Going Beyond Labels, New Marist Poll Shows Consensus on Abortion Limits

Survey shows 8 in 10 Americans and 2 out of 3 pro-choice supporters want restrictions

19 Jan, 2016, 10:14 ET from Knights of Columbus

WASHINGTON, Jan. 19, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As the 43rd anniversary of Roe v. Wade approaches, a strong majority of Americans — including a majority of those who consider themselves "pro-choice" —support substantial abortion restrictions, transcending the typical "pro-life" or "pro-choice" labeling. The findings are detailed in a new Marist Poll commissioned by the Knights of Columbus.

While Americans who identify as "pro-life" overwhelmingly support restrictions on abortion, "pro-choice" Americans also support such proposals — with majorities saying they favor several types of restrictions.

The survey found that more than 8 in 10 Americans (81 percent), including women (82 percent) and nearly two-thirds of pro-choice supporters (66 percent), would restrict abortion to — at most — the first three months of pregnancy. The answer to this question has been approximately 8 in 10 since the survey was launched in 2008.

Additionally, 77 percent of Americans, including 79 percent of women and 71 percent of "pro-choice" supporters, say that laws can protect both a mother and her unborn child. Only about 1 in 5 (17 percent of Americans, 15 percent of women, 23 percent of pro-choice identifiers) disagree.

The poll also found majorities of Americans see abortion as both ultimately harmful to women and morally wrong.

By a 25-point margin, Americans (55 to 30 percent) say that abortion ultimately does a woman more harm than good. A similar proportion of women agree (56 percent to 31 percent). More than 1 in 4 who identify as pro-choice (27 percent) also share this view.

Six in 10 Americans (60 percent), including 61 percent of women, say abortion is "morally wrong." One-third of pro-choice Americans agree (33 percent).

"Year in and year out since we began polling on this issue, the American people have understood that the law can protect mother and child alike and have expressed a strong consensus in favor of abortion restrictions," said Knights of Columbus CEO Carl Anderson. "It is time for a new national conversation on abortion — one that begins with this consensus in favor of restrictions: a consensus that American women and men have already reached, and that includes a majority even of those who call themselves pro-choice."

In addition, nearly 7 in 10 Americans (68 percent), including 69 percent of women, oppose taxpayer funding of abortion. This includes 51 percent of those who consider themselves pro-choice. Fewer than 3 in 10 Americans (29 percent) support it.

Similarly, more than 6 in 10 Americans (61 percent), including 60 percent of women, support laws that would ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, except to save the life of the mother. The percentage was the same for pro-choice supporters (62 percent).

Fifty-one percent of Americans — including 50 percent of women — believe health care providers and organizations should have the right to opt out of providing abortion services if they have moral objections. About 4 in 10 (42 percent) of both groups disagree. Notably, even one-third (34 percent) of those who identify as pro-choice would protect the right to opt out.

The survey of 1,686 adults was conducted Nov. 15-22, 2015, by the Marist Institute for Public Opinion and sponsored by the Knights of Columbus. Adults 18 years of age and older residing in the continental United States were interviewed in English and Spanish by telephone using live interviewers. Results for adults are statistically significant within ±2.4 percentage points. The error margin increases for cross-tabulations.

For more details about the survey results and methodology, visit kofc.org/polls.

 

SOURCE Knights of Columbus



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