A new poll from Gallup finds that only 34 percent of Americans are satisfied with current U.S. abortion policies, the lowest percentage since 2001. Among those who are dissatisfied, twice as many want stricter abortion laws.
The poll, based on telephone interviews conducted in early January on a random sample of 804 adults living in all states, finds that the number of Americans satisfied with U.S. abortion laws has declined:
In three of four years since 2012, less than 40% of Americans have been satisfied. Yet between 2001 and 2008, at least 40% were satisfied every year… The poll was not conducted from 2009-2011. Between 2001 and 2008, an average of 43% of Americans were satisfied with U.S. abortion policies; since 2012, the average has been 39%.
Gallup further observes that “since 2012, with Democratic President Barack Obama in office, no more than 29% of Republicans have been satisfied with the nation’s abortion policies.”
This year, Republicans are particularly dissatisfied with U.S. abortion laws, with only 21 percent — an eight-point decline from last year -– expressing satisfaction.
Additionally, Americans who express dissatisfaction with current abortion policies say they want abortion laws to be stricter. Gallup finds 24 percent want stricter laws, while 12 percent would like to see less strict abortion policies in the U.S.
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List), has once again called upon Congress to advance the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would ban late-term abortions past the fifth month of pregnancy.
“This latest Gallup poll echoes the 2014 midterm election results and the clear mandate given to the Republican Congress to pass the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would stop abortions after five months,” Dannenfelser said in a press release. “Americans are eager to see the United States removed from the list of only seven countries to allow abortion on-demand past the point at which the child can feel excruciating pain.”
“We urge the House Republican Leadership to move forward with a vote on this compassionate, sensible legislation so that Senator Lindsey Graham can advance the companion bill in the Senate,” she continued. “We will continue to work with both chambers to ensure the maximum number of votes.”
Dannenfelser added that the desire for a ban on late-term abortions “unites Republican grassroots activists and potential 2016 candidates,” as it also has “the support of a majority of women, independents, and young people. Close to a majority of Democrats also support protecting life more than halfway through pregnancy.”
A November 2014 poll from Quinnipiac found that 60 percent of Americans, including 56 percent of independents and 46 percent of Democrats, support the Pain Capable measure.
The pro-life base of the Republican Party expressed its outrage in January when a group of Republicans led by North Carolina Rep. Renee Ellmers succeeded in having leadership pull the Pain Capable bill from a House vote on the eve of the March for Life in Washington, D.C.
Though the bill passed the House in its current form in 2013, the group of Republicans led by Ellmers criticized the legislation over a provision dealing with rape reporting, claiming the measure – which Ellmers herself voted for in 2013 – was now not “compassionate.”
However, the week before half a million members of the Republican Party’s pro-life base descended upon Washington, D.C. to celebrate both the March for Life — and what they thought would be the House passage of the Pain-Capable bill — Ellmers let the National Journal know in an interview that her true concern was politics and votes, rather than “compassion.”
“I have urged leadership to reconsider bringing it up next week… We got into trouble last year, and I think we need to be careful again; we need to be smart about how we’re moving forward,” Ellmers said. “The first vote we take, or the second vote, or the fifth vote, shouldn’t be on an issue where we know that millennials — social issues just aren’t as important [to them].”
Ellmers further angered the pro-life community with a blog post, written a week after the March for Life, in which she sneered pro-lifers were “abhorrent” and “childish.”
Students for Life of America (SFLA), however, a pro-life organization of “millennials,” confronted Ellmers in her Washington, D.C. office last week, reminding her that “millennials do care about social issues, especially concerning abortion.”
Regarding the meeting in Ellmers’ office, Michele Hendrickson, Capital Area Regional Coordinator of SFLA, wrote, “Congresswoman Ellmers appeared happy to see us and invited us to share our concerns again with her personally. However, when we tried to videotape our conversation, Kristi [Thompson, Ellmers’ staffer] insisted we not use video, only photos.”
Rep. Ellmers seemed troubled by our mention of her previous millennials comment by letting out an audible sigh and claiming that her comments about millennials not caring about social issues in the past had been “taken out of context” and that she does realize that young people care about issues like abortion. She added that she had meant she hadn’t seen millennials be “active” in their views on social issues before and that young people usually do not often share their views with others. We assured her that students are, in fact, active on their campuses regularly and they receive support from their peers on this issue.
While the Republican-led House passed the Pain Capable measure in 2013, then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) would not allow the measure to come up for a vote in the Senate.