Majority of US ‘registered voters’ support heartbeat abortion bans, new poll finds
April 12, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A new survey by a respected pollster has found that a clear majority of American "registered voters" are willing to ban abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected...provided they are given the information of how early a preborn child’s heart actually begins beating.
On April 3, pollster Scott Rasmussen released the results of a poll of registered voters he conducted with the polling firm HarrisX, focusing on the latest trend in state pro-life legislation.
When simply asked about banning abortion “at any point after a fetal heartbeat has been detected,” a combined 55% said they would either “somewhat” or “strongly” oppose the ban. But when the question is prefaced with the definitive statement that a “fetal heartbeat can be detected as early as six weeks into a pregnancy,” 56% of respondents said they would favor the ban.
51% also said they would prefer a candidate who endorsed a heartbeat ban, versus just 27% who sided with a candidate who supports abortion “at any point during a pregnancy” (an additional 22% were unsure).
The poll’s more general abortion findings revealed that 48% thought abortion should be legal “some of the time” and that only 24% believed it should “never” be legal. But the results are consistent with a large body of polling data indicating that the more specific and informative the question, the more likely the answer is to be pro-life.
Last summer, Gallup found that a combined 53% of Americans think abortion should be legal in “few” or “no” circumstances (which Gallup has consistently found at or above 54% from 1995 through 2017). Other surveys from CNN/ORC International and the Marist Institute also found consistent majority support for either banning abortion completely or limiting it to rape, incest, or medical emergencies.
The only major aspect of the abortion debate on which the abortion lobby enjoys strong majority support is on whether to overturn Roe v. Wade, but pro-lifers argue those results are largely a byproduct of widespread ignorance about the 1973 ruling’s history and effects. January’s Marist poll found that 65% of Americans think the Supreme Court should either let states set their own abortion laws or ban abortion itself, which Andrew Wheeler of the Knights of Columbus notes “would functionally overturn” Roe.
The January poll also found just 38% of Americans considered themselves “pro-life” versus 55% “pro-choice,” with an additional 7% unsure; and 48% of Americans saying they would either completely ban abortions or limit them to cases of rape, incest, or to save a mother’s life. But in the wake of ongoing controversy over Democrat-backed bills to allow effectively unrestricted abortion up until birth and congressional Democrats’ opposition to legislation meant to prevent infanticide, a February Marist poll found a nine-point jump in pro-life self-identification and a ten-point jump in the percentage of Americans who would ban most abortions.
Heartbeat bills prohibit abortion much earlier than the “viability” standard set by Roe v. Wade, which their supporters argue is intended to provoke legal challenges which pro-lifers hope will eventually lead to the U.S. Supreme Court finally overturning the 1973 ruling and restore Americans’ freedom to vote on all aspects of abortion’s legality.