AP abortion poll misleads respondents

Dec. 2, 2004: File this one under “You get what you ask for.”

An Associated Press poll’s finding of surprisingly high numbers of Americans wanting President Bush to appoint judges to the Supreme Court who would uphold the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion could be traced back to how the question was asked:

“As you may know, President Bush may have the opportunity to appoint several new justices to the U.S. Supreme Court during his second term. The 1973 Supreme Court ruling called Roe v. Wade made abortion in the first three months of pregnancy legal. Do you think President Bush should nominate Supreme Court justices who would uphold the Roe v. Wade decision, or nominate justices who would overturn the Roe v. Wade decision?”

In reality, Roe v. Wade struck down all laws restricting abortion in all 50 states, in effect legalizing abortion throughout the entire nine months of gestation.

“Roe v. Wade allows absolutely no limits on reasons for abortion until nearly six months into pregnancy,” National Right to Life legislative director Douglas Johnson said. “It is way past time for the news media to stop distorting the real terms of Roe v. Wade.”

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