A recent Marist poll commissioned by the Knights of Columbus shows a significant increase just over the past month in the number of Americans who identify as “pro-life.”
The survey found that Americans are now just as likely to identify as “pro-life” (47 percent) as “pro-choice” (47 percent). This is a large increase from a similar survey last month, when another Marist Poll found Americans “more likely to identify as pro-choice than as pro-life by 17 percentage points (55 to 38 percent).”
The poll marks the first time since 2009 that the same amount of Americans identified as “pro-life” as “pro-choice.”
The increase in pro-life identification occurred among Americans under the age of 45 and among Democrats.
“The number of Democrats now identifying as pro-life is 34 percent, up from 20 percent last month, while the number identifying as pro-choice fell from 75 percent to 61 percent,” according to the polling. “Younger Americans also moved dramatically, now dividing 47 percent pro-life to 48 percent pro-choice. One month ago, the gap was almost 40 percentage points with only 28 percent identifying as pro-life and 65 percent identifying as pro-choice.”
The survey was taken from February 12-17 after Democrats embraced a push for late-term abortion. Barbara Carvalho, director of the Marist Poll, told Axios that the opinion shift was notable and likely related to that push.
"This has been a measure that has been so stable over time. To see that kind of change was surprising," she said. "And the increased discussion [of late-term abortion] in the public forum in the past month appears to have made the biggest difference in how people identify on the issue."
Another key finding by Marist was that 80 percent of Americans supported limiting abortion to the first three months of pregnancy, a 5 percent increase in that view since last month's poll.
“Current proposals that promote late-term abortion have reset the landscape and language on abortion in a pronounced – and very measurable – way,” Carvalho emphasized.
“Arguments in favor of late-term abortion are simply not convincing the American people,” Knights of Columbus CEO Carl Anderson remarked on the findings. “If anything, since these proposals have been unveiled, people are moving noticeably in the pro-life direction. It is now clear that these radical policies are being pursued despite the opposition of the majority of Americans of both parties.”
A controversy over late-term abortion began in New York and Virginia last month when a measure that would permit abortions at “any time” to protect “a patient’s life or health”was signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Embattled Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam made some remarks that appeared to be defending leaving an infant born after an abortion to die after he was asked about the debate over Virginia House of Delegates member Kathy Tran’s (D-Fairfax) bill that would allow an abortion, she initially said, even after the woman goes into labor.
“If a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen,” he said. “The infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.”
President Trump condemned the Democrats’ push for late-term abortion in his State of the Union address and pushed for legislation to protect unborn children after 20 weeks. However, Democrats have repeatedly refused to even consider legislation that would ensure legal protection for infants born alive after an attempted abortion.