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Poll reveals most Americans don't know facts on Roe vs. Wade

By Editorial Staff
Published September 1, 1991

An overwhelming majority of Americans do not understand how available abortion is under Roe vs. Wade, a recent Gallup Poll reveals.

The recent poll, commissioned by Americans United for Life, asked 2,174 adults (18 and over) 200 questions in face to face interviews at over 360 locations nationwide. A mere 17.6% of those surveyed correctly answered that abortion is legal “for the duration of the pregnancy” under the Roe decision.

After 18 years since the Supreme Court decision, an great number of Americans do not understand how legal abortion is. For instance, in addition to the 17.6% who correctly realized that abortion is legal “for the duration of the pregnancy,” 24.1% thought that it was legal only when “the mother’s life is threatened,” while 39.5% chose “only in the first trimester,” and 12.6% were “not sure.” Equally as unbelievable, 6.3% of those Americans who said that they were “familiar with Roe vs. Wade” said that the decision made all abortions illegal.

Although the Supreme Court effectively invalidated all bans on abortion in the 1973 decision, over 80% of Americans, according to Gallup, do not understand this. The political rhetoric of the pro-abortion minority has effectively kept these people in the dark about Roe.

Most Americans oppose abortions in most circumstances and would support legislation to protect unborn life. According to the recent Gallup Poll (which statistically has a plus-or-minus error factor of 2 to 3 percent) 91% of Americans oppose “sex-selection” abortions and Almost 70% favor “parental consent” for minors. Furthermore, 86% favor “informed consent” for the woman having an abortion.

In many cases, people who consider themselves pro-choice do not know what they are supporting. The “first trimester myth” is still being propagated by both pro-abortion groups and the national media, when in fact abortion remains legal throughout a pregnancy.


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