wouldn’t allow abortion in the third trimester for any reason.
Late-term abortions are still all too common, with multiple abortionists making a lucrative living from this grisly trade. No matter how the abortion industry tries to portray these abortionists as heroes, Americans do not like abortion in general, and they are horrified when abortionists are caught telling the truth about what it is they really do. The more Americans see abortion, the more hearts and minds are changed regarding abortion. It is easy to say, “I support a woman’s right to choose,” but when you have to look at the results of that so-called “right” or at the gruesome process of torture and death to which children in the womb are subjected, it is much more difficult to continue supporting it.
Bottom line: The vast majority of Americans want abortion heavily restricted. And that means they may think they support Roe v. Wade — but they actually don’t.