NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–When it comes to Roe v. Wade, Americans are, at best, inconsistent, and at worst, confused.
Polls show that a majority of U.S. adults support the 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide while at the same time also backing greater restrictions — restrictions that Roe, as the courts have interpreted it, prohibits.
To coincide with the 35th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s controversial decision a number of pro-family groups have joined together to launch a website to test America’s Roe knowledge. The site — RoeIQTest.com, asks 12 simple questions to see how much the nation knows about the ruling that has led to the killing of nearly 50 million unborn babies.
“We really believe that a lot of Americans have been misinformed,” Mike Johnson, an attorney with the Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian legal group, told Baptist Press. “Nearly 80 percent of Americans want restrictions on abortion which Roe essentially forbids, but about half of America claims to support Roe. The idea is, when Americans have all the facts, their support for Roe decreases dramatically.”
Here’s a sample from the test, which, to keep things simple, lumps Roe and the accompanying 1973 Doe v. Bolton case together and references only Roe. “Roe” here references both cases:
1. Which most accurately describes when a woman may have an abortion under Roe? A) Anytime during the first three months (first trimester) of her pregnancy; B) Anytime during the first six months (second trimester) of her pregnancy; C) Anytime during her entire pregnancy; D) Anytime during the first three months, but can have an abortion later if the pregnancy resulted from rape or incest.
2. Which best describes the limitations Roe places on why a woman may have an abortion? A) No limitations; B) Only in case of rape, incest or when the woman’s life is in danger; C) No limitations during the first three months of pregnancy, but only medically necessary abortions after that.
3. Which country’s laws make it easiest to have an abortion? A) Finland; B) Great Britain; C) Ireland; D) United States; E); Mexico.
(Answers are at the bottom of the story)
America’s lack of knowledge about Roe may have best been exhibited in early December on ABC’s “The View,” when co-host Joy Behar asked guest and Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul — a licensed gynecologist — why he didn’t support Roe v. Wade if he was such a fan of limited government. Paul quickly turned the question around, asking if she thought it was OK for him to “do an abortion on somebody that has an eight-pound normal baby” late in the pregnancy.
“No, of course not,” Behar, who is vocally pro-choice, said. “… If the woman wants to abort a baby at eight months, something’s wrong, either with her mental state or her health.”
“The law says [she] can do that,” Paul responded. “… If it’s her body, why shouldn’t she do it?”
Whoopi Goldberg, another co-host who is also pro-choice, then said, “That’s not exactly true. There is a limit as to when you can have an abortion. I believe that’s the truth.”
But that’s false, as Paul noted. Under Roe women are allowed to have an abortion in all three trimesters for any reason. According to a 2004 study by the pro-choice Guttmacher Institute, 86 percent of abortions were for convenience — either the woman said she wasn’t ready for a child (25 percent), said she couldn’t afford to have one (23 percent), didn’t want any more children (19 percent), didn’t want to be a single mother or had relationship problems (8 percent), said she was too young to have a child (7 percent) or said she believed a child would interfere with their education or career (4 percent).
The Alliance Defense Fund’s Johnson said he “frequently” has interaction with people who call themselves pro-choice but don’t understand what is and isn’t legal under Roe.
“In my line of work we do that a lot, and we’re confronted by those who have disagreements with us on the issues,” Johnson said. “I’ve always found that the more people know about Roe the less they support it. When you can go through the facts and explain to them what it does and what it does not do, a lot of even its most ardent supporters back away from it.”
In addition to ADF, the website is sponsored by Focus on the Family, Family Research Council and Concerned Women for America.
Following are the answers to the sample questions: 1. C) Anytime during her entire pregnancy; 2. A) No limitations; 3. D) United States.
Michael Foust is assistant editor of Baptist Press