Poll: Americans Want Obama to Keep Abortion Conscience Clause in Place
by Steven Ertelt
April 8, 2009
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A new national poll of Americans finds a strong majority want President Barack Obama to keep conscience protections in place for doctors and medical centers. The president is considering rescinding the protections the Bush administration adopted to enforce three federal conscience laws.
The protections make it more clear and provide support for doctors or medical facilities that feel pressured to participate in abortions.
They came about after the Bush administration learned the three laws were not being enforced, and the protections provide legal support for victims and require recipients of federal funds to certify they will follow the anti-coercion abortion laws.
Relying on criticism from Planned Parenthood and other abortion advocates, who have made up concerns that somehow the protections will deny women access to birth control and contraception, Obama has proposed removing the protections.
The Polling Company conducted a poll from March 23-25 with 800 Americans adults and found 87 percent believe it is important to make sure that healthcare professionals in America are not forced to participate in procedures and practices to which they have moral objections.
Support for this protection garnered considerable intensity as well, with 65% of respondents considering it very essential.
"Majorities of men, women, and adults of all ages, races, regions, and political affiliations considered it critical to defend the rights of healthcare providers to refuse to perform certain procedures on moral grounds," the survey firm said in its report on the poll.
The support for conscience protections for medical staff and centers exists whether respondents are pro-life or consider themselves pro-choice. The poll found 95 percent of pro-life advocates back the conscience protections while 78 percent who support legal abortions do as well.
The Polling Company survey also found 80 percent of people who backed Obama in the 2008 presidential elections support the conscience protections.
The polling firm asked the question another way and found considerable support.
Without any names or political parties being mentioned, respondents were provided with a short description of the new conscience protection regulation: Just two months ago, a federal law known as conscience protection went into effect after reports of doctors being discriminated against for declining to perform abortions. It protects doctors and other medical professionals who work at institutions that receive federal money from performing medical procedures to which they object on moral or religious grounds.
After hearing this short description, support for this new regulation outpaced opposition by a margin of more than 2-to-1 (63% vs. 28%).
The poll found 42 percent strongly supported the conscience protections while only 19 percent strongly opposed it.
Some 56 percent of those who said they voted for President Obama last year supported the conscience protections and 60 percent who call themselves pro-choice.
Without mentioning Obama’s name, another question told respondents that the federal government is considering rescinding the protections.
Opposition to revocation of the conscience protection rule outpaced support by a margin of more than 2-to-1 (62% vs. 30%). Some 44 percent of adults were strongly opposed to removing the protections while just 17 percent strongly supported it.
Some 52% of self-identified Democrats, 67% of self-identified Independents, and 73% of self-identified Republicans, as well as 50% of liberals, 65% of moderates, and 69% of conservatives also opposed Obama’s planned move to rescind the protections.
Finally, respondents were asked how they would feel if their member of Congress voted to rescind the protections.
Some 54 percent of Americans indicated they would be less likely to back their congressman, with 36 percent saying they would be much less likely and just 11 percent saying they would be much more likely to support their elected official.
ACTION: Here are some things you can to tell President Obama to not remove the protections for doctors and hospitals:
You can express your opposition to the Obama proposal by emailing [email protected]. The deadline for submitting comments is April 9.
Comments may be submitted electronically on the Web site www.Regulations.gov (by entering 0991-AB49 in the search box).
Several pro-life groups have also banded together to offer freedom2care.org, a web site with tools to make it easy for pro-life people to respond to Obama’s likely decision to rescind the medical protections. https://www.freedom2care.org
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