A national survey commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) reports that about half of U.S. adults support significant restrictions on abortion, while a supermajority supports restrictions forbidden under current constitutional law.
The survey of 2,341 U.S. adults was conducted on-line December 10-12 and fielded by Harris Interactive, a USCCB press release reports.
Only 11 percent of the poll respondents thought abortion should be illegal in all circumstances. However, 38 percent would limit legalized abortion to circumstances involving rape, incest, or danger to the mother’s life.
About 33 percent would limit abortion to either the first three or first six months of pregnancy, while only 9 percent oppose all restrictions on abortion.
Deirdre McQuade, assistant director for Policy & Communications at the USCCB's Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, called the findings “remarkable.”
“Fewer than one in ten Americans support legal abortion for any reason at any time during pregnancy,” she said. “But that is precisely the current state of abortion law under Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decisions that made abortion legal throughout the nine months of pregnancy for virtually any reason.”
The survey also asked respondents about other restrictions on abortion. About 95 percent favored laws requiring that abortions be performed only by licensed physicians, while 88 percent favored informed consent laws. Around 76 percent favored conscience protection laws for pro-life doctors and nurses, while 73 percent approved of parental involvement laws in cases where a minor is seeking to procure an abortion.
Laws against partial birth abortion were favored by 68 percent of respondents, while 63 percent favored laws preventing the use of taxpayer funds for abortions.
“Support for these measures cuts across 'pro-life' and 'pro-choice' positions,” McQuade said, arguing “This research indicates how out of touch pro-abortion groups are with mainstream America.”
“These same widely-supported, constitutionally valid measures, some of which have been proven effective in reducing abortion rates, are now seriously threatened by abortion advocates and their allies in Congress," McQuade continued. "On behalf of children and their mothers, we will have to fight to keep such laws in place.”
McQuade warned about abortion proponents’ proposals which include passing the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) and repealing the Hyde Amendment and other provisions forbidding taxpayer funding of abortions.
"Most people agree we should work to reduce abortions, but you can't reduce abortions by promoting abortion and eliminating all the policies that have proven effective in reducing abortions," McQuade said. "The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops will oppose all such threats to human life in whatever manner they are proposed."