Majority of Americans Oppose South Dakota Abortion Ban Over Exceptions

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 7, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Majority of Americans Oppose South Dakota Abortion Ban Over Exceptions Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 7, 2006

Washington, DC ( — A new poll conducted for the Fox News Channel finds that a majority of Americans are opposed to a new abortion ban in South Dakota because it does not contain exceptions for abortions in the case of rape and incest. The poll reveals respondents do not favor the overwhelming majority of abortions.

Conducted by Opinion Dynamics, the Fox News poll found Americans oppose the abortion ban, which contains only an exception to save the life of the mother, on a 59-35 percent margin.

Republicans supported the ban (49-47 percent) while Democrats (26-70 percent) and independents (32-58 percent) opposed it.

The poll found no gender gap on the issue of abortion as both 35 percent of men and women supported the abortion ban.

Although the poll did not ask respondents if they would favor an abortion ban that also had rape and incest exceptions, the Fox News survey found that 74 percent of Americans say abortion should be legal in such rare cases.

That would likely mean Americans would favor a ban with those exceptions.

The poll found 49 percent of those surveyed say abortion should be illegal if the pregnancy is merely "unwanted" while just 43 percent say abortion should be legal, in what constitutes more than 98 percent of abortion cases.

According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, the research arm of Planned Parenthood, less than one percent of abortions are performed because the women is a victim of rape or incest. More than 97 percent of abortions are performed for financial, social or other birth control-related reasons that are not medical or health emergencies.

The results of the Fox survey are consistent with other polls that show a majority of Americans oppose all or most abortions, but support rape and incest exceptions.

A January CBS News poll found 55 percent of Americans took a pro-life position on abortion. Of those, 33 percent said abortions should be "permitted only in cases such as rape, incest and to save the woman’s life."

Only 22 percent would limit abortions to the life of the mother (17 percent) or prohibit all abortions (5 percent) in that poll.

The new Fox News poll also found that Americans back a partial-birth abortion ban by a 61-28 percent margin with even Democrats (51-35 percent) supporting it. Women (66-23) were more likely than men (55-32) to support the ban on the gruesome abortion procedure.

Looking ahead to abortion politics in the next five years, Americans by a 55-24 percent margin said they thought there would be more restrictions on abortion. Just 12 percent said there would be no change.

On a generic question asking respondents to label themselves pro-life or pro-choice, Republicans were more likely to say they are pro-life and women are more likely than men to say they are pro-life.