Saturday, September 24, 2005

The Truth About Abortion - How Do Americans Really Feel?

We all understand, I think, that there is great potential for abuse in polling. The pollsters can ask questions in certain ways to put pressure on the person being polled to answer in the way they think the pollster wants them to answer. The list can be poorly created so as to give bias to certain parts of the country, city vs suburbs, men vs women, old vs young, etc. And the raw statistical information can be interpreted to get the answer desired by the pollster. An easy way to do this is to only report the results of questions that agree with the pollsters point of view.

One way for the citizen to get closer to the truth is to see the same basic question asked by many pollsters over many years. This may result in contradictions, confirmation, or even trends over time.

The following truths about Abortion seem to be born out by virtually every poll. I am prepared to make changes in this post based on comments or e-mails pointing me to other polls.

1. Most Americans do not believe that abortion should be easily available after the first trimester.
2. The vast majority of Americans believe that there should be parental notification before a teen is allowed to have an abortion.
3. The vast majority of Americans favor restrictions on abortions
4. Only a very small percentage of Americans believe that a woman should be able to have an abortion for any reason at any time during the pregnancy.
5. Most Americans would allow abortions during the first trimester for rape, incest, and health risk to the mother.

When you hear political candidates or television commentators saying the opposite of these truths, it would only be common sense to doubt that they tell the truth the rest of the time.

These truths about American's feelings on this issue doesn't necessarily mean that we should change laws. We are a democratic Republic which recognizes that the majority can be wrong, and that statesmanship by the leaders requires ignoring the majority sometimes. Therefore, this particular truth is posted merely to answer the specific question posed in the title.

No comments: