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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

May 19, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Abortion poll

Public and personal views can be different

In the recent Gallup Poll results, a majority of people say they are pro-life, yet 75 percent feel that abortion should be legal [“Poll finds majority call selves ‘pro-life,’ ” News, May 16].

While this may be a surprise to some people, it fits with my observations during 18 years as an abortion provider. Regardless of one’s public political stance, when a woman wants an abortion, she comes and gets one.

— Deborah Oyer, MD, Seattle

Biased method could impact results

I was polled during the time frame that Gallup did its polling on the “pro-life” issue, although I do not know definitively if it was the Gallup poll who called me because the polling organization did not identify itself.

The poll was recorded. I was first asked if I was a registered voter. When I responded “yes,” I was asked if I was “pro-life” (not “pro-life” or “pro-choice,” which is the more appropriate question). I was a bit disconcerted at the question because it was not framed in terms of abortion — just “are you pro-life?” I gave my answer and the recording thanked me and hung up.

I hung up feeling angry because there was no nuance allowed in the answers and I was not given the option of declaring myself pro-choice. I had to answer no to being “pro-life” because I assumed, correctly, that the opposite answer would register me as being anti-abortion.

However, believing that abortion should be legal does not make someone “anti-life” or “pro-death.” I would like to know who polled me in this very biased manner. If this poll was not conducted by Pew or Gallup, it would be nice to know who is trying to confuse the issue.

I suggest the press delve a little more deeply into this issue.

— Deanna Nelson, Seattle

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