By Dave Andrusko
As you would expect from National Right to Life, NRLC studies polling data on abortion with exquisite care. But because the nation’s largest and most effective pro-life organization knows that most people don’t have time to peruse the data in depth, abortion polling numbers can seem like a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.
That is one reason NRLC commissioned the Polling Company to ask a series of questions of 1,000 adults. Conducted February 28 through March 3, the results show that the public opinion is gradually moving back to where it was prior to the latter part of 2012.
Today we’ll talk about responses to two separate questions: self-identification and the circumstances which people would (or would not) proscribe abortion. NRL News Today will discuss other dimensions of a most revealing poll in the days to come.
First, “on the issue of abortion, do you consider yourself to be pro-life or pro-choice?” 47% of the respondents said pro-life versus 49% who said pro-choice. This is better than numbers immediately following the 2012 elections but slightly worse than they were in early 2012 when 50% self-identified as pro-life. There is every reason to believe that there will be a return to the recent trend of a self-identified pro-life majority.
Second, there were a series of questions designed to determine under which circumstances the respondent would prohibit abortion. They were asked, “Which of the following statements best describes your own position on the issue of abortion?”
Abortion should be prohibited in all circumstances: 11%
Abortion should be legal only to save the life of the mother: 14%
Abortion should be legal only to save the life of the mother, or in cases of rape or incest: 28%
Abortion should be legal for any reason but not after the first three months of pregnancy: 20%
Abortion should be legal for any reason but not after the first 6 months of pregnancy: 10%
Abortion should be legal for any reason at any time during a woman’s pregnancy: 12%
If you add the top three categories together (11% + 14% +28%), 53% oppose the reasons more than 90% of abortions are performed in the United States. Put another way, only 12% agree with President Obama.
But if you go further—add to this 53% the 20% who say abortion should not be legal past the first three months—and you have 73% who would likely be receptive to a law such as the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. Now on the books in eight states, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act builds upon the scientific evidence that the preborn child can experience pain by the 20th week post fertilization to prohibit abortions after that juncture in fetal development.
More from this poll in coming days.