Marist Poll: 57% Say Limit Abortion to Cases of Rape, Incest, or Saving a Mother's Life

Survey shows majority of "pro-choice" supporters now favor a number of abortion restrictions

Jan 21, 2016, 10:42 ET from Knights of Columbus

WASHINGTON, Jan. 21, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Nearly 6 in 10 Americans (57 percent) say abortion should be limited to – at most – cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother. Even a quarter of those who identify as "pro-choice" agree. The data was included in the results of a survey by The Marist Poll released this week in Washington.

The survey also found that majorities of pro-choice Americans support substantial restrictions on abortion. Americans as a whole – and pro-life Americans –support restrictions at even higher rates.

Two-thirds of pro-choice Americans would support limiting abortion to – at most – the first three months of pregnancy. The view is shared by 8 in 10 Americans overall (81 percent). More than 6 in 10 pro-choice Americans (62 percent) and a similar number of Americans overall (61 percent) would ban abortion after 20 weeks, except to save the life of the mother. And more than half of those who identify as pro-choice would ban taxpayer funding of abortion, a view shared by 68 percent of Americans overall.

"The idea that those who say they are pro-choice believe abortion should not be substantially restricted simply doesn't match reality. The data clearly show that there is a consensus in this country in favor of significant abortion restrictions, and that this consensus includes a majority of those who say they are pro-choice," said Knights of Columbus CEO Carl Anderson. "We need a conversation that reflects the reality of this unity instead of the fiction that the label means something it does not."

Additionally, 77 percent of Americans, including 71 percent of those who are pro-choice, say that laws can protect both a mother and her unborn child.

By a 25-point margin, Americans (55 to 30 percent) say abortion ultimately does a woman more harm than good. Even about 1 in 4 who identify as pro-choice (27 percent) also share this view.

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

There was almost no difference in the responses between women and men.

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.

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SOURCE Knights of Columbus