Americans weigh in on the summer of abortion
July 25th, 2013
10:44 AM ET
9 months ago

Americans weigh in on the summer of abortion

Washington (CNN) - It's one of the hottest and most controversial issues in front of lawmakers this summer.

And as both federal and state legislators grapple with increased restrictions on abortion, a new national poll indicates Americans have mixed reactions to some of the moves being made right now in state houses and the nation's capital.

According to an ABC News/Washington Post poll released Thursday morning, a majority of the public favor banning most abortions after 20 weeks into a pregnancy, but a majority oppose moves by some states to impose new restrictions and regulations on abortion providers.

Fifty-six percent of those questioned in the survey say that they support the 20-week ban, with 27% saying they prefer preventing most abortions after 24 weeks of pregnancy, as the Supreme Court ruled in the landmark Roe v. Wade case.

Forty-eight percent of Americans questioned in a United Technologies/National Journal poll conducted late last month said they supported a bill that would ban most abortions after 20 weeks, with 44% opposed.

Last week Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed into law a 20-week ban. A number of states have passed such restrictions in recent years, including Nebraska, Kansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Indiana and Alabama. Arkansas has a ban for pregnancies beyond 12 weeks, but a pending court challenge is preventing the ban from going into place.

North Dakota has the tightest restriction in the country at six weeks, when a fetal heartbeat can be detected. But earlier this week a federal judge put a temporary hold on the implementation of the law.

On the federal level, the GOP-controlled House recently passed a similar late-term abortion ban bill, with only six Republicans voting against the measure and only six Democrats voting in support of it. The bill prohibits most abortions for women beyond their 20th week of pregnancy.

While the original House measure included an exception for cases in which the health of the mother is in danger, Republicans got strong pushback for not including exceptions for pregnancies that resulted from rape or incest. Republican leaders later added new language to include those exceptions.

Senate Republicans are considering sponsoring a similar bill. Sen. Marco Rubio, a possible 2016 contender for the GOP nomination, may take the lead in introducing the measure.

"If someone else would like to do it instead of me, I'm more than happy to consider it. But I'd like to be the lead sponsor," the Florida Republican said in a Politico report, which Rubio's office confirmed to CNN. "I feel very strongly about this issue. And I'd like to be the lead sponsor on it if we can find language that we can unify people behind."

Such a bill would face major opposition in the Democratic controlled chamber, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said earlier this month that he would be open to allowing such a bill to be introduced.

Republican governors in Ohio and Wisconsin recently signed into law increased abortion restrictions, and North Carolina lawmakers are close to passing a similar measure.

According to the poll, 54% say they oppose state laws that make it increasingly more challenging for abortion clinics to operate, with 45% saying they support such moves.

The survey indicates that overall, 55% say that abortion should be legal in all or most cases.

The ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted July 18-21, with 1,002 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

– CNN's Ashley Killough contributed to this report.


Filed under: Abortion • Polls
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. Data Driven

    While all the state-made anti-woman legislation wends its way through the courts, with the inevitable terminus being the Supreme Court, how many women's lives will be changed, in some cases shattered, because of it? Courts need to put these decisions front and center.

    July 25, 2013 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  2. Revolution

    Distraction. Let states decide

    July 25, 2013 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  3. Rudy NYC

    Hey, America. Republicans ran for Congress on "jobs, jobs, jobs." What have they delivered? They have come up short on jobs, and have been long on ideological legislation. They don't even talk about jobs, anymore. It's all about Voter ID, defunding Planned Parenthood, retricting abortion, restricting womens' contraceptives, self-deportations, forced deportations, false scandals, false promises, and false politicians.

    July 25, 2013 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  4. Silence DoGood

    I think it would trouble the founders of this country, with all their many philosophies and religions, to know that there is one sect of one religion trying to impose their will on everyone.

    Thomas Jefferson "The clergy, by getting themselves established by law and ingrafted into the machine of government, have been a very formidable engine against the civil and religious rights of man."

    July 25, 2013 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  5. rs

    Republicans have simply lost their minds, or are committing the longest, slowest suicide in political history.

    * They whine endlessly on how bad the economy (yeah, the one they made) is; yet spend all their time writing and passing unconstitutional abortion law, state religion laws (NC), anti-birth control laws and more Taliban inspired lunacy.
    * They whine about the divisivness and hatred; yet they spend their time taking away women's rights, civil rights and voter's rights- all the while promoting the 1%- the only people in this economy that don't need help.
    * They wring their hands about the relationship of the GOP to minorities in America; yet they refuse to pass meaningful Immigration Reform.
    * They say the President is a hollow suit; makes empty speeches, and ; must court Republicans; yet, they still embrace the racist Birther foolishness, they loudly proclaim they will never work with him, they publicly announced they would make him a "one-term President".
    * The GOP has done absolutely NOTHING for the economy.
    * The GOP spends all it's time on the losing end of the culture wars (they seeming love to fight).
    * The GOP wastes taxpayer dollars at alarming rates in useless court cases, stupid votes (#38 on the ACA coming up) and silly federal plans (like their Halliburton giveaway, er, Border Security boondoggle).

    GOP- If we give you some rope would youjust hurry up a bit?

