Another Poll Shows Most Americans Back Abortion Limits

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 4, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Another Poll Shows Most Americans Back Abortion Limits

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 4, 2005

Washington, DC ( — A second poll in as many weeks shows most Americans back limits on abortion. The new one, conducted by the Pew Research Center for The People & The Press, is based on two surveys conducted in July.

According to the Pew study, 35% of respondents believe abortion should be "generally available"; 23% support stricter limits on abortion; 31% say it should be illegal except in cases of rape, incest or to protect the life of the pregnant woman; and 9% think it should be illegal in all circumstances.

That means 40 percent of Americans believe abortions should be mostly or completely illegal and 71 percent of Americans back legislation to limit abortions.

White Americans, conservatives and churchgoers were more likely to have a pro-life position while those who do not frequently attend church, liberals and Democrats were less likely to say they opposed abortion.

The Pew poll found that a large majority of Americans find abortion morally wrong in all or some circumstances.

Some 29 percent said abortion was always morally wrong while 41 percent said it was sometimes morally wrong, though the poll did not ask respondents to name the cases. Just 26 percent said abortion wasn’t a moral issue.

Some 59 percent of Americans want to reduce the number of abortions while 33 percent said no.

On whether abortion businesses should obtain parents consent for a minor girl to have an abortion before performing it, 73 percent of those polled agreed and just 22 percent opposed such a law.

Other polls have found a much higher percentage of Americans taking a pro-life position on abortion.

The Pew polls, conducted before President Bush nominated appeals court judge John Roberts for the Supreme Court, found that 63% of respondents believe Supreme Court decisions on abortion-related cases are very important.

Those surveyed said abortion-related cases are more important to them than those regarding terrorism, religious displays, limits on lawsuits, or affirmative action.

The high court, when it begins its next term in October, is expected to hear a case out of New Hampshire regarding that state’s parental notification law.

The Pew poll surveyed other bioethics issues and found that Americans opposed assisted suicide by a 48-44 percentage margin.

The poll found that a majority of Americans favor allowing sales of the morning after pill over the counter without a prescription or doctor’s visit, with 52 percent in favor and 37 percent opposed.

In the survey, 76 percent of those polled favored teaching abstinence education in schools while just 20 percent opposed.

The Pew study is based on separate surveys conducted July 13-17 among 1,502 adults, and July 7-17 among 2,000 adults.