As we look forward to the day when abortion-on-demand is no longer tolerated by our society, it is beneficial to consider how we got here in the first place. How much do you really know about the original Roe v. Wade decision as it was handed down in 1973, or about the closely related Doe v. Bolton ruling? I doubt whether most Americans realize just how sweeping and ominous those decisions were in terms of dismantling our nation’s embrace of the sanctity of human life, or the effect that legalized abortion has had on other life issues such as euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research and even violent crime.
Our staff recently joined with our great friends at the Alliance Defense Fund and Concerned Women for America to create a unique survey called the “Roe IQ Test,” which gauges each respondent’s knowledge and attitudes concerning these infamous 1973 Supreme Court decisions. It includes 12 questions, and I assure you that the answers to several of the questions are surprising. To be honest, when I first saw the test I wasn’t sure I would be able to answer each question correctly myself. I have included the full survey below, and I encourage you to take a few minutes to look it over and consider the questions. I’m convinced that if Americans could answer each of these questions accurately, support for legalized abortion would erode even faster than it already has.
The answers to the following questions are included in a separate key at the end of this letter. Please don’t look ahead — see how many of these questions you are able to answer off the top of your head, without doing any outside research.
Now, to the test:
Note: The U.S. Supreme Court’s control over abortion laws is significantly influenced by two 1973 decisions: Roe v. Wade (Roe) and Doe v. Bolton (Doe). To keep things simple, this I.Q test considers both rulings but refers to the better known of the two cases, Roe. So, Roe represents both Roe and Doe in the questions.
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) True or False. Roe allowed late-term abortions.
4) True or False. If Roe were overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court, abortion would immediately become illegal in the United States.
5) According to the Centers for Disease Control, about how many abortions have been performed in the United States since the Roe decision in 1973?
A. Less than 10 million
B. 10-19 million
C. 20-29 million
D. 30-39 million
E. 40-49 million
F. 50-59 million
G. More than 60 million
6) At what age does Roe require minor girls to have parental notification before an abortion?
A. Parental notification is not required
B. Girls 18 and younger
C. Girls 16 and younger
D. Girls 13 and younger
7) True or False. Roe allowed sex-selection abortions — abortions performed because of the sex of the baby (For example: parents wanting a boy instead of a girl — and vice-versa).
8) What percentage of abortions are performed because of rape or incest?
A. More than 16 percent
B. 11-15 percent
C. 6-10 percent
D. 2-5 percent
E. Fewer than 1 percent
9) Which of our nation’s founding documents contains the phrase “right to an abortion”?
A. Declaration of Independence
B. U.S. Constitution
C. Bill of Rights
D. None of the Above
E. All of the Above
10) Which Supreme Court Justice said the following about Roe: “Roe v. Wade . . . ventured too far in the change it ordered and presented an inadequate justification for its action.”
A. Justice Samuel Alito
B. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
C. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor
D. Justice Antonin Scalia
E. Justice Clarence Thomas
11) Which country’s laws make it easiest to have an abortion?
B. Great Britain
D. United States
12) Under Roe, which of these are allowed to perform abortions?
A. Licensed physician
B. Nurse practitioner
C. Resident assistant
D. Registered nurse
E. All of the above
Are you confident in your answers to the preceding questions? Now take a look at the key included with this letter to find out how you scored. I missed one question when I first took the survey, giving me a score of 92 percent. Which answer did I get wrong? Question #10 tripped me up, as I did not even consider the possibility that an ultra-liberal justice, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, could have said anything negative about the Roe decision. But there you have it.
If your schedule permits, we would appreciate you logging onto our online version of the exam and transferring your original answers for official tabulation. This can be found at www.roeiqtest.com. Please note that the online survey includes an additional eight questions that don’t involve “right” or “wrong” answers, but are rather designed to identify certain demographical characteristics of each respondent. By answering Questions 13-20 on our Internet survey, you will help our research staff gain a clearer picture of the beliefs and backgrounds of the survey respondents. Rest assured that you will remain completely anonymous.
You don’t have to be a constitutional scholar to know that reading a so-called “right to abortion” into any of our nation’s founding documents is a gross deviation from the intent of our Founding Fathers. An honest and accurate reading of our Constitution simply does not allow for it. Yet pro-abortion forces, from 1973 straight through to today, have always argued that legalized abortion somehow results in better lives for women. But the facts tell a very different story. What many have touted as the ultimate expression of “women’s rights” has actually victimized women to an unprecedented degree.
The American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG) conducted an in-depth study in July 2007 titled “Long-Term Complications Associated with Induced Abortion.” It contains a wealth of extensive research demonstrating the devastating physical and emotional effects of abortion on women. Although there is solid research to verify their conclusions, not surprisingly, these findings have been almost completely ignored by the mainstream media and by left-leaning elements of the medical profession. In fact, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has stated: “Long term risks sometimes attributed to surgical abortion include potential effects on reproductive function, cancer incidence, and psychological sequelae. However, the medical literature, when carefully evaluated, clearly indicates no significant negative impact on any of these factors with surgical abortion.”
