New Survey Finds 84% of Americans Support Significant Abortion Restrictions

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1/21/2014

This includes nearly 6 in 10 of those who identify as strongly pro-choice

More than four decades after the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade, the vast majority of Americans are still very uncomfortable with the reality of widespread abortion in the United States.

A new survey of Americans finds strong support for abortion restrictions – including among those who identify as “strongly pro-choice.” Eighty-four percent of Americans would limit abortion to, at most, the first three months of pregnancy, with 58 percent of strongly pro-choice Americans supporting such limits.

The Knights of Columbus/Marist Poll also found that almost three-quarters of Americans (74 percent) favor a ban on abortions after 20 weeks except to save the life of the mother, a majority of Americans (53 percent) believe life begins at conception, and more than 6 in 10 (62 percent) think abortion is morally wrong.

More than 8 in 10 Americans (84 percent) do not see the abortion debate as an all or nothing proposition, saying that laws can protect both the well-being of a woman and the life of the unborn.

Other key findings of the survey include:

•  80 percent support parental notification before a minor can obtain an abortion.
•  79 percent support a 24-hour waiting period prior to having an abortion.
•  76 percent oppose allowing abortions to be performed by non-doctors.
•  62 percent want to change laws to allow for some restrictions on abortion.
•  58 percent support showing a woman an ultrasound image of her baby at least a day before an abortion.
•  57 percent believe abortion does a woman more harm than good in the long run.
•  55 percent — including 6 in 10 Millennials (adults 18 to 32) — want continued debate on the abortion issue.

On a related note, the survey also found that more than 7 in 10 Americans (71 percent) also believe that freedom of religion should be protected above government laws.

“Four decades after Roe v. Wade, abortion remains at odds with the conscience and common sense of the American people,” said Knights of Columbus CEO Carl Anderson. “The American people understand that abortion is bad for everyone, and even those who strongly support abortion want it reduced significantly, so it is time that our lawmakers and our courts reflected this reality.”

This survey of 2,001 adults was conducted Dec. 10, 2013, through Dec. 15, 2013, by The Marist Poll and sponsored by The Knights of Columbus. Adults 18 years of age and older residing in the continental United States were interviewed by telephone using live interviewers. Results are statistically significant within ±2.2 percentage points. The error margin increases for cross-tabulations.

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

The Knights of Columbus has worked with the Marist Poll to survey Americans on moral issues since 2008.