Monday, November 29, 2004

File Under "Society:" AP Roe v. Wade Poll

The AP released a story about a poll it ran about what people think about overturning Roe v. Wade.

(Ok, before I continue, if you can't think of one person who has a different opinion about abortion than you whom you respect, just stop reading. Everyone has enough stress in their life without getting worked up about one Mariner-loving Kansas City resident's opinion. I'm commenting on the article about public opinion, not commenting on the abortion itself, so keep you socks on.)

Briefly, the poll says 59% oppose overturning Roe v. Wade, 31% would want a Supreme Court nominee who would reverse it, leaving 10% somewhere else. The article then follows with this quote:
"While I don't have a strong feeling about abortions personally, I wouldn't want
the law overturned and return to the days of backdoor abortions," said Colleen
Dunn, 40, a Republican and community college teacher who lives outside
I guess it's a good thing we have a court to listen to reasoned arguments, because apparently a community college teacher (of what, by the way?) doesn't understand the basics of even the most well known case. Let's be clear: overturning Roe v. Wade would not make abortions illegal. Rather, overturning it would mean it would then be possible for state legislatures to pass a law restricting abortion; it would remove the restriction on legislative action regarding abortion that currently stands. There may be a concern that some States would revert to pre-1973 laws that outlaw abortion, but it is these laws, not a court decision, that would prohibit abortions, and only in those states. (Washington State, by the way, would not be one of these states.) Since most Americans favor keeping at least SOME abortions legal, it's quite likely that even in these states, new laws would be enacted.

Moreover, the most likely candidate for replacement on the Supreme Court bench is Rehnquist, who's currently suffering from thyroid cancer. Even replacing him with a Scalia clone would not change the so-called "balance of power" on the court.

I get much less worked up about the issue, and much more worked up about people distorting the issue in order to incite. It's not that the poll isn't a worthwhile enterprise, but a quote that high in the article should be subject to some factual scrutiny. I'm also disappointed that I can't seem to find the actual quesitons asked, since they play a large role in how people respond.

Maybe if something would happen with the Mariners, I won't be so prone to wandering into dangerous off-topic waters. But it's been pretty quiet from First Avenue South.

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