The Knights of Columbus and Marist have released their comprehensive annual poll on Americans’ abortion views, which found that more than three out of four Americans support placing significant restrictions on abortion. Fifty-one percent of the 2,617 respondents surveyed identified as pro-choice, compared with 44 percent who identified as pro-life. Interestingly, 25 percent of Democrats surveyed called themselves pro-life, as did 41 percent of independents.
Only 12 percent of Americans believe that abortion should be available to women at any time during pregnancy. Meanwhile, 76 percent support significant abortion restrictions, including limiting abortion to the first three months of pregnancy, to cases involving rape or incest, or to save the life of the mother.
Six in ten Americans who call themselves pro-choice also reported supporting these types of restrictions. In fact, only 21 percent of Democrats said they support abortion at any stage of pregnancy, while more than six in ten Democrats support placing strict limitations on abortion rights. Almost 80 percent of independents back similar limitations.
One such limitation currently being considered by Congress is the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would ban abortion after 20 weeks based on research showing that fetuses have the capacity to feel pain at that stage of development. This poll reports that 63 percent of Americans support a 20-week abortion ban, an increase of 4 percent support from last year’s survey. This figure includes more than half of those who identify as pro-choice and more than half of Democrats.
Another six in ten respondents oppose using taxpayer money to fund abortions, including 40 percent of pro-choice Americans and 43 percent of Democrats. Meanwhile, 54 percent of respondents said those with moral objections should not be legally required to provide abortion services or insurance coverage; that includes 42 percent of pro-choice Americans and 40 percent of Democrats.
A slight majority of Americans say they think abortion is morally wrong, and that figure rises to 64 percent when considering the abortion of unborn children diagnosed with a genetic disorder such as Down syndrome. Almost half of pro-choice respondents said that abortion of a child with a genetic disorder is morally wrong.
According to almost 80 percent of respondents, it is possible to have laws protecting both the health of the mother and the life of her unborn child. More than half of Americans say abortion does more harm than good for a woman in the long run, compared to under 30 percent who believe that abortion improves a woman’s life.