New Poll Shows Americans are Pro-Life on Abortion as Roe v. Wade Turns 43

National   Steven Ertelt   Jan 19, 2016   |   1:11PM    Washington, DC

As Roe v. Wade turns 43 this week and Americans mark more than four decades of unlimited abortions, new polling data shows they want a change in the direction of protecting unborn children.

A new national poll shows a strong majority of Americans — including a majority of those who consider themselves “pro-choice” on abortion — support substantial abortion limits. That’s according to a new national survey of 1,686 adults conducted at the end of November by the Marist Institute for Public Opinion at Marist University.

Here’s a list of the findings:

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).

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.

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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 Knights of Columbus, a Catholic organization, commissioned the university to take the poll and the head of the group said the polling data shows it’s time to dramatically change U.S. abortion law to limit abortions further.

“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.”