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What Is Normal?

HuffPo Poll: Americans Overwhelmingly Support Late-Term Abortion Ban

Earlier this week, Dan asked if America is becoming an increasingly pro-life nation.  A nationwide poll commissioned by the Huffington Post (!) injects another data set into that discussion:

Most Americans would favor sweeping new national restrictions on abortion after the 20th week of pregnancy, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll. But the poll also shows many Americans remain conflicted in their views on abortion. By a margin of 59 percent to 30 percent, respondents to the new poll said they would favor a federal law banning abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy.  A recent United Technologies/National Journal poll found Americans divided over the possible ban, with a narrower plurality of 48 percent to 44 percent supporting it.  Respondents to the HuffPost/YouGov poll were split in their views on whether abortion should usually be legal or illegal, with a large number falling somewhere in the middle -- a finding consistent with other surveys. Nineteen percent said they think abortion should always be legal, while 27 percent said it should be generally legal, but with some restrictions. Another 17 percent said that abortion should always be illegal, while 30 percent said it should be generally illegal, except in special circumstances.

Click through and take the interactive polls to see just how out-of-touch HuffPo readers are with the rest of the country on this issue.  By a two-to-one margin, Americans support the House-passed legislation banning most abortions after 20 weeks (beginning of the sixth month).  Among those respondents who are "conflicted" on abortion policy, a 70 percent majority backs this proposed restrictions.  As a sop to its heavily pro-choice readership, HuffPo cites National Journal's poll on the question, which that produced a closer result.  But even that survey (with its more slanted question wording) turned up plurality support for ending late-term abortion.  Among the groups most supportive of the law were women, young people and political independents; just a predictable coalition of right-wing, anti-woman extremists, obviously.  On the broader question of abortion's legality Americans split down the middle in the HuffPo survey: 47 percent say abortion should be limited to very few circumstances or totally illegal, while 46 percent believe the practice should face few or no limits.  Other polling has shown strong public opposition to sixth-month abortions, both in Texas (note the gender breakdown) and nationally.  A 2012 Harvard survey of young voters found that two-thirds of 18-29 year-olds support stricter limits on abortion, while a slim majority embraces a more comprehensive pro-life stance.

- Read these moving pieces from young women responding to an abortion-supporting New York Times column.

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