Human Rights

Eye opening Marist poll exposes Americans complex beliefs about abortion

pro-lifers, Thanksgiving, pro-life sidewalk counselors

March for Life 2013.

The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion is a survey research center that conducts independent research on public priorities, elections, and a wide variety of social issues. MIPO creates polls that are recognized throughout the world for their reliability and accuracy. The Marist College Institute just released the results of their January 2014 poll sponsored by the Knights of Columbus, titled, “Abortion in America.” The poll results came from a survey of 2,001 adults residing in the United States. The adults were selected randomly by their landline telephone numbers and various regions of the country were represented.

The survey questions covered abortion related topics such as abortion restrictions, protecting women’s rights and freedom of religion. The results that were gathered give us an interesting window into the way Americans view the issue of abortion.

The Marist Poll results show that 46% of Americans identify as pro-life and 50% consider themselves pro-choice. When a follow up question was asked questioning the strength of those positions three in ten Americans or 29% said they were strongly pro-life and 27% consider themselves strong pro-choice. Interestingly enough a majority of Americans, 44% don’t consider themselves strongly positioned on either side of the issue.

I wasn’t surprised to discover 84% of Americans believe abortion should be restricted to the first three months of pregnancy, in cases of rape, incest and to save the life of the mother. 28% of those interviewed believed abortion should only be allowed during the first three months of a pregnancy. The number of Americans that believe abortion should only be allowed during the first three months has gone up in this poll from 26% in 2009 to 28% in 2014.

When it comes to the highest court in the land almost three quarters or 73% of pro-life Americans would like the U.S. Supreme Court to rule to allow restrictions they support. Even 57% of pro-choice Americans who desire some restrictions on abortion think the U.S. Supreme Court should rule to allow them.

One of the questions on the survey was;
Which statement comes closer to your view: One, it is possible to have laws which protect both the health and well-being of a woman and the life of the unborn; or two, it is necessary for laws to choose to protect one and not the other?

91% of pro-life Americans and 79% of pro-choice Americans believe it’s possible to have laws that seek to protect the health and well being of a woman and the life of the unborn.

Although the issue of waiting periods before abortions is often debated the poll shows 83% of Americans who are neither strongly pro-life or pro-choice support a 24 hour waiting period between a woman meeting with a health care professional and having an abortion procedure. 83% of those who don’t identify with a pro-choice or pro-life stand support parental notification for women who are underage.

Even among those who believe abortion should be legal a surprising 62% or more than 6 in 10 Americans believe abortion is morally wrong. This may be because 68% of Americans interviewed believe life begins within the first three months and 53% believe it begins at conception.

One of the final interview questions was this,

“In the long run, do you believe having an abortion improves a woman’s life, or in the long run, do you believe abortion does more harm than good to a woman?”

They found 93% of strongly pro-life Americans believe abortion does more harm than good in the long run. Nearly 6 in 10 or 58% of those in the middle and one in five strongly pro-choice Americans who agree.

The poll shows us that the pro-life movement is making progress, but we must continue working hard to show Americans the truth about abortions devastating impact on our society.

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