New Poll Finds that New Yorkers Support Waiting Period and Parental Consent, Think City Abortion Rate Too High

By Dave Andrusko

A comprehensive 53-question survey taken in February demonstrates that even New Yorkers are shocked by the number of abortions taking place in New York City, particularly in the African-American community, and support a 24-hour waiting period and parental consent before a minor under the age of 18 can have an abortion.

These seemingly counter-intuitive results were released Tuesday by the New York City-based Chiaroscuro Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that supports alternatives to abortion.

The numbers in the poll are remarkably revealing, beginning with how little the average New Yorker knows about abortion in his or her own city.

For example, an overwhelming majority  (81%) were completely unaware of New York City’s inordinately high abortion ratio– a full 41% of viable pregnancies in New York City are now aborted, nearly twice the national average of 22%, according to the latest New York City Health Department statistics. 

A staggering 60% of African-American pregnancies in New York City were aborted in 2009, the most recent year for which data is available

The survey of 800 likely voters in New York City, conducted by McLaughlin & Associates from February 8-10, found

* More than half of city residents surveyed (51%) would support a 24-hour waiting period before an abortion  can take place;

* 63% of city residents support parental consent before a minor girl  under the age of 18 can have an abortion.

* Two-thirds of New Yorkers (64%) – including 57% of pro-choice women – think too many abortions are taking place in New York City every year;

* Almost three-quarters of New Yorkers (74%) think too many African-American pregnancies are being terminated in the city, according to the poll

“When New Yorkers learn how many abortions are taking place in their city every year, they are shocked,” said Greg Pfundstein, Executive Director of the Chiaroscuro Foundation.  

Earlier this month, the Chiaroscuro Foundation launched a citywide public awareness campaign on New York City’s 41% abortion ratio, running bus signs across the city reading: “41% of Viable Pregnancies Terminated in NYC.  We Need a New Strategy, Mr. Mayor.” It has also written a letter to  Mayor Michael Bloomberg requesting public discussion on the issue.  The Foundation has not received a response.

The Bronx has the highest abortion-to-live-births ratio with  48%. More than 900,000 pregnancies in the city ended in abortion- nearly one-eighth of the entire city population of just over 8 million– in a 10-year period beginning in 2000. 

“We fully understand that the Mayor is a pro-choice politician,” Mr. Pfundstein said .  “But this survey shows that concern over the city’s alarming abortion ratio straddles the pro-choice and pro-life camps.  No matter how one feels about the legality of abortion, the city’s abortion ratio is a public health crisis that deserves attention.  We remain hopeful that Mayor will address it.”

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