Communications Department

New Polling Shows Strong Support for Prohibiting Abortion on Pain-Capable Unborn Children

Apr 22, 2013 | 2013 Press Releases

A majority of Americans support prohibiting abortion for sex-selection,
and continue to oppose most abortions

WASHINGTON- New polling from The Polling Company demonstrates strong support for two of the National Right to Life Committee’s legislative priorities. Legislation prohibiting abortion at the point that an unborn baby can feel pain and legislation protecting unborn children from abortion for sex selection were both widely supported in the poll.

Substantial scientific evidence indicates that the unborn child can feel pain by at least 20 weeks, if not earlier. Nine states have passed NRLC model legislation protecting these pain-capable unborn children from elective abortion. Similar legislation which would apply in the District of Columbia will soon be reintroduced in Congress.

The Polling Company found that 64% would support a law such as the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act prohibiting abortion after 20 weeks – when an unborn baby can feel pain – unless the life of the mother was in danger. Only 30% opposed it. Supporters included 47% of those who identified themselves as “pro-choice” in the poll.

“The trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell has greatly increased attention on the violence and pain associated with abortion,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life. “As the truth about abortion becomes clear, we expect a renewed focus on legislation that will protect unborn children from painful abortions.” 

When asked about abortion for sex selection, 85% of poll respondents felt it should be illegal, with only 11% who would allow it.

The widespread use of abortion for sex selection in China and other parts of Asia, and the increasing evidence of sex selection abortions in the United States, has resulted in overwhelming public opposition to this deadly discrimination, which almost always results in the killing of baby girls. Legislation has been introduced in Congress (S. 138, the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act) that would make sex selection abortion illegal nationwide. President Obama came out against the bill last year.

“The American people, whether they consider themselves pro-life or pro-choice, understand that performing elective abortions on pain-capable children has no place in civilized society,” added David O’Steen, Ph.D., executive director of National Right to Life. “Similarly, the vast majority of Americans are opposed to the anti-woman act of killing an unborn baby girl for the crime of being female.”

Additionally, the poll found that that a strong majority continues to oppose using public funds for abortion. 58% opposed using tax dollars to pay for abortion; only 35% supported using tax dollars to pay for abortion.

A majority also continues to oppose the vast majority of abortions that are performed. 11% would prohibit all abortions, 14 % would allow abortion only to save the life of the mother and 28% would allow abortion only in cases of life of mother, rape or incest. This indicates that 53% oppose at least 95% of the abortions that are performed.

20% would allow abortion for any reason, but limit it to the first three months, 10% would allow it for any reason up to six months and 12% throughout pregnancy.

The poll of 1,003 registered voters was conducted February 28-March 3, 2013, and has a margin of error of +/- 3.1%

Founded in 1968, the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the federation of 50 state right-to-life affiliates and more than 3,000 local chapters, is the nation’s oldest and largest grassroots pro-life organization. Recognized as the flagship of the pro-life movement, NRLC works through legislation and education to protect innocent human life from abortion, infanticide, assisted suicide and euthanasia.