Pew Distorts Americans' Views on Abortion
According to Pew, most people oppose overturning Roe v. Wade -- the implication being that most people support America's current abortion laws. But all you need to know to see that the headlines are insane and that the Pew survey's conclusions are distortions is the following, from the Pew Report:
However, the public continues to be divided over whether it is morally acceptable to have an abortion. Nearly half (47%) say it is morally wrong to have an abortion, while just 13% find this morally acceptable; 27% say this is not a moral issue and 9% volunteer that it depends on the situation. These opinions have changed little since 2006.
The headlines would have you believe that 63% of Americans oppose overturning the law legalizing abortion on demand, even though 47% of Americans think abortion is immoral -- 3.5 times more than think abortion is moral. Given these numbers, does it seem even remotely credible that the people who oppose overturning Roe v. Wade are saying that they favor abortion at any time for any reason?
The reality is that many of the people sampled did not know what Roe v. Wade was about, just as many Americans don't believe that abortion is legal for any reason right up until a child is born -- and, if Obama gets his way, for a little bit after the child is born, so long as the birth is the result of a botched abortion.
In fact, one can only speculate on the rationale behind posing a survey about abortion by using a question related to Roe v. Wade when the survey's own results show that only 62% of Americans even knew that Roe v. Wade dealt with abortion. Twenty percent of respondents had no idea what Roe v. Wade was about, and 17% thought it was about desegregation, the death penalty (oddly correct when you think about it), or environmental protection.
Interestingly enough, the group that was most pro-life, Republicans, was also the group most aware of what Roe v. Wade was about. Seventy percent of Republicans knew that Roe v. Wade was about abortion.
The actual question from the Pew Poll was the following:
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?
This question is biased and misleading on many levels. The reality is that abortion is legal through all nine months of pregnancy, as demonstrated by the rather major fight over the outlawing of the partial-birth abortion procedure. Why would anyone object to outlawing a late-term abortion procedure if there were no late-term abortions? Yet abortion advocates were very upset when partial-birth abortions were outlawed.
Secondly, the use of the word "completely" was clearly designed to rig the poll. Most Americans who do support abortion do so in cases of rape, incest, and threat to the life of the mother and with the understanding that the abortion occurs when the unborn is still just a "blob of tissue" -- i.e., within the first three months. (Once again, perception is reality, since we are never just blobs of tissue before we're born.)
Pew's own results show that 45% of Americans say that abortion should be illegal in most or all cases. Those results are conservative from a pro-life perspective in that Pew doesn't mention how "most cases" was described.
The constant drum beat we all hear from the pro-abortion community, including our president and Planned Parenthood, is that abortion is about rape, incest, and threat to the life of the mother. How many times has some raped 12-year-old been held up as why abortion should be legal? When questioning random Americans, Pew should know that using terms like "most abortions" will reflect the perception of the respondent not the reality of abortion in America.
Indeed, if the people who supposedly support abortion in most cases were told that rape, incest, and threat to the life of the mother account for less than 2% of all abortions, it is likely that some, if not many, would switch to the "illegal in most cases" group. A study in England found that only 0.006% of abortions are due to a threat to the life of the mother -- that is, six in every 100,000 abortions. The Alan Guttmacher Institute, spun off from Planned Parenthood, reported that roughly 1% of abortions are due to rape and less than 0.5% to incest.
Previous Pew polls on religion-related issues have shown significant bias, but the wording of this poll, purposely narrowing the issue to just the first three months and giving respondents an all-or-nothing approach -- rape victims couldn't get an abortion with the wording used by Pew -- seems intentionally designed to produce apparent pro-abortion results.
Given the shellacking doled out to Republicans who questioned the right of a woman to kill her unborn daughter who was conceived via rape, no reasonable person would doubt that a poll question which is as extreme as the one used by Pew produces an apparently very pro-abortion result.
Additionally, the Pew wording suggests that a woman whose life was at risk couldn't get an abortion. While the reality is that such situations rarely arise, as shown by the study in England above, the perception of the public, due to years of pro-abortion propaganda, is that many women each year would die if abortion weren't legal. You'd have to be pretty hardcore pro-life not to answer the Pew question in the negative.
Given that other Pew data show that 45% of Americans believe that abortion should be illegal in most or all cases, why didn't some alarm bells go off at Pew when they published a report implying that only 29% of Americans want any restrictions on abortion? It would appear that any reports by Pew in the future will have to be viewed with a great deal of skepticism.
The real news is that Americans are extremely pro-life. When asked if abortion in the first three months of pregnancy should be outlawed in cases of rape, incest, and threat to the life of the mother, nearly 1 in 3 Americans said yes. That means one in three Americans is an absolutist on the right to life of the unborn, and Pew's other results show that many more Americans think abortion should be allowed only in extreme cases.
Yet that's not the message either Pew or the media wish to send. To counteract this media bias, make sure you tell your friends, pro-abortion or pro-life, about what the Pew poll really says.
You can read more of Tom's rants at http://obvioustalk.blogspot.com.