Peter J. Smith


Gallup: majority of Americans support new pro-life laws

Peter J. Smith

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 26, 2011 ( - A majority of Americans support enacting restrictions on abortion, including laws designed to guarantee a woman’s informed consent, but remain narrowly divided on others.

According to Gallup, 87 percent favor laws requiring abortionists to inform their clients about the potential risks involved with having an abortion before undergoing the procedure. Just 11 percent oppose those laws.

Seventy-one (71) percent favor laws requiring minors under 18 to get parental consent before having an abortion, while 27 percent say they are opposed.

Americans also favor 24-hour waiting period laws, 69 - 28 percent.

Another 64 percent also support laws banning “partial birth abortion” in the last six months of pregnancy, except to save the mother’s life. Just 31 oppose such laws.

Half of those polled (50 percent) said they support laws requiring women to be shown an ultrasound of their unborn child at least 24 hours before an abortion.

Americans are more narrowly divided over other abortion restrictions.

On the issue of allowing pharmacists and healthcare providers the ability to opt out of services that result in abortion: 46 percent favor those laws, while 51 percent oppose them.

Only 40 percent favored laws depriving “health clinics that provide abortion services” - such as Planned Parenthood - from receiving federal funding, while 57 percent were against depriving them of federal funding.

Gallup conducted the poll between July 15-17. The survey answers came from a random sample of 1000 adults living in all 50 US states and the District of Columbia. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 4 percent.

The poll, however, showed that women were overall far more in favor of the laws - especially those related to informed consent - than men. Seventy (70) percent of women supported the 24 hour waiting period, while 68 percent of men were in favor. Women also supported over men parental consent laws (72 - 69 percent), informed consent laws (89-84 percent), and the ultrasound requirement (52 - 48 percent).

Men supported over women the partial birth abortion ban (67-62 percent), banning federal funds to abortion providers (43 - 37 percent), and opt-out provisions for pharmacists and health care providers opposed to abortion (47 - 44 percent).

Gallup also found that regionally, individuals in the South and Midwest were generally more favorable to abortion restrictions than individuals residing in the East and West.

According to a previous June Gallup poll, most Americans favor banning second trimester abortion (71 percent) and third trimester abortion (86 percent). However, Gallup said 62 percent of Americans favored keeping abortion legal in the first trimester.

The polling firm references information from the Guttmacher Institute, a research firm associated with Planned Parenthood, that 19 states passed 80 new laws restricting abortion in the first half of 2011, which breaks the previous record of 34 laws enacted in 2005.

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