Americans Support Abortion Restrictions

New K of C-Marist Poll finds Americans strongly support abortion restrictions against taxpayer funding, differ with Supreme Court’s reasoning on recent Texas case.


Americans remain strongly supportive of abortion restrictions, despite this summer’s Supreme Court decision overturning a Texas law that mandated that doctors have admitting privileges at a local hospital and that abortion clinics be held to the same standards as other outpatient surgery centers.

Strong majorities also oppose taxpayer funding of abortion, support the right of conscientious objectors to opt out of abortions, and would generally limit the procedure – at most – to the first trimester. In most cases, a majority, or substantial minority of those who call themselves pro-choice agree.

“The Americans people have spoken clearly on their desire for abortion restrictions, less taxpayer funding of it, and common sense regulations on this industry to protect women’s health,” said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson. “Our courts, politicians, candidates and parties should heed this consensus.”

"The majority of Americans in favor of abortion restrictions has been consistently around 8 in 10 for the better part of a decade,” said Barbara Carvalho, director of the Marist Poll. “Though self-identification as pro-life or pro-choice can vary substantially from year to year, the support for restrictions is quite stable."

 

 

Among the key findings:

  • Though 51 percent of Americans say they are pro-choice, about 8 in 10 Americans support substantial restrictions on abortion (78 percent), and would limit it to, at most, the first three months of pregnancy. This number includes 62 percent of those who identify as pro-choice, 85 percent of African-Americans and 84 percent of Latinos.
  • Taxpayer funding for abortion is opposed by 62 percent of Americans. This includes 65 percent of African-Americans, 61 percent of Latinos, and 45 percent of those who say they are pro-choice, as well as 84 percent of Republicans, 61 percent of Independents and 44 percent of Democrats.
  • Concerning the recent Supreme Court decision, Nearly 8 in 10 Americans (78 percent) want abortion clinics to be held to the same standards as other outpatient surgery centers. This includes 77 percent of African-Americans and 82 percent of Latinos, as well as 77 percent of women, and 84 percent of millennials. About three quarters of those who identify as pro-choice (74 percent) agree, as do strong majorities regardless of party affiliation.
  • In addition, 70 percent of Americans want doctors who perform abortions to be required to have hospital admitting privileges. This includes 71 percent of women, 77 percent of millennials, and 78 percent of Latinos. Pro-life and pro-choice adherents are also equally likely to support such a requirement at a rate of 7 in 10 for each group (71 percent).
  • And by almost 20 points, a majority of Americans (56 percent to 37 percent) do not believe that healthcare providers should be forced to perform abortions against their conscience or religious beliefs. This includes 6 in 10 Latinos (61 percent) and 4 in 10 who identify as pro-choice (41 percent).

The survey of 1,009 adults was conducted July 5-12, 2016, 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 on either landline or mobile phones in English using live interviewers. Results for adults are statistically significant within ±3.1 percentage points. The error margin increases for cross-tabulations.