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A new poll from the Knights of Columbus and Marist College is examining the opinions of US adults on abortion. Released in January 2024, the report presents data taken from 1,371 adults between January 8 and 9 that shows high support for abortion restrictions, although the majority of US adults are still in favor of abortion.
When asked whether they considered themselves “pro-choice” or “pro-life,” respondents answered at a rate of 58% and 40% respectively. Responses fell largely within political party lines, with 86% of Democrats citing pro-choice views and 70% of Republicans identifying as pro-life. Registered independent voters were more likely to lean pro-choice (59%) than pro-life (39%)
While support was generally high for abortion, there were also high rates of responses suggesting that abortion should be restricted in a variety of circumstances. Overall, 58% of US adults agreed with one of four abortion restrictions: limiting abortion to just within the first three months; limiting abortion to only cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother; limiting abortion to only save the life of the mother; or the restriction of abortion altogether.
The Marist Poll went on to gauge opinions on taxpayer funding for abortions. The majority of US adults (53%) oppose the use of tax dollars to fund abortion, but those who support such funding are not far behind (46%). This gap, however, was much wider when asked if US tax dollars should help fund abortion in foreign countries. More than two-thirds (67%) of respondents opposed or strongly opposed paying for foreign abortions, with only 30% in favor.
A solid two-in-three (66%) of respondents voiced their support for the conscientious objections of healthcare professionals, with only 33% suggesting doctors and nurses should be legally required to perform abortions. Response rates were similar when asked if patients should be required to attend an in-person examination before the prescription of medical abortion pills, with 61% in favor and 38% opposed.
Rates of support were also low when inquiring about reasons for elective abortions. Fifty-eight percent of respondents opposed or strongly opposed the abortion of a baby diagnosed with Down syndrome. Support was even lower for elective abortions based on the gender of the baby, with 86% opposing and only 14% supporting.
Overall, the vast majority of respondents cited positive views of pregnancy centers (pro-life medical facilities that do not conduct abortions, but provide support for expecting mothers), with 83% in favor of pregnancy centers and only 16% opposed. Responses were nearly the same when asked if it is possible for laws to protect both the mother and child, for which 86% said that laws can protect both, while 13% said laws must choose between the two.