Poll: 75% of Americans Say Abortion Should Be Restricted

Anti-abortion activists from around the US gather in Washington, DC January 19, 2018 for the annual 'March for Life.' / AFP PHOTO / Eva HAMBACH (Photo credit should read EVA HAMBACH/AFP/Getty Images)
EVA HAMBACH/AFP/Getty Images

A poll released Tuesday finds 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 the Marist poll and its partner, the Knights of Columbus, the survey demonstrates that the label “pro-choice” can be deceptive when it is interpreted to mean supportive of abortion at any point in pregnancy.

“As in past years, this poll shows that the pro-choice label on the abortion issue is simply insufficient,” said Knights of Columbus CEO Carl Anderson. “The majority of Americans – in both parties – support legal restrictions on abortion. Two-thirds of Americans want Roe revisited to allow for state regulation of abortion or to ban it altogether. The majority of the American people deserve to have their opinions heard.”

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

In addition, the survey finds 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 would prefer that the Supreme Court rule in favor of unrestricted abortion.

Regarding taxpayer funding of the procedure, 54 percent oppose any taxpayer funding of abortion, while 39 percent support it.

On the issue of taxpayer funding of the procedure overseas, the poll finds 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.

When asked if medical professionals with moral objections to abortion should be permitted to opt out of performing them, 55 percent of those surveyed agreed, while 35 percent did not agree.

The majority of Americans (62 percent) oppose abortions for unborn babies with Down Syndrome. Additionally, 59 percent are in favor of banning the procedure after 20 weeks of pregnancy, except to save the life of the mother.

When questions regarding the nature of the unborn are asked, 56 percent of Americans say, “scientifically,” a fetus is “a unique life,” while 35 percent say it is “part of a woman’s body.” Additionally, 42 percent say life begins at conception while 13 percent say life begins at birth.

“Most Americans also believe that laws can protect both the mother and her unborn child (83 percent to 10 percent).”

The survey of 1,066 adults was conducted January 8-10 using landline or mobile phone numbers. Results are statistically significant within plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.

A poll released Monday by Students for Life of America also found that labels such as “pro-life” and “pro-choice” can hide what Millennials actually prefer in terms of policy on abortion.

That poll revealed that 70 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 34 support limits on abortion, with 42 percent opposing the procedure broadly.

Despite the image portrayed of popular culture in the media, of those Millennials surveyed, only seven percent supported abortion without any exceptions and funded by taxpayer dollars — the position embraced by the Democrat Party.

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