Survey: Americans More Pro-Life Than Their Laws

Less Than 10% Support Unlimited Abortion

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WASHINGTON, D.C., JAN. 6, 2009 ( An online nationwide poll sponsored by the U.S. episcopal conference found that an overwhelming majority of Americans want restrictions on the legality of abortion.

Four out of five U.S. adults want limits on abortion, with 11% wanting it illegal in all circumstances. These findings were released last week after a Dec. 10-12 poll.

Thirty-eight percent would limit abortion to the circumstances of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother; and an additional 33% would limit abortion to either the first three or first six months of life. Only 9% said abortion should be legal for any reason at any time during pregnancy.

“These findings are remarkable,” said Deirdre McQuade, assistant director for policy and communications at the bishops’ Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities. “Fewer than one in 10 Americans support legal abortion for any reason at any time during pregnancy. But that is precisely the current state of abortion law under Roe vs. Wade and Doe vs. Bolton, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decisions that made abortion legal throughout the nine months of pregnancy for virtually any reason.”

The survey of 2,341 adults also found that 95% favor laws ensuring that abortions be performed only by licensed physicians; 88% favor informed consent laws that require abortion providers to inform women of potential risks to their health and about alternatives to abortion; 76% favor laws that protect health care professionals from being forced to perform or refer for abortions; and 73% favor laws to give parents involvement in a minor daughter’s abortion decision.

“Support for these measures cuts across ‘pro-life’ and ‘pro-choice’ positions,” McQuade said. “This research indicates how out of touch pro-abortion groups are with mainstream America.”

McQuade lamented that measures that have proven effective in reducing abortion rates are now “seriously threatened by abortion advocates and their allies in Congress.”

“Pro-abortion groups have already sent a comprehensive 55-page blueprint for their agenda to the incoming administration,” McQuade said. “But their agenda — including publicly funded abortions, passage of the so-called Freedom of Choice Act, and attacking the Hyde amendment and other longstanding pro-life provisions in appropriations bills — won’t sell in the general public.”

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