On 41st Anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Americans still want restrictions on abortions

Katie LaPotin, Red Alert Politics, January 22, 2014

As Americans recognize the 41st anniversary of one of the Supreme Court’s biggest decisions – Roe v. Wade – one thing remains true: Americans still have a bad taste in their mouths when it comes to abortions.

A new study released Wednesday by the Knights of Columbus/Marist University Polling Institute found that 62 percent of Americans believe abortions are morally wrong in today’s society – one that could potentially cause the woman more harm than good in the future. That includes 58 percent of Americans who are “in the middle” when it comes to abortion rights and 18 percent of strongly pro-choice Americans. The “in the middle” group makes up approximately 44 percent of Americans, while 29 percent of Americans are strongly pro-life and 27 percent are strongly pro-choice.

In addition, more than half of all Americans believe that life begins at the moment of conception – a topic of contention between the pro-choice and pro-life sects. Just one in ten Americans believe that life begins when the child is born.

At the same time, more and more Americans are warming up to the concept of adding additional laws restricting abortions to the books, as 62 percent of adults surveyed supported changing laws to allow for some restrictions on abortions. The study also found that eight in ten Americans believe it is perfectly acceptable to have at least one parent notified before their underage daughter is allowed to have an abortion, and that 74 percent of adults believe that abortions should be banned after 20 weeks/5 months of pregnancy except to save the mother’s life.

Even the number of Americans who believe abortions should be available on the government dime continues to remain low, with just 37 percent of adults believing the government should fund the procedure if the woman cannot afford it on her own. Six in ten adults oppose the use of taxpayer dollars for abortions.

The same goes for women who find themselves “in the middle” on the subject. Seven in ten of these Americans believe the law should be changed to allow for additional restrictions, while 83 percent of them support parental notification before a minor undergoes an abortion as well as a mandatory 24-hour waiting period between consulting with a healthcare professional and obtaining an abortion.

“The political and judicial orthodoxy that for years has protected abortion from almost any restriction doesn’t have the support of the vast majority of Americans, nor does it have the support of a majority of those who think of themselves as ‘strongly pro-choice’,” Carl Anderson, the supreme knight of the Knights of Columbus, wrote in National Review Wednesday.

“Rather than holding onto the belief that restrictions on abortion are largely impossible — legally and practically — our lawmakers at the national and state levels should restart the country’s debate on abortion from the points of consensus among the American people. They should take the first step in doing this by proposing and passing broadly supported restrictions on abortion,” he continued.

Abortion rights is likely to be a key issue in 2014, with Republicans planning to revive the push for additional restrictions on the procedure through both initiatives and legislation this year. Tens of thousands of people are believed to have attended Wednesday’s annual March for Life event on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., including Republican National Chairman Reince Preibus, 2012 presidential candidate Rick Santorum and several other GOP politicians.

“We thought it only fitting for our members to attend the march,” Preibus said, according to The Deseret News

And although he did not attend in person, Pope Francis sent his well-wishes to those attending Wednesday’s march via Twitter.

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Marist University Polling (on behalf of the Knights of Columbus) conducted a telephone study of 2,001 adults nationwide from December 13-15, 2013. The margin of error for the study is +/- 2.2 percent at a 95 percent confidence level. 

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