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CNN Misleads on Abortion

A CNN poll has the most misleading question I've seen on abortion...maybe ever.

My first instinct was to see it as typical media bias but then another thought occurred to me. Pro-choicers, after a recent spate of polls indicating that they may be in the minority, are now running a little scared.

I'm kind of a poll geek who actually likes drilling down into the numbers in polls and reading the phrasing of the questions.

CNN is asking if people want to overturn Roe v. Wade. But the question is so misleading as to discredit the entire poll. Here's the question from Pollster:

The 1973 Roe versus Wade decision established a woman's constitutional right to an abortion, at least in the first three months of pregnancy. Would you like to see the Supreme Court completely overturn its Roe versus Wade decision, or not?
Now, after reading that ridiculous question I'm surprised that only 68% responded against overturning Roe. (30% were for it.)

OK. Look at the verbiage they use. They say that Roe guarantees a woman's right to an abortion for the first three months of pregnancy. That's misleading (if not an outright lie) because abortion is legal up to an including the ninth month of pregnancy in the United States. Now, there have been other cases which delineated that but Roe is the building block on which all those decisions are built on. Roe made abortion a right, and then other courts said you can't limit rights to a time frame or restrict it.

Now, mind you many people don't know that abortion is legal all nine months of pregnancy ranking the U.S. among the most liberal countries in the world when it comes to abortion. You think CNN as a news organization would be informing people of that? Nope. They're too busy misleading the people.

And you have to love CNN's completely gratuitous use of the word "Completely" in their question.
Would you like to see the Supreme Court completely overturn its Roe versus Wade decision, or not?
The word completely serves no purpose there other than to mislead. If they were interested in an honest response they'd just ask "Would you like to see the Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade." I mean, is there a legal difference between "overturning" and "completely overturning?" Of course not. The word is only there to push the people into believing a lie. Because with that word, they're leading people to believe abortion would be made completely illegal.

In fact, overturning Roe would not make abortion illegal throughout the country. Unless a state already has laws on the books, abortion would be legal. If Roe is overturned then the people would actually get to vote on a state-by-state basis on restricting abortion. That, sadly, was left out of CNN's question in favor of the scare word.

How about a question that asks, "Do you think that the American people should have the right to vote on abortion?" Wonder what you'd get with that?

CNN is clearly running this poll as a response to the recent news that a majority of people now consider themselves "pro-life." So CNN is attempting to minimize it. This is shameless and actually reeks of desperation. They need a poll on their side because they're scared that the country may be trending pro-life on abortion.

The fact that they felt they had to attempt to fool the American people into supporting Roe tells you all you need to know. We're winning.

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Catholic Audio said...

And they're deceptively using a trimester framework. We're on a "viability" framework now thanks to Justice O'Conner in Planned Parenthood v. Casey -- the trimester framework has been excoriated, as pointed out by Justice Scalia in a remarkably well-worded/reasoned dissent in Casey.

RooForLife said...

Poll: On the issue of abortion, what are your opinions? (below article,gray box area) http://tinyurl.com/opinionpoll

Anonymous said...

I would also say that the phrase:
"The 1973 Roe versus Wade decision established a woman's constitutional right to an abortion" is also misleading. It phrases it as if Roe v Wade established a right that was already in the constitution. This is, no doubt, what pro aborts believe but it is still a stretch. It would be more accurate to say that Roe v Wade established abortion as if it were a constitutional right. It would even be more accurate to say that Roe v Wade established abortion AS a constitutional right. Which is not what the Supreme Court is empowered to do but is, essentially, what they have attempted to do.

David said...

I have recently also made it a practice to actually read the questions asked by pollsters. The dishonesty inherent in questions involving abortion and stem cell research is really astonishing. The problem is that they ask one question, but then report the results as if they answered a more straight forward question.

That said, even if you asked people if they supported Roe v. Wade, the results might not be that different considering the ignorance about what that decision, and its companion cases, actually stands for -- unrestricted abortion on demand.

Rick said...

Just as we want to establish the reign of God and permeate the world with His Holy Spirit, so do others want to promote their agenda. And in war, spiritual or otherwise, the first casualty is truth. And it appears that the thrust of the enemy today is to win the hearts and minds of the people so they can claim deviously "Vox populi, vox Dei." They lie and manipulate e.g. reposition the judicial framework and force a Catholic stance of tolerance. But, we have the good folks at CMR calling out these deceptions. Didn't the Pope ask today to Bringing the Gospel via the Internet.

WillyJ said...

Mark Twain was always right about this type of statistics.

Bender said...

Actually, Casey established an "undue burden" standard, not a viability standard.

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