The long march to overturn Roe Hundreds of thousands of Americans, including 10 busloads from Lancaster County, will march today in our nation's capital.
They will march to protest the "right" to unrestricted infanticide represented by the Supreme Court's decision in Roe v. Wade 40 years ago Tuesday.
And, if today's march receives coverage from the networks, much will no doubt be made of a recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll that found 70 percent of respondents saying Roe should not be overturned.
That poll, however, peddled a bit of misinformation to its respondents, among whom 41 percent did not recognize the case by name. The pollsters "informed" them that Roe "established a woman's constitutional right to an abortion, at least in the first three months of pregnancy," a statement that is well more than 41 percent inaccurate.
While Roe did make a bow to restrictions in the second and third trimesters, it set a health-of-the-mother standard spelled out in Doe v. Bolton, a decision handed down the same day.
Doe allowed a doctor to take various factors beyond the pregnant woman's physical health into account, including "emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman's age." And included in the age factors in Doe was the stigma attached to a teenage pregnancy.
That's quite an exception, one that has all but erased the trimester test many Americans wrongly believe was established by Roe and remains in place.
And, given that Roe did not limit its reach to the first trimester, responses to a Gallup poll in late December are significant:
·64 percent said abortion should be illegal in the second three months of pregnancy;
·80 percent said it should be illegal during the final three months of pregnancy;
·53 percent said Roe v. Wade should not be overturned.
The Gallup results suggest that the people conducting the CBS/Wall Street Journal are not the only ones confused about what the Roe and Doe decisions actually said.
Still, even with the caveats above, those braving the elements to march in Washington today are not on the cusp of victory against the destruction of human innocent life legalized in that 7-2 decision of 40 years ago.
As the responses to a Pew Research Center survey this month show, the nation is just about evenly divided on the procedure itself.
The Pew poll found: 47 percent believe it is morally wrong to have an abortion, with 27 percent saying it is not a moral issue, 13 percent calling it morally acceptable and 9 percent saying "it depends" on the circumstances.
There is still a way to go in creating the "culture of life" sought by the late Nellie Gray, the founder of the March for Life, who passed away in August.
But pro-lifers should take heart, and consider this: The right to abortion at 40 is still less of an established precedent than the court-sanctioned atrocity of segregated schools. Plessy v. Ferguson, a 7-1 decision handed down in 1898 that endorsed "separate but equal," stood for 58 years before it was overturned by a unanimous Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education, Topeka.
Roe deserves the same fate. A mere 40 years is no time to quit.
The nation is just about evenly divided on the abortion procedure itself.