Most Americans Oppose Most Abortions, Wirthlin Poll Finds

Most Americans oppose the vast majority of all abortions being performed, according to the findings of a national poll of 750 people conducted in January.

The poll, conducted by the highly respected Wirthlin Group, found that pro-life Americans are also much more likely to vote single-issue than Americans who favor abortion. This means that pro-life candidates enjoy a seven percent voting edge, or “increment,” over pro-abortion candidates.

The poll also found that Americans support the primary provisions of a Pennsylvania law now before the Supreme Court. An overwhelming majority – 85 percent – support a woman’s right to know about abortion and alternatives, and 74 percent support spousal notification.

“When Americans are asked about abortion, they oppose abortion,” said Wanda Franz, Ph.D., president of the National Right to Life Committee, the nation’s largest pro-life group. “And pro-life Americans are much more willing to vote on the abortion issue alone.”

Other major findings of the poll include:

  • A majority of Americans oppose the overwhelming majority of all abortions. 53 percent of poll respondents said abortion should be legal in three or fewer circumstances: in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother. The Alan Guttmacher Institute, Planned Parenthood’s research arm, reports that those three reasons account for less than 4 percent of all abortions. The Wirthlin poll also shows that just 11 percent of Americans support abortion on demand throughout pregnancy, while another six percent support abortion in the first six months of pregnancy.
  • Young people (those between 18 and 24 years of age) are more likely to voice pro-life views than the general population. Fully 61 percent of those age 18 to 24 voice pro-life views.
  • People who vote single issue on abortion are more likely to oppose abortion than to favor abortion. Of all Americans, 19 percent will vote single-issue pro-life, compared with 12 percent who will vote single issue pro-abortion.
  • A slim plurality – 43 percent – of Americans want the Roe v. Wade decision overturned, and that number jumps to 48 percent when they are told that the impact of overturning Roe would be to allow states to pass laws on abortions. An even stronger majority – 57 percent – want the Roe v. Wade decision changed.
  • 50 percent of Americans oppose the so-called “Freedom of Choice Act” (FOCA), versus 45 percent in favor. When told that the FOCA would not allow parental notice laws to stand (as the ACLU acknowledges), 56 percent of Americans oppose and just 38 percent support the FOCA.
  • A majority of Americans (63 percent) oppose federal funding of research using tissue from aborted human fetuses. 29 percent of Americans support this proposal.
  • An overwhelming majority of Americans (80 percent) support parental notification laws.

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