On Fox News Sunday, substitute host Dana Perino did something that the more liberal journalists never do as she confronted NARAL president Ilyse Hogue with poll numbers suggesting that most Americans support significant restrictions on abortion in spite of surveys that find most voice support for Roe v. Wade.
After Hogue commented that most Americans want abortion to remain legal, Perino followed up:
And 67 percent of Americans say they do not want to see Roe v. Wade overturned, though there is some variation by degrees. In another poll, 50 percent say it should be legal under certain circumstances -- 18 percent say it should not be legal at all.
So, with 68 percent of people saying some or -- all restrictions or some restrictions -- how do you plan to go forward? And is it a situation where you might let the states decide if there is this public opinion change?
The FNC host then backed off and did not press her pro-abortion guest further as Hogue argued that most Americans are supportive of retaining Roe v. Wade.
While it's better than the more liberal networks have a history of, Perino could have also noted other polls which more specifically indicate that an overwhelming majority of Americans are open to banning most abortions after the first three months of pregnancy -- which would require overturning Roe v. Wade which many respondents may not realize.
Additionally, polling has found that almost 70 percent of Americans are open to banning abortion after a heartbeat in an unborn baby can be detected -- which could indicate substantial support for banning abortion at six weeks pregnancy, although the survey did not indicate a time frame.
A heartbeat law could result in as many as over 60 percent of abortions being banned. So, while many poll respondents may claim to support the Roe v. Wade decision as a general matter, most also voice support for restrictions that would require overturning Roe to actually enforce.
By contrast, last week on NBC's Meet the Press, Democratic pollster and frequent NBC guest Cornell Belcher claimed during the panel discussion that polls show there is little support for restricting abortion. Belcher:
I've been looking at Gallup data over the last two decades, and nowhere in this Gallup data do I show where anywhere approaching a majority of Americans think that abortion should be illegal. And God help these old men if they tick off these suburban women who never really thought their reproductive rights were at risk -- and, all of a sudden, it's at risk and it's real.