Abortion and Polling Propaganda
In order to further the liberal agenda on the legalized killing of children still in their mothers’ wombs and to help elect more Democrats, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the largest newspaper in the state of Georgia, has engaged in polling propaganda. Of course, given that the AJC is dominated by those with a liberal worldview, this should surprise no one. However, it doesn’t mean we should let them get away with it.
As I noted in a recent column, earlier this year the Georgia legislature passed the LIFE Act -- often dubbed a “fetal heartbeat” bill. Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has yet to sign the bill, but he is widely expected to do so. Given that protecting the so-called “right” to kill the unborn is sacred to the modern left, liberals across my home state of Georgia have gone to great lengths to demonize and discourage anyone willing to stand up for the most helpless and innocent among us.
In an effort to discourage the pro-life movement and to paint the U.S. as more pro-abortion than it really is, for years now abortion apologists -- especially those in the media and the Democratic Party -- have promoted polls that supposedly show overwhelming support for the infamous Roe v. Wade decision. For example, late last summer, after President Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh for a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court, a Wall Street Journal (WSJ)/NBC News poll purported to show 71 percent of Americans were against “completely overturn[ing]” Roe.
However, such polls are almost always seriously flawed. As Michael J. New noted at the time,
The survey question began by stating that Roe v. Wade established a right to an abortion, “at least in the first three months of pregnancy.” It then asked respondents if they would like to see the Supreme Court “completely overturn” Roe v. Wade. As such, many respondents likely concluded that Roe v. Wade only legalized abortion in the first trimester and a reversal of Roe would ban first-trimester abortions.
On the question of overturning Roe, the recent AJC poll uses the exact same deceptive language as the WSJ/NBC poll. The question reads,
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?
Unsurprisingly, poll results showed that, to the above question, 70 percent answered “no.” Subsequently, on its website (and I’m assuming in the print edition as well) the AJC ran the headline “AJC poll: Strong support for Roe.” The first sentence of the article declared, “Seven of 10 Georgia voters say they oppose overturning the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case that guaranteed the right to an abortion, according to a new Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll.”
The article made no mention of how polling subjects were asked about the Roe decision. To warn readers about this, I noted as much in the comments section of the article. Shortly thereafter, my comment was deleted, and soon after that, the AJC website posted an article that contained the poll questions and results.
Given that we are 46 years removed from the Supreme Court’s ruling on Roe, many Americans are ignorant about the fact that Roe v. Wade deals with abortion. Thus, pollsters are left to try to explain the decision in one or two sentences. Therefore, we get inaccurate polling results on the Roe decision and on abortion. As was noted in National Review last year,
A Pew Research Center poll taken in 2013 found that only 62 percent of respondents were aware that Roe v. Wade dealt with abortion. Seventeen percent thought Roe v. Wade dealt with some other public-policy issue and 20 percent were unfamiliar with the decision. Furthermore, even many who realize Roe v. Wade dealt with abortion fail to understand the full implications of the decision. Many wrongly think that overturning Roe v. Wade would result in [a] national ban on abortion, instead a reversal of Roe would return the issue to the states.
What’s more, while the recent AJC poll supposedly showed overwhelming support for the Roe decision, respondents were about evenly split on their support for Georgia’s LIFE Act. Forty-three percent said they somewhat or strongly supported the bill while 48 percent said they somewhat or strongly opposed it. These results are more in line with what more sophisticated abortion polling reveals.
For example, consider last year’s Gallup poll on abortion. On the question of whether the Supreme Court should overturn Roe, 28 percent said yes and 64 percent said no. However, more detailed questioning reveals that Americans are not as much in favor of Roe as a simple question on overturning Roe might indicate. When asked whether an abortion should be legal in the first three months of pregnancy, “When the woman does not want the child for any reason” (the vast majority of abortions are performed because the child would be an inconvenience), 45 percent said it should be legal, while 53 percent said it should not be legal.
When the same question is asked about the last three months of pregnancy, only 20 percent said abortion should be legal, while 77 percent said it should not be legal. Likewise, in the last three months of pregnancy, when asked about whether abortion should be legal if the child would be “born mentally disabled” or “born with Down Syndrome,” the vast majority thought abortion should be illegal (61 percent to 35 percent and 68 percent to 29 percent, respectively) in such cases.
However, under the court’s current interpretation of Roe -- a legal and moral abomination -- laws that would restrict abortion according to the above opinions would almost certainly be struck down. In other words, because of the pro-abortion hyperbole regularly thrown around by liberals, many Americans simply don’t understand that for U.S. laws to reflect such opinions, Roe would have to go.
Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor is the author of the The Miracle and Magnificence of America