NRL News

Knights of Columbus Poll shows strong support for protective laws, immorality of abortion, and belief that abortion harms women

by | Jan 24, 2014


By Dave Andrusko

marist-poll-abortion-restrictionsI’m still catching up on all that took place around January 22 and the March for Life. A good place to start today is to look at a very useful poll conducted for the Knights of Columbus by Marist and distributed this week.

The results of a survey of 2,001 adults over 18 can be categorized in a number of ways, all of which are extremely encouraging.

But first just a note about a new Fox News poll as a backdrop to the Marist results.

By a three percentage-point margin, more voters now consider themselves “pro-life” (48 percent) than “pro-choice” (45 percent) on the issue of abortion.

We’ve reported many times on Gallup’s numbers which have shown a stark reversal. Once upon a time self-identified pro-choicers vastly outnumbered their pro-life counterparts—in fact by 56% to 33%!

By May 2012 there was a huge pro-life advantage (50% to 41%). That vanished after two pro-life candidates made hugely insensitive comments in the 2012 election cycle. The Polling Company post election poll found 51% identifying as pro-choice and 43% as pro-life. The Resurgent America post election poll found 49% identifying as pro-choice and 43% as pro-life

But in May 2013 Gallup found the same exact spread that Marist found this last December: 48% calling themselves pro-life and 45% describe themselves as pro-choice.

As we’ve pointed out repeatedly, the underlying dynamics have not changed. We see that self-identification on abortion continues to move back in a pro-life direction. There is no reason to believe the advantage won’t continue to grow.

Back to the Knights of Columbus poll and how to categorize its results:

  • When abortion should be legally available
  • Morality of abortion
  • Support for protective laws
  • Mother or child or both
  • When life begins
  • Abortion hurts/helps women

Availability: National Right to Life’s own polling confirms what Gallup has been finding in more recent years. A majority of the public opposes the reasons almost all abortions are performed.

The Marist poll comes to the same conclusion. They note that 84% of Americans believe abortion should restricted—within the first three months (28%) of pregnancy, in cases of rape, incest (33%) , or to save the life of the mother—or never be permitted (11%).

If you look at the chart and add together options #4-6 (33% + 12% +11%), you get 56% for the pro-life position.

The Marist poll also looks at people who identify (to various degrees) as “pro-choice.” Eight percent who “strongly support pro-choice” say that abortion should be allowed only in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother.

But 54% of those who fall into the category of those who “sometimes think of self as pro-choice” would limit abortion to those three categories.

Morality: Asked “Regardless of whether or not you think it should be legal, do you believe that, in general, abortion is morally acceptable or morally wrong?,” 62% say morally wrong to only 36% who responded morally acceptable.

Click here to read the January issue of National Right to Life News, the “pro-life newspaper of record.”

Limitations: In some ways the most important response. If you listen to pro-abortionists, pro-lifers are passing laws that are wildly out of step with public opinion. In truth there is widespread support for long-standing pro-life laws and others that have been passed more recently.

  • 80% support parental notification before an underage daughter is allowed to have an abortion.
  • 79% would require a 24 hour waiting period
  • 74% would ban abortions after 20 weeks/5 months of pregnancy except to save the life of the mother
  • 76% oppose allowing abortions to be performed by non-doctors.
  • 73% support requiring abortions to have hospital admitting privileges
  • 58% support showing a woman an ultrasound image of her baby at least 24 hours before an abortion. And
  • 58% oppose using tax dollars to pay for a woman’s abortion if she cannot afford it.

Mother or child or both: For decades pro-lifers have argued that it is a false (and lethal) dichotomy to pit mothers against their unborn children. Marist asked this intriguing question:

“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 to choose to protect one and not the other.”

A whopping 84% said both—91% of pro-lifers and 79% of pro-choicers shared this view.

When life begins: 54% believes life begins at conception.

Abortion hurts/helps women: After 41 years of Roe v. Wade, I’m not sure what answer I would have anticipated to this question. “In the long run, do you believe having an abortion improves a woman’s life, or in the long run, to you believe abortion does more harm than good to a woman?”

57% said more harm than good to 21% who said abortion improves a woman’s life.

“Four decades after Roe v. Wade, abortion remains at odds with the conscience and common sense of the American people,” Knights of Columbus CEO Carl Anderson said in a press release.

“The American people understand that abortion is bad for everyone, and even those who strongly support abortion want it reduced significantly, so it is time that our lawmakers and our courts reflected this reality.”


Categories: Abortion Polling