Poll finding support for Roe is misleading, pro-life group says

NIFLA protest outside the Supreme Court Credit Jonah McKeown CNA Pro-life protest outside the Supreme Court. | Jonah McKeown / CNA.

A recent poll suggesting widespread support for Roe v. Wade fails to account for the misinformation surrounding the 1973 Supreme Court decision, said the head of a prominent pro-life group this week.

"Polling can only be as accurate as the information available to respondents," said Catherine Glenn Foster, president and CEO of the pro-life group Americans United for Life, in a statement.

She pointed to a 2013 study by the Pew Research Center which found that the majority of polled adults ages 18-29 "did not even know that the 1973 case dealt with abortion."

"A combination of misleading poll questions and 45 years of misinformation and fear-mongering about Roe v. Wade by extreme pro-abortion groups like Planned Parenthood has conditioned millions of Americans to believe that overturning Roe v. Wade is tantamount to the apocalypse," Foster said.

A new poll from NBC News and the Wall Street Journal, released this week, found that 71 percent of registered voters believe Roe v. Wade should not be reversed, with 23 percent saying it should be overturned.

The poll was taken earlier this month, amid speculation that U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, if confirmed, could pave the way for the repeal of Roe v. Wade, which mandated legal abortion nationwide.

However, Foster said, many Americans do not know that the repeal of Roe v. Wade "would not make abortion illegal nationwide" but would leave the issue up to each state, as it was before 1973.

She added that many Americans do not realize that "Roe is widely criticized as a poorly reasoned and overly broad decision, even among liberal legal jurists such as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg."

Other recent polls have found strong support among Americans for limitations on abortion.

A poll released by Gallup last month as part of its Values and Beliefs survey found that two-thirds of Americans favor at least some legal restrictions on abortion. It also found that Americans who think abortion is morally wrong outnumber those who see it as morally acceptable, a result that is consistent with Gallup's findings since it first started surveying Americans about the issue in 2001.

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