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Poll: Most support abortion restrictions

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
WASHINGTON (BP)--An overwhelming majority of U.S. adults support restrictions on abortion -- such as requiring parental consent -- that are commonly implemented on the state level, according to a new Gallup poll.

The poll of 1,020 adults found that:

-- 87 percent support laws requiring doctors to "inform patients about certain possible risks of abortion before performing the procedure."

-- 71 percent back laws requiring those under 18 to obtain parental consent before getting an abortion.

-- 69 percent support laws requiring women to wait 24 hours before obtaining an abortion.

-- 64 percent support laws making it illegal to perform a partial-birth abortion.

The laws in the four questions found majority support from Republicans, Independents and Democrats.

The rest of the poll had good news and bad news for the pro-life community. While U.S. adults think third-trimester abortions (86-10 percent) and second-trimester abortions (71-24 percent) should be illegal, they believe first-trimester abortions should be legal, 62-35 percent. The second-trimester data is particularly good news for pro-life groups who are in the middle of a major push to pass state laws prohibiting abortion at 20 weeks on the basis that the unborn child feels pain.

Gallup found less support and even opposition when asking about three other specific laws. By a 50-46 percent margin, U.S. adults support laws that would require a woman seeking an abortion to be shown an ultrasound. Yet adults (51-46) oppose laws that would allow pharmacists and health providers to opt out of "providing medicine or surgical procedures that result in abortion." Adults (57-40) also oppose laws "prohibiting health clinics that provide abortion services from receiving any federal funds." That latter question references moves by some states -- and even Congress -- to prohibit money going to Planned Parenthood. theorized that the question was "worded in a way that might make respondents concerned about hospitals losing federal funding -- which is not normally the case under such laws."


The poll was conducted July 15-17.

Compiled by Michael Foust, associate editor of Baptist Press.

Copyright (c) 2011 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press

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