CBS News Poll: Majority of Americans Want Abortion Illegal, Restrictions

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 24, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

CBS News Poll: Majority of Americans Want Abortion Illegal, Restrictions Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 24
, 2007

Washington, DC ( — A new CBS News poll finds that a majority of Americans want to prohibit abortions in all or most cases or want greater restrictions on abortions. The poll results are consistent with the results from 2006 when more than half of those polled wanted to make abortion illegal all or most of the time.

The poll was conducted from January 18-21 and it surveyed 1,168 adults nationwide.

The survey asked respondents to give their "personal feeling" about abortion and asked them whether they wanted abortion to be always permitted, subject to greater restrictions, allowed only in cases of rape, incest or saving the life of the mother, or only allowed to save the life of the mother.

CBS News did not ask respondents whether they thought abortion should never be allowed, although it tabulated the results of those who volunteered that answer.

According to the CBS News poll, 47 percent of Americans want to prohibit all or most abortions and 16 percent want them to be greatly restricted.

About 30 percent of those polled want to limit abortions to the very rare cases of rape, incest or life of the mother and another 12 percent want abortions allowed only in when the pregnancy threatens the mother’s life. Another 5 percent said abortions should always be illegal.

Just 31 percent of the public wants to permit abortion in all cases.

The results are similar to a CBS News poll last January that found 51 percent want all or most abortions illegal and just 29 percent wanting them allowed in all cases.

Commenting on the survey results, Ramesh Ponnuru of National Reviews says "The good news for pro-lifers is that in the latest poll 47 percent of the public says that abortion should be generally banned."

"The bad news is that there seems to be a bit of a leftward trend," Ponnuru said. He pointed out that the pro-abortion totals have risen slightly in the last year while the pro-life totals have declined slightly.

However, other recent polls have shown that Americans are moving in a pro-life direction.

A November Newsweek poll found the number of pro-life Americans rose 5 percent while the number of Americans who support abortion fell four percent compared to a previous poll it conducted in 2005.

A March Zogby poll also found that Americans support limits on abortion by wide margins.

It showed 69 percent of voters agree with prohibiting federal taxpayer funds from being used to pay for abortions, 69 percent support parental notification for girls 16 or younger and by a 55 percent for girls 18 and younger.

Zogby found 56 percent of Americans back a 24-hour waiting period on abortion, 64 percent would charge criminals with a second crime for killing or injuring an unborn child in the course of an attack on a pregnant woman, and 69 percent don’t want their tax money to pay for abortions or promoting abortion in other nations.