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Photograph of 26-week-old baby in womb.Lennart Nilsson

(LifeSiteNews) – Clear majorities of Americans support generally banning abortion at least by the 15th week of pregnancy, suggesting that Republican politicians need not fear the political fallout of pursuing further pro-life action.

On June 21, Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America announced the results of a poll of abortion attitudes it commissioned from the Tarrance Group, which found that 26% of Americans would support a ban on abortions with exceptions for rape, incest, and life of the mother from conception, another 20% would support such a ban based on fetal heartbeat (around six weeks), and another 31% would support the ban at 15 weeks (around which a baby can feel pain), for a combined total of 77% support for limiting elective abortions at least to the first 15 weeks. (The report did not include questions about those same bans without exceptions.)

It also found that “abortion should generally be prohibited throughout pregnancy” best described the views of 27% of respondents, as opposed to only 14% who endorsed abortion until the third trimester and 14% supporting it through all nine months.

Fifty-nine percent said specifically that they would support a federal 15-week ban with rape, incest, and life-of-mother exceptions (Republican U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina introduced such a ban in Congress last September). That number “includes 53% of self-described pro-choice voters, 51% of voters who identify as Democrats, and 52% of independents.” Only 31% opposed. Curiously, that overall support drops to 53% when the question is prefaced with talk of last year’s Supreme Court ruling allowing states to set their own abortion policies, but support remains in the majority.

Additionally, 64% said they would oppose federal legislation imposing unlimited abortion-on-demand upon all 50 states, and 53% said they support permanently banning taxpayer dollars from going to elective abortions.

“There is middle ground on the issue of abortion not being captured in the traditional life/choice Dichotomy,” the Tarrance Group’s B.J. Martino and Alexi Donovan wrote. “That broad middle ground includes support for limits on later abortions when the child can feel pain, with exceptions for the life of the mother, rape and incest, while opposing abortion up until the moment of birth. That middle ground also protects parents’ rights while providing support for Mothers and families during pregnancy and after birth.”

While the poll suggests the general public is unprepared for a more comprehensive abortion ban starting at or near conception, it does rebuke suggestions by some GOP voices (including former president and 2024 presidential frontrunner Donald Trump) that a firm pro-life stance would put Republicans at a political disadvantage.

For months before November 2022, many on both sides predicted that Republicans would sweep into strong majorities in both chambers of Congress in response to President Joe Biden’s unpopular handling of numerous issues; instead, the GOP barely won a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives and failed to wrest the Senate from Democrat control.

With the midterms representing the first major elections to occur after the overturn of Roe v. Wade, some also predicted a pro-abortion backlash against Republicans, and after the “red wave” failed to materialize, several voices including attributed the outcomes partially to GOP candidates opposing exceptions to abortion bans.

The evidence, however, suggests that while abortion may have been a marginal boon to Democrat voter turnout, it was neither a major nor insurmountable factor in the midterms. Exit polls vary significantly in how much voters prioritized the issue, and five abortion-related ballot initiatives all resulted in pro-abortion outcomes, but most incumbents won re-election regardless of party, and no state that enacted a near-total abortion ban ousted the governor or legislature responsible.

The midterm results actually showed that abortion was only a “kill shot if you’re a piss-poor candidate,” Ryan Tyson, a pollster for Republican presidential candidate and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, argued in audio from a donor strategy meeting that leaked in May. “If you’re a good candidate, you can survive that.”

Other factors to which the midterm disappointment has been attributed include Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell pulling financial support for certain candidates; Trump redirecting midterm donations to his own organization instead of midterm races; Trump’s elevation of questionable candidates in GOP primaries; Democrats themselves funding weaker Republicans in primaries; potential election fraud and Democrats’ effective harvesting of early votes and mail ballots; manipulation of swing voters by Big Tech; establishment Republicans failing to offer a compelling contrast to Democrats over the last two years; and the long-term results of left-wing bias in media and education.

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