    July 25, 2013 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  6. rs

    The ultimate irony-
    The GOP is anti- child (if they are poor and hungey, or need education)
    Anti-Education, working rapidly to privatize public education into charter schools- owned largely by Republicans
    Ant-environment- clearly the GOP is now the apocolyse party trying to wreck OUR environment as fast as they can- pushing fossil fuels, fracking (what? flammable tap water is godd?). anti-climate change mythology, anti-Science ethos, and pro-polluters legislation and regulation.
    They are against the endangered species Act, the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act.
    The GOP wants to end all social safety nets: unemployment and Social Security (things WE pay into).
    The GOP is anti-health care- endlessing trying to un-vote the ACA, and take down Medicare and Medicaid.
    They are Pro-War, and pro-Capital Punishment.

    ....And they claim to be pro-life?!

    July 25, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  7. Sniffit

    Aaaah, more deliberate MSM distraction from the real issue. What were the poll results for whether people support intentionally legislating medically unnecessary regulatory financial burdens into place such that it forces closure of 95% of women's health clinics in their state? Oh...you didn't ask that question? Why am I not surprised?

    July 25, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  8. Sniffit

    Gotta love polls that ask people what their opinion is on something that's not up for a vote because it's a constitutionally guaranteed right.

    July 25, 2013 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  9. it must be said

    Right to Life groups need to take a page out of the PETA book. They need to start taking out public education ads showing what aborted babies truly look like. All of the people that say they support the murdering of babies have never even seen one. They think it is some blob of tissue like a tumor when that is the furthest thing from the truth. Basically people need to be shcked and educated. The left has conned people with their misinformation.

    July 25, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  10. Ron L

    Once again we have people who say they believe in "small government" using that very same government to enforce rules people find over bearing and intrusive. I don't have a problem with shortening the time an abortion has to occur to 20 weeks instead of the 24 currently viewed as the latest a termination can occur. What is intrusive and totalitarian is the forcing of ultrasounds, the shutting down of clinics under the guise of raising their medical standards. It is a very focused attempt to MAKE every women that gets pregnant to have the baby regardless of how it may negatively impact her life!!! Her right to chose ends the MOMENT she decides to be intimate with a man the rest is to be controlled by the state.

    July 25, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  11. Scott

    It's good that the Republicans value life, and wish to stop the murder of innocent babies. Unlike Democrats and Liberals who are not bothered by the slaughter of innocent babies. Nothing like using abortion as a form of birth control, instead of using protection to prevent getting pregant.

    July 25, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  12. Cedric

    This would not be an issue if the American public in general showed responsibility and restraint. From women too hot to trot to losers who choose to take, everyone wants choice without consequence. Makes me sick. The sad thing is that most of the time, it is better for the child to die than be birhed into a dead existence(food stamps, rvlving door of relationships, potential abuse-drug, sexual etc.,).

    July 25, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  13. Sandy

    The survey indicates that overall, 55% say that abortion should be legal in all or most cases.
    ____________

    Someone needs to tell this to Joe Scarborough who claims that most people want abortion restrictions. He also keeps claiming that this country is center right, even though republicans lost the popular vote 5 out of the last 6 elections. Just because they claim this country is center right, doesn't make it so, because it is not so.

    July 25, 2013 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  14. Sandy

    Ron L

    Once again we have people who say they believe in "small government" using that very same government to enforce rules people find over bearing and intrusive. I don't have a problem with shortening the time an abortion has to occur to 20 weeks instead of the 24 currently viewed as the latest a termination can occur.
    ______________

    Why do you support republicans restricting a woman's rights?

    July 25, 2013 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  15. Lynda/Minnesota

    "It's one of the hottest and most controversial issues in front of lawmakers this summer."

    Without a doubt it is one of the GOPs hottest money making schemes this summer.

    July 25, 2013 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  16. DRJJJ

    At least have the decency to limit late term abortions-no brainer! Also, what does a heartbeat suggest? Tax payer funded abortions by millions on demand is a National disgrace! Legislating immorality/ the pro death world view is ugly by any measure!

    July 25, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  17. California

    The party of Kermit Gosnell is proud of this fact.

    July 25, 2013 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  18. rs

    DRJJJ

    At least have the decency to limit late term abortions-no brainer! Also, what does a heartbeat suggest? Tax payer funded abortions by millions on demand is a National disgrace! Legislating immorality/ the pro death world view is ugly by any measure!
    ___________________________
    At least as ugly as stuffing fundamentalist religious nonsense, un-scientific beliefs and un-neccessary medical procedures down the throats (and other things) of citizens seeking constitutionally protected medical procedures. Mind your own business!

    July 25, 2013 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  19. California Gary

    Right on the mark Rudy........the GOP is a master at the old bait and switch scheme.

    July 25, 2013 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  20. rs

    This would not be an issue if the American public in general showed responsibility and restraint. From women too hot to trot to losers who choose to take, everyone wants choice without consequence.
    __________________________

    But, but, but the Republicans say you can't legislate behavior- you can't restrict guns because the public is stupid and irresponsible; you can't lwer speed limits because of driver behavior; you can't pass anti cell phone use laws for drivers....

    Face it: Republicans don't care about life- they care about keeping their ubber-radical base vibrating. Nothing else.

    July 25, 2013 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  21. Silence DoGood

    Legal Rights checklist of the "christian" conservative:
    - other religions – NO rights
    - women – NO rights
    - minorities – NO rights
    - common workers – NO rights
    - poor and sick – NO rights
    - fetus that can be a person or not depeending on your personal beliefs – YES, now THAT has rights!

    July 25, 2013 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |