Fact Check: Amy Klobuchar Claims over 70% Support Roe v. Wade, over 90% Support Funding Planned Parenthood

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., waves before a Democratic presidential primary debate, Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
AP Photo/John Bazemore

Democrat presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) said during the debate in Georgia on Wednesday night that Americans are siding with the Democrats on the issue of abortion on demand.

“What we have to remember is that the people are with us, and I predict this will be a big election issue in the general election,” Klobuchar said, adding, “over 70 percent of the people support Roe v Wade and over 90 percent of the people support funding for Planned Parenthood.”

Recent polling, however — since some Democrat-led states have considered legislation that would allow abortion up until the time of birth — has changed the landscape.

Klobuchar’s claim is refuted by recent Marist polling in January that found 75 percent of Americans want substantial restrictions on abortion, including 60 percent of Democrats and 61 percent of those who identify as “pro-choice.”

According to that poll, 75 percent of Americans said abortion should be limited to — at most — the first three months of pregnancy. Among those who identified as Republicans, 92 percent wanted that restriction, as did 78 percent of independents and 60 percent of Democrats. Perhaps most significantly, that view was shared by 61 percent of those who identified as “pro-choice.”

In addition, the survey found 65 percent of Americans say if the Supreme Court revisits Roe v. Wade, the high court should either return the issue of the legality of abortion to the states (49 percent) or outlaw the procedure altogether (16 percent). Only 30 percent of those surveyed said they would prefer that the Supreme Court rule in favor of unrestricted abortion.

Regarding taxpayer funding of the procedure, 54 percent opposed any taxpayer funding of abortion, while 39 percent supported it.

On the issue of taxpayer funding of the procedure overseas, the poll found 75 percent of Americans oppose taxpayer funding abroad, through non-governmental organizations such as International Planned Parenthood, with only 19 percent in favor of such funding. When political affiliation is a factor, 94 percent of Republicans, 80 percent of independents, and 56 percent of Democrats oppose taxpayer funding of abortion overseas.

In February, another Marist poll released after New York Democrat Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law that made abortion a fundamental right found a 17-point shift toward the pro-life position.

The poll found a double-digit shift, with Americans now as likely to identify as pro-life (47 percent) as pro-choice (47 percent) since the Marist poll conducted one month earlier in January. In addition, pro-life Democrats alone shifted from 20 to 34 percent, an outcome that showed more than one-third of Democrats now identify as pro-life.

“Current proposals that promote late-term abortion have reset the landscape and language on abortion in a pronounced – and very measurable – way,” Marist Poll Director Barbara Carvalho said in a press release, adding:

The recent legal changes to late-term abortion and the debate which followed have not gone unnoticed by the general public … there has been a significant increase in the proportion of Americans who see themselves as pro-life and an equally notable decline in those who describe themselves as pro-choice.

A YouGov survey in February also found most Americans who identify as “pro-choice” oppose late-term abortions.

The Associated Press reported that 66 percent of adults who identify as pro-choice opposed third-trimester abortions, while 68 percent opposed abortions the day before a baby is born.

Among all adults surveyed, 79 percent rejected late-term abortion, and 80 percent opposed day-before-birth abortion.

Furthermore, 82 percent of all those surveyed disagreed with withholding medical care for a viable newborn, including 77 percent of pro-choice adults.

Klobuchar herself refused to respond to a question about third-trimester abortion put to her by Meghan McCain on ABC’s The View.

The senator was asked if she agreed with the comments of Democrat Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam who said he supported legislation in his state that would allow a mother who is in labor to decide to have an abortion at that point:

Northam said:

I can tell you exactly what would happen. The infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother. So, I think this was really blown out of proportion. We want the government not to be involved in these types of decisions.

Klobuchar, however, denied knowing what Northam said, though it filled the news for days.

“I don’t know all his comments,” she said. “What I’m for is women having a right to make their own decisions.”

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