The Knights of Columbus released a poll Tuesday showing widespread U.S. support for legal restrictions on abortion. The Marist poll, conducted in a partnership with the Knights, found that 75 percent of Americans believe abortion should be restricted to – at most – the first three months of pregnancy.
More of the survey’s respondents described themselves as “pro-choice” (55 percent) than “pro-life” (38 percent), but overall, the survey found that the labels “pro-life” and “pro-choice” were not really indicative of people’s views on abortion restrictions.
Vice President of the Knights of Columbus Andrew Walther told reporters on a press call Tuesday that the polling highlights how the “pro-choice” label does not indicate that people "would oppose substantial restriction on abortion.”
For example, 61 percent of Americans who identify as “pro-choice” would like abortion to be restricted to the first three months of pregnancy at the latest.
Support for restrictions on abortion also crosses party lines with 60 percent of Democrats and 78 percent of Independents in favor of limiting it to three months.
While Democrats have made much of the notion that the Trump administration could appoint Supreme Court justices that overturn Roe v. Wade, the poll found that 65 percent of Americans would favor the Court either ruling to allow abortion restrictions to be decided by each state (49 percent), or ruling to outlaw abortion (16 percent).
The poll additionally found that 75 percent of Americans oppose taxpayer funding of abortion abroad and just 19 percent support such funding.
This comes after the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives attempted to expand abortion funding abroad in their proposed funding bill to end the partial government shutdown.
It found that 54 percent of Americans opposed the use of taxpayer funds for abortion in general, at a time when there is an increased push from left-wing Democrats to end the Hyde amendment which blocks the use of taxpayer funding for abortion.
The survey also found that 62 percent of Americans oppose abortions in cases of Down Syndrome.
The Supreme Court is currently weighing whether to take up a case on the constitutionality of an Indiana law that bans abortions chosen solely on the basis of a diagnosis of Down syndrome. Abortion rates for preborn children diagnosed with Down syndrome are alarmingly high worldwide.
In keeping with the “pro-life is pro-science” theme of the upcoming March for Life, the poll revealed Americans’ opinions on some of the fundamental scientific questions at the heart of the abortion debate.
It found that only 35 percent of those surveyed believe the fetus is “part of a woman’s body,” while 56 percent believe it is “a unique life."
Further, 42 percent of those surveyed believe that life begins at conception, including 23 percent of those who identified as “pro-choice.”
“As in past years, this poll shows that the pro-choice label on the abortion issue is simply insufficient,” Knights of Columbus CEO Carl Anderson said in a statement about the survey’s results. “The majority of Americans – in both parties – support legal restrictions on abortion. Two-thirds of Americans want Roe revisited to allow for state regulation of abortion or to ban it altogether. The majority of the American people deserve to have their opinions heard.”
The survey of 1,066 adults was conducted January 8 through January 10, 2019.