Washington (March 10, 2005) — A Harris Interactive Poll on abortion released March 3 shows the strongest opposition to Roe v. Wade in years. The survey of 1,012 U.S. adults conducted February 8-13, 2005, shows Americans support Roe v. Wade by just a 52 to 47 percent margin, a significant change from the 57 to 41 percent margin in 1998. This weakening support for Roe is likely even more pronounced than the poll indicates because the Harris survey question understates Roe v. Wade by declaring "the U.S. Supreme Court decision making abortions up to three months of pregnancy legal."
"Many Americans don't understand that Roe v. Wade made abortion legal through all nine months of pregnancy," said Cathy Cleaver Ruse, Esq., Director of Planning and Information for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. "Roe v. Wade created an unlimited right to abortion, and most people think an unlimited right to abortion is wrong."
Roe created an unlimited right to abortion up to the point of viability (about the 6th month of pregnancy) and ruled that abortion cannot be prohibited even after viability if needed to preserve a woman's health. "Health" was defined in Roe's companion case Doe v. Bolton as "all factors – physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman's age – relevant to the well-being of the patient." "Thus, if an abortion doctor invokes any of these reasons for aborting a baby in the 7th, 8th, or 9th month of pregnancy, the abortion cannot be prohibited," said Ruse.
"Supreme Court Justice Byron White called Roe v. Wade 'an exercise of raw judicial power'," Ruse said. "Roe v. Wade must be reversed so that the people once again have the power to govern themselves on the issue of abortion," Ruse added.