America is not “solidly pro-choice”

The polls show it to be so, but NARAL Pro-Choice President Ilyse Hogue flies in the face of reality by dishonestly suggesting otherwise.

On last week's 41st anniversary of the Roe V. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decisions that together gave the green light to abortions on demand, Hogue came up with this deception:

It's no wonder that public support for the rights enshrined in

Ilyse Hogue

Ilyse Hogue

Roe is at a record high. Seven out of ten Americans support that landmark decision, making America solidly a pro-choice country.

She also referred to America’s “pro-choice” majority.

A deeper look at the statistics reveals Hogue’s claims to be a deception, possibly even an intentional one.

While it’s true that, according to the Gallup Poll, the “majority of Americans still support Roe v. Wade,” that question doesn’t begin to tell the story. Hogue neglects (intentionally?) to say that the poll concludes that “while few want Roe overturned, most favor some limits [on abortion and] oppose late-term abortions.

In fact, fewer that 28 percent of Americans support NARAL’s extreme position that abortion should be legal under any circumstance. On the other side, 18 percent say it should be illegal in all circumstances.

Which means that the majority (52 percent) of Americans believe that abortion should be legal only under certain circumstances.

Unfortunately, labels such as “pro-choice” and “pro-life” don’t reflect these nuances. Americans tend to be evenly divided when it comes to self-identifying themselves as pro-choice or pro-life. In the latest Gallup poll, 48 percent called themselves pro-choice and 44 percent pro-life. However, in annual polls since 2009, slightly more Americans identify themselves as pro-life.

Also, a poll by Anderson Robbins Research and Shaw & Company Research for Fox News found that 48 percent currently consider themselves pro-life and 45 percent pro-choice.

But as I say, the usefulness of such labels is questionable, since they mask importance differences.

Digging deeper into the polls reveals  that a solid majority of Americas do not agree with the extremist positions of such groups as NARAL, Planned Parenthood and Personal PAC of Illinois that forbid any and all restrictions on abortion, even reasonable ones that the majority support, such as parental notification.

Furthermore, simply asking Americans if they don’t want to see Roe repealed isn’t very useful.

First, many Americans don’t fully understand that Roe doesn’t stand by itself, but was issued jointly with the critically important and clarifying decision, Doe v. Bolton. That decision cleared the way for abortions on demand: It exempts from any restrictions on abortion (including late term) that are done to “preserve” a woman’s health. That sounds reasonable enough, except Doe defines women’s health so widely that it has virtually no meaning. Health is defined* not just any physical problems but any other “problem” as defined by the woman and her doctor. Which means virtually no restrictions.

NARAL and it’s allied anti-life extremists won’t discuss these nuances, or even acknowledge the existence of Doe v. Bolton, a dodge that so many of my fellow journalists allow. People like Hogue are counting on that, so that they can continue their unconscionable lie that most Americans agree with them.

*The actual language: “We agree with the District Court, 319 F. Supp., at 1058, that the medical judgment may be exercised in the light of all factors - physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman's age - relevant to the well-being of the patient. All these factors may relate to health.”

Related: Following a Year of Pro-Life Victories NARAL Ranks U.S. a “D” on Abortion

U.S. Supreme Court

DOE v. BOLTON, 410 U.S. 179 (1973)

410 U.S. 179

No. 70-40. 

Argued December 13, 1971 Reargued October 11, 1972 
Decided January 22, 1973

If you don't know the War of 1812, you don't know American history.  Go here to find out why.

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