The front page of our May 1991 issue carried the story of a recent U.S. poll on attitudes to abortion.
It was meant to be good news and it is good news. But why do the print media never seem to carry the same reports? Because polls are easily manipulated. This was pointed out again in the New Dimensions of July 1990:
“When pollsters ask the general public about ‘a woman’s right to choose, they get a strong majority in favour. When, however, they pose the question in terms of ‘whether the unborn baby has a right live,’ they get a two-thirds majority who approve of protecting the baby’s life. Last October, a nationwide Wirthlin Poll demonstrated this incredible ambivalence of the American public toward abortion. Two separate questions were asked, spaced widely apart among other questions. The questions were:
- In general, do you think a woman should have the right to choose to have an abortion?
- In general, do you think the lives of unborn babies should be protected?
“Sixty-seven per cent of the general public thought that a woman should have the right to choose an abortion (with 29 per cent opposed). Yet, 69 per cent believed that the lives of unborn babies should be protected (with 19 per cent opposed). Only minutes apart, 37 per cent of the respondents said yes to both sides of the abortion question, because of the way the question was phrased.”
New Dimensions went on to point out that “Media experts agree that manipulation of public perception of the abortion issue has become “business as usual” by the political left and the media. This is accomplished simply by re-framing the question, through shrewd and consistent marketing, so as to censor out the real issue – abortion – and to substitute in its place a new issue: ‘choice.’”
Defining the abortion issue in the public’s mind therefore, is extremely important. Pro-life must continue to hammer in the reality that abortion is the killing of a pre-born baby and that ‘pro-choice’ is a manipulation and false term invented to hide and distort the truth.