AAPLOG’s research demonstrates how faulty this conclusion is. Their study opens with this telling statement: “We are aware of no studies that demonstrate a better mental or physical health outcome for aborted women, compared to those who choose to deliver. On the contrary, there is ample evidence that induced abortion in many cases is associated with significant degradation of emotional health, physical health and reproductive health.”
Specifically, AAPLOG’s study cites links between abortion and depression, substance abuse, suicide, placenta previa (a dangerous medical condition), breast cancer, premature birth, and low birth weight among post-abortion women.
Consider these examples from the report:
• A study in New Zealand found that at age 25, 42 percent of women in the study group who had had an abortion also experienced major depression at some stage during the past four years. This was nearly double the rate of those who had never been pregnant and 35 percent higher than those who had chosen to continue a pregnancy.
• Data from California shows that compared with women who had previously given birth, women who aborted were 929 percent more likely to use marijuana, 460 percent more likely to use other illicit drugs, and 122 percent more likely to use alcohol during their next pregnancy.
• A University of Minnesota study on teen suicide found that the rate of attempted suicide in the six months prior to the study increased tenfold for teens who had aborted during those previous six months.
• Researchers at South Glomorgan Health Authority in Great Britain found that after abortions, there were 8.9 suicide attempts per 1,000, compared with 1.9 suicide attempts per 1,000 among those who gave birth.
• Studies also show a link between abortion and placentia previa (a condition in which the placenta is implanted abnormally low in the uterine cavity) during subsequent pregnancies.
• Although controversial, research continues to suggest a link between abortion and the subsequent risk of developing breast cancer. More than 41 studies worldwide (including 16 conducted in America) have reported data on the risk of breast cancer among women with a history of induced abortion. A full 29 (70 percent) of these studies reported an increased risk, with 13 (or 81 percent) of the American studies reporting an increased risk.
• More than 50 studies have demonstrated a statistically significant increase in premature birth or low birth weight risk in women with prior induced abortions. Consider, for example, that in Ireland, where induced abortion is illegal, the prematurity rate in 2003 was 5.48 percent, less than half the U.S. rate of 12.3 percent.
These bullet points do not even begin to scratch the surface of the wide body of research demonstrating the links between abortion and physical and emotional difficulties for post-abortion women. Again, this information is widely ignored or discounted by liberal politicians, activists, and medical organizations. You would think that shocking statistics of this nature would make the front page of The New York Times and that groups such as the National Organization for Women (NOW) would be screaming in protest about the indignities and abuses that have been heaped upon women at the hands of the abortion industry. Instead, the facts are buried or ignored and we are told that the right to an abortion is the hallmark of female empowerment.
For the past 35 years the pro-life community has been emphasizing the fact that every abortion leaves “one dead and one wounded.” At the same time, pro-abortion forces have been proclaiming that “everybody wins” in the era of legalized abortion. Nothing could be further from the truth.
But, as I mentioned at the beginning of this letter, we have many reasons for hope as we observe this tragic anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Public opinion polls continue to show that the American people are increasingly embracing a pro-life perspective. The use of ultrasound technology in medical Pregnancy Resource Centers nationwide has led to a dramatic increase in the number of women who choose to deliver their babies (once you’ve seen a live image of your living, moving baby inside the womb, the lie that it’s “just a blob of tissue” goes out the window). That’s what Focus on the Family’s Option Ultrasound initiative is all about. Meanwhile, numerous pieces of legislation have been enacted at the state and national levels to help curb the number of overall abortions and to reign in, slowly but surely, some of the most troubling aspects of the original Roe v. Wade decision.
Please join me in praying that the abortion-on-demand era will soon come to an end. Legally, the power to bring this shameful period in American history to its conclusion lies with the same body that gave us legalized abortion in the first place: the United States Supreme Court. This is one reason why the upcoming presidential election is so important to those of us who believe in the sanctity of all human life. I’m thankful that President Bush nominated two excellent, conservative, “strict-constructionist” judges to the Court in Samuel Alito and John Roberts. Nevertheless, five liberal justices remain on the Court, and it is almost certain that one or perhaps all five of them will retire during the next two presidential terms. The judges nominated to the Supreme Court by our next leader could set the direction of the court for the next 30 years. We must be praying now about the upcoming election and its impact on the powerful judiciary.
Many thanks to those of you who, through your prayers and finances, continue to support Focus on the Family in our efforts to defend the sanctity of human life. And thanks to those of you who, through your churches, local Pregnancy Resource Centers, and personal relationships, are working to proclaim the value of life to those around you and, ultimately, point them toward the Giver of life. Keep fighting the good fight!
James C. Dobson, Ph.D.
Founder and Chairman
P.S. To illustrate the relevance of the upcoming presidential election to the makeup of the Supreme Court, consider the current ages of liberal members now serving:
|Justice David Souter||Age 69|
|Justice Stephen Breyer||Age 70|
|Justice Anthony Kennedy||Age 71|
|Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg||Age 74|
|Justice John Paul Stevens||Age 87|
ANSWERS: 1 [C] 2 [A] 3 [A] 4 [B] 5 [E] 6 [A] 7 [A] 8 [E] 9 [D] 10 [B] 11 [D] 12 [E]