Poll: Americans Don't Understand Roe

“We’re not choosing between Cheerios or Raisin Bran, we’re ripping out the life of children.”
—Charmaine Yoest, Family Research Council

The REAL Women’s Voices coalition released a national poll today at the National Press Club, which shows that most people do not know what Roe v. Wade means. The poll’s release coincides with tomorrow’s Washington “lobbying day” on Capitol Hill.

Charmaine Yoest of the Family Research Council says Americans like the word choice, but that is deceptive when it comes to abortion. “This is the civil rights issue of our day, and women’s voices are leading the way toward change,” Yoest said. “As we look ahead to the 2006 congressional elections, we are here to tell Congress that real women want a real response to pro-life issues.”

Here are some results from the poll:

  • Nearly two-thirds (65%) of respondents said they were familiar with Roe but when asked which of four descriptions were accurate, only 29% picked correctly:

    29%: Made abortion legal in essentially all circumstances throughout pregnancy
    18%: Made abortion legal but only in the first trimester
    17%: Made abortion legal but only in limited circumstances
    15%: Made abortion legal but only in the first and second trimesters

  • The majority (54%) agreed with one of the three following pro-life statements:

    Abortion should be prohibited in all circumstances
    Abortion should be legal only to save the life of the mother
    Abortion should be legal only in cases of rape, incest or to save the mother’s life

“The pro-life trend is almost impossible to deny,” says Marjorie Dannefelser, chairman of the Susan B. Anthony List, which sponsored the event. “Roe is hanging by a thread that is increasingly being frayed by the American people’s exposure to the facts of abortion. These numbers show that our abortion laws don’t represent the beliefs of the vast majority of Americans, including American women,” adding that pro-choice women of the past have “betrayed us.”

Also speaking was Ramesh Ponnuru, author of the just-released book, “The Party of Death: The Democrats, the Media, the Courts, and the Disregard for Human Life” (published by Regnery, a HUMAN EVENTS sister company). “It is a time of great hope for pro-lifers,” Ponnuru said. “Pro-choicers are now on the defense.”

Ponnuru credits ultra-sound machines for changing the state of abortion in America. As for the way Democrats face this issue, Ponnuru sees three options. They can 1) run on a pro-life platform like Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Bob Casey, 2) change their rhetoric like Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean, or 3) deceive the public like Sen. Hillary Clinton, who plays to the press and says she is “willing to compromise.” He believes the Casey approach holds the most promise.

“True feminism means listening to the voices of women,” said Janet Morana of Priests for Life. “It is my hope that the senators we visit this week will really listen to the message from REAL Women’s Voices.”