Poll: Majority of Americans Support Abortion Ban After 20 Weeks

Thursday, 25 Jul 2013 01:26 PM

By Courtney Coren

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More than half of Americans favor imposing limits on abortions after the first 20 weeks of pregnancy rather than the 24-week mark established by the Supreme Court, a new poll finds.

According to the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll,
56 percent of Americans say they want either limited or an outright ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. However, 54 percent say they do not want states to implement laws making it more difficult for abortion clinics to function, while 45 percent would support such legislation.

The nationwide poll of 1,002 adults conducted July 18-21 also found that 66 percent of respondents would like abortion laws determined by the Constitution and not by state legislatures.

The survey also revealed that support for legal abortion still remains strong, with 55 percent saying they support it compared to 41 percent saying it should be illegal in most or all cases. Another 10 percent said it should be outlawed or limited to less than 20 weeks.

The survey also highlighted the role religion plays in determining views on abortion.

Sixty-six percent of white evangelical Protestants, for example, oppose abortion in most or all cases, while the same percentage of white nonevangelicals support it. Among respondents who professed no religious affiliation, 73 percent support abortion in most or all cases. Catholics were nearly evenly split on the issue.

The survey comes at a time when state legislators and Washington lawmakers are trying to pass laws that would ban abortions earlier than the 24-week mark established under the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which allows abortions to take place up until a fetus is considered viable outside of the womb.

Doctors usually define that threshold at about 24 weeks of gestation.

At least six states now prohibit abortions after 20 weeks, while a growing number have restricted abortion by initiating tougher, hospital-like standards on women's clinics.

The Post/ABC survey shows that while most respondents support a ban on abortion earlier than 24 weeks, they do not want severe restrictions placed on abortion clinics.

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