Poll: Only 8 Percent of Americans Say Abortion Should Be Legal Until Third Trimester

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A Harvard Center for American Political Studies (CAPS)/Harris Poll revealed that only eight percent of Americans say abortion should be permitted until the third trimester of pregnancy.

Additionally, only six percent say abortion should be allowed “up until the birth of the child.”

The Hill reported the results of the survey of 1,295 registered voters conducted from May 29-30. The media outlet said it “will be working with Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll throughout 2019.”

According to the Hill:

The polling results suggest Americans believe there should be some restrictions on when women can seek abortions.

A plurality — 41 percent — said the procedure should be allowed only in cases of rape or incest. Twenty-nine percent said it should be permitted up until the first trimester of pregnancy, while 17 percent said it should be allowed until the second trimester.

While the poll results show 46 percent of Americans say the Supreme Court should uphold the 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade, in which the high court created a right to abortion, 49 percent expect the Supreme Court to modify the landmark ruling.

“Almost half of Americans believe the Supreme Court will modify but not repeal Roe vs. Wade while a plurality of Americans, just short of a majority, would like it affirmed,” said Mark Penn, co-director of the Harvard CAPS/Harris poll.

The full poll results were not yet available online at the time of publication.

Other recent polls have found more Americans are in favor of restrictions on abortion, even those who label themselves “pro-choice.”

In January, a Marist Poll found 75 percent of Americans favor 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 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, 61 percent of those who identify as “pro-choice” share that view.

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 would prefer that the Supreme Court rule in favor of unrestricted abortion.

Another Marist Poll released in February found the number of Democrats now identifying as “pro-life” shifted from 20 percent to 34 percent following recent abortion legislation in states such as New York, which lifted restrictions on the procedure. The number of “pro-choice” Democrats shifted downward from 75 percent to 61 percent.

That survey also found Americans largely oppose later-term abortions, with 71 percent saying abortion should be generally illegal during the third trimester and 25 percent saying it should be legal. The 71 percent outcome included 60 percent of Democrats, 72 percent of independents, and 85 percent of Republicans.

According to the poll, Americans strongly oppose abortion past 20 weeks by an even wider margin: 71 to 18 percent.


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