Poll: 51% of Americans Take Pro-Life Position on Abortion

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 24, 2012   |   2:48PM   |   Washington, DC

As the United States recently marked the 39th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, a new survey shows that the majority of Americans support the pro-life view on abortion.

A new national survey conducted by the Marist Institute and commissioned by the Knights of Columbus finds 79 percent of Americans say that they would not allow abortion after the first three months of pregnancy. Another 51 percent would only allow abortion – at most – in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother – or would not allow it at all.

That second number is a positive one showing more than half of Americans take a pro-life position on abortion saying they want all or almost all abortions to not be permitted. Breaking down the figure  further, 11 percent say abortion should never be permitted under any circumstance, 9 percent say abortion should be allowed only to save the life of the mother and 31% opposed permitting 98% of all abortions by saying abortion should be allowed only in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother. (click right to enlarge image)

Just 12 percent agree with pro-abortion President Barack Obama saying “abortion should be available to a woman any time she wants one during her entire pregnancy.”

The numbers have held up over time as well and are almost unchanged from two years ago, the pro-life Catholic group says.

“Almost four decades after the Supreme Court’s decisions in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, which resulted in the almost totally unrestricted abortion regime of today, these decisions continue to be out of step with the vast majority of Americans,” said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson. “Far from being settled law, the inadequacy of the Court’s reasoning on abortion in Roe and Doe is readily apparent to most Americans. Once a survey moves beyond the labels of pro-life and pro-choice, we see a fundamental unity among Americans in favor of significant abortion restrictions.”

The survey also found 84 percent of Americans believe that laws can protect both the life of the unborn and health and well-being of women. That number was consistent with – and slightly higher than – findings two years ago when the number who said both could be protected was 81 percent.

The questions on abortion were part of a broader survey, which will be released in February.

This report details the findings from a telephone survey of 1,053 adults residing in the continental United States. Data were collected from December 15, 2011 through December 27, 2011 using an online, probability-based panel from Knowledge Networks, Inc. Reports for adults have a margin of error within +/- 3 percentage points.