Poll Shows Many Americans Conflicted Over Abortion

July 7, 2008 - 7:02 PM

(CNSNews.com) - According to a new survey, many Americans seem conflicted over the issue of abortion; while 57 percent view abortion as murder, more than two-thirds say the decision to obtain one should be left to a woman and her doctor.

"Americans, in terms of their own code of morality, may view abortion as murder and may be comfortable with it being illegal, but most Americans don't want to impose that on other people," Susan Carroll, a senior associate at the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University, told the Los Angeles Times. The newspaper conducted the poll.

More than a quarter-century after the landmark Supreme Court Roe vs. Wade decision established a constitutional right to abortion, the poll shows that support for the ruling is slipping. Only 43 percent of those currently polled say they support Roe, compared with 56 percent in 1991. However, the poll shows "continued opposition" to a constitutional ban on abortion, says the Times article.

More than half of the 2,071 Americans surveyed June 8-13 said that abortion should be illegal under all circumstances, or legal only in cases of rape or incest or when the mother's life is at risk. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus two percentage points.

Overall, 85 percent support abortion when the mother's physical health is at risk, but that figure drops to just 54 percent when only her emotional health is threatened. Additionally, 66 percent support abortion when the fetus is at risk of an abnormality.

On the question of partial birth abortions and those performed after the first trimester of pregnancy, 65 percent of total respondents, and 72 percent of women who answered the survey, said abortions in the second trimester should be illegal. Among men, the figure was only 58 percent.

This month the Supreme Court is expected to rule on the constitutionality of Nebraska's ban on partial birth abortion, a ban that nearly 30 other states also have adopted. The ruling will be the court's first major decision on abortion in eight years.