Poll finds two-thirds of New Yorkers oppose late-term abortion

shutterstock 512357458 New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, pictured in 2016. | a kat/Shutterstock

The vast majority of New Yorkers are opposed to late-term abortion, a new Marist Poll has found. The opposition comes despite the recent passage of the state's Reproductive Health Act, which found a comfortable majority in the state legislature.


The poll, which was co-sponsored by the Knights of Columbus, found that while nearly two-thirds of New Yorkers identify as being "pro-choice," they oppose the idea of late-term abortion.


In January, the New York State Assembly and Senate easily passed the Reproductive Health Act, which codified the Roe v. Wade decision and removed nearly all restrictions on abortion.


Although the law easily passed through the legislative process, average New Yorkers are far less radical on abortion compared to their representatives. The poll found that 75 percent of New York residents are opposed to abortion after the 20th week of a pregnancy. Only 20 percent of those surveyed said they approved of late-term abortion.


Those opposed to abortion after 20 weeks included nearly 70 percent of surveyed Democrats, 73 percent of political independents and 89 percent of Republicans.


Only two Democratic members of the state Senate voted against the Reproductive Health Act, alongside every Republican senator.


"New Yorkers simply do not support laws that allow late-term abortions," said Carl Anderson, CEO of the Knights of Columbus. Anderson called the Reproductive Health Act a "radical policy" that is against the wishes of average people from all political stripes.


Previously, abortion was legal in New York until the 24th week of a pregnancy. Under the new law, abortion is permissable throughout an entire pregnancy, until the moment of birth, if it is deemed necessary to preserve the "health" of the mother. The Reproductive Health Act also removed abortion from the state's criminal code, ending to potential to prosecute assailents who violently induce a miscarriage and allows for medical professionals other than doctors to perform abortions.


To mark the passage of the law, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), a professed Catholic, ordered various landmarks throughout the state to be lit up in bright pink. Cuomo also stated that he hopes other states will follow New York's lead and pass similar legislation.

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Despite being home to one of the most liberal abortion laws in the country, the poll found that New Yorkers are not particularly any more in favor of late-term abortion than the rest of the country. In February, an earlier Marist found that 71 percent of Americans opposed abortion after 20 weeks. Only 18 percent supported late-term abortion.


Fewer than one-third of those surveyed in the latest poll said they thought abortion should be "generally legal" in the last trimester of a pregnancy. Just over half of Democrats, 53 percent, agreed that third-trimester abortion should be "generally illegal." This figure rose to 65 percent among political independents and to 84 percent of Republicans.


The poll indicated that two out of every three New Yorkers surveyed said they would limit abortion to the first 12 weeks of a pregnancy. This figure is below national polling, which found that about 80 percent of Americans would limit abortion to the first trimester at the most.


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Since the Reproductive Health Act passed, several other states have heeded Cuomo's directive and attempted to pass a similar bill, including Vermont and Virginia. The legislation passed in Vermont's House of Representatives, and did not get out of committee in Virginia. Similar legislation is under consideration in Illinois.

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