By Dave Andrusko
Set against a backdrop of a highly successful state legislative season, Gallup yesterday released a poll showing majority support for five of seven pieces of protective legislation–informed consent, parental consent, a 24-hour waiting period, ultrasound, and a ban on partial-birth abortion. The two proposals that did not attract majority support we will address momentarily.
Here is the exact wording of the questions asked of 1,020 adults between July 15 and July 17 with % in favor shown first–
87 %: “a law requiring doctors to inform patients about certain possible risks of abortion before performing the procedure.”
71 %: “a law requiring women under 18 to get parental consent for any abortion.”
69 %: “a law requiring women seeking abortions to wait 24 hours before having the procedure done.”
64 %: “a law which would make it illegal to perform a specific abortion procedure conducted in the last six months of pregnancy known as a ‘partial birth abortion,’ except in cases necessary to save the life of the mother.”
50 %: “a law requiring women seeking an abortion to be shown an ultrasound image of her fetus at least 24 hours before the procedure.”
These reactions require a couple of additional comments. If you’ve followed National Right to Life News Today, you know every attempt to make “choice” a reality—for example, by alerting women to the risks of abortion and requiring a 24 hour wait—is ferociously opposed by pro-abortionists. As Gallup shows, the public overwhelmingly supports these informed consent proposals.
We also know from many previous polls that when the specifics of a partial-birth abortion are explained to the respondents, the opposition increases. The sheer horror of partial-birth abortions is almost lost in the Gallup question. Even so 64% supported the ban.
Why would the ultrasound question be so close—50% support to 46% opposition? My strong suspicion is because the question’s wording makes it sound as if the laws would force the mother to look. NRLC’s model requires the abortionist to “display” the image so that the mother might view.
51% oppose “a law allowing pharmacists and health providers to opt out of providing medicine or surgical procedures that result in abortion” (46% approve). My guess is the explanation is quite simple. This is a discussion whether to honor the consciences of medical personnel yet the word “conscience” or “protection” is nowhere to be seen!
A recent poll conducted by the polling company, inc. found strong public support across partisan and ideological lines for the conscience protections in the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act H.R. 3, recently passed by the U.S. House of Representatives.
Finally, 57% oppose “a law prohibiting health clinics that provide abortion services from receiving any federal funds.” This is a new question to most Americans, on the one hand, and one whose wording (“health clinics”) invites support, on the other hand. The opposition will increase over time especially as the mystique surrounding PPFA evaporates.
In addition, according to Gallup’s Lydia Saad, “[T]he new poll shows relatively minor gender differences in views about the seven specific restrictions tested.” The widest spread is six percent.
By contrast, “Partisan differences are much greater”–Republicans on the whole are much more supportive than Democrats–“although majorities of Democrats as well as most Republicans favor informed consent, parental consent, 24-hour waiting periods, and a ban on ‘partial birth abortion,’” Saad notes.
We can and will build on this consensus.