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Americans overwhelmingly support abortion restrictions in new poll

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Emily Elconin/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A large majority of Americans support legal limits on abortions and prefer that any laws permitting the practice be decided at a state level rather than a federal level, according to the results of a newly-released poll on the hot-button political issue.

What are the details?

The poll, sponsored by the Knights of Columbus and conducted by Marist Poll, published Thursday, found that a whopping 71% of Americans support legal limits on abortion procedures that are more conservative than current federal law and the laws in place in many states.

It also found that 54% of Americans oppose taxpayer funding of abortion, and more than 60% of Americans believe that abortion should outright be made illegal (17%) or returned to the states for consideration (44%).

The results of the poll, which surveyed approximately 1,000 U.S. adults between Jan. 4 and Jan. 9, indicate that Americans are not anywhere near as far left on the issue as is regularly argued by Democrats and members of mainstream media.

For one of the poll's primary questions, respondents were presented with six options on abortion restrictions and were asked to choose which one would be their preference.

  • "One, abortion should be available to a woman at any time she wants one during her entire pregnancy"
  • "Two, abortion should be allowed only during the first six months of a pregnancy"
  • "Three, abortion should be allowed only during the first three months of a pregnancy"
  • "Four, abortion should be allowed only in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother"
  • "Five, abortion should be allowed only to save the life of the mother"
  • "Six, abortion should never be permitted under any circumstance"

In response to the prompt, 71% of respondents indicated that abortion should not be permitted past three months of pregnancy.

Specifically, 22% said abortion should be restricted to three months, 28% said it should only be permitted in instances of rape, incest, or to save the mother's life, 9% said it should be allowed only to save the mother's life, and 12% said abortion should never be permitted in any circumstance.

Even 49% of Democrats agreed that abortion should not be permitted past three months.

What else?

Marist Poll intentionally avoided buzzwords and identity politics in many of its questions so as to ascertain respondents' real unprovoked views on the issue.

For example, 54% of respondents described themselves as "pro-choice" to 40% who said they were "pro-life." However, the poll's results show that when someone describes themselves as pro-choice, they don't necessarily mean they prefer unrestricted abortion access.

“When it comes to the direction of government policy, there has been consistency and consensus in American public opinion on the issue of abortion over the decades,” explained Dr. Barbara Carvalho, director of the Marist Poll, in a press release.

Her organization, along with the Knights of Columbus, have been surveying Americans' attitudes regarding abortion for more than a decade.

This year's results are perhaps especially relevant given the Supreme Court's upcoming decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which may well lead to the rollback of abortion rights established in the 1973 landmark ruling in Roe v. Wade.

“As we await a decision in the Supreme Court case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, our polling continues to show that over 60% of Americans reject the central holding of Roe v. Wade, and want to return the decision to the states or make abortion illegal,” said Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly in the release.

Kelly added that “Roe v. Wade was wrong when it was decided, and its legacy is the tragic destruction of more than 60 million unborn lives and countless wounded women. The time has come for America to turn the page on Roe.”

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