Polls: Americans favor abortion bans after 20 weeks

posted at 8:01 am on July 25, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

A month ago, a poll from National Journal showed that Americans generally supported bans on abortion after the 20-week gestation mark, including half of all women.  Results from two of the most recent national polls published today corroborate that finding.  First, the ABC/Washington Post poll shows that overall majority support for abortion has barely budged over the 18-year series, but that  2-1 majority supports laws banning late-term abortions at 20 weeks — even when given an option to make it 24 weeks:

At the same time, reflecting underlying unease with abortion, more say it should be legal without limitation only up to 20 weeks (as in some recent state laws), as opposed to about 24 weeks, as the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the landmark Roe v. Wade case; the division is 56-27 percent (an additional 8 percent volunteer that it should never be legal).

Supporters of legal abortion divide fairly closely on the 20- vs. 24-week issue, with 49 percent supporting the former and 42 percent favoring the latter. On the other hand, not surprisingly, preference for the shorter option rises to 69 percent among those who oppose legal abortion, with an additional 18 percent of them saying the procedure never should be legal.

Is this evidence of a “war on women”?  Not exactly.  A majority of women surveyed supported a ban at 24 weeks, but an even larger majority supported a ban at 20 weeks:

In another example of the complexity of views on abortion, while similar numbers of men and women support legal abortion, women are more likely than men to oppose state laws restricting clinics (58 vs. 50 percent), but also are more apt to prefer a 20- to a 24-week unrestricted rule (60 vs. 53 percent).

The latest NBC/WSJ poll didn’t find majorities supporting a ban after 20 weeks, but it did find a plurarity:

As Republican-led legislatures have worked to restrict abortion in many states, a plurality of Americans say they support efforts to ban abortions after 20 weeks, assuming the mother’s life isn’t in immediate danger, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

Forty-four percent of respondents said they support banning abortions taking place 20 weeks or more after fertilization, while 37 percent oppose it. Twelve states have passed laws restricting abortions after that time, most recently in Texas after a high-profile debate. That battle featured a lengthy filibuster by Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis who attracted national attention for her efforts but did not stop the eventual passage of the law.

Even nearly one in five who call themselves abortion rights supporters are in favor of a ban after 20 weeks.

“Some commentators have used the 20-week ban debate as an example of cultural overreach,” said Republican pollster Bill McInturff who conducted the survey with Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart . “Instead, with a robust argument on both sides, we find a plurality of American supporting a late-term abortion ban.”

Once again, women lead the pro-life sentiment in relation to late-term abortions:

The Journal/NBC poll showed a complexity of views on the bans. More women than men supported the state bans, 46% to 40%. Even college-educated women, a group that strongly supports abortion rights, tipped toward favoring the 20-week restrictions. Among that group, 62% said abortion should be legal, but only 40% opposed the 20-week bans, compared with 44% who backed a ban at 20 weeks.

While the WaPo/ABC poll found a majority in support of overall abortion rights, though, the NBC/WSJ found a virtually even split at 49/48 in favor.  It also found an intensity gap that favors the pro-life cause:

There is a striking divide when it comes to intensity. Among those who believe abortion legislation should be a high priority for state and federal lawmakers, a combined 70 percent say abortion should be illegal in all or most cases.  And among those who think it should be a low priority, 65 percent say it should be legal either always or most of the time.

If I had to wager a guess, I’d say the intensity gap has developed over the increasing clarity of what abortion is and does.  The Gosnell trial made that much more clear, for instance, and the increasing awareness of the science of human life has eroded the whole “clump of cells” fantasy rationalization that allowed people to turn a blind eye to the practice.


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If it saves “just one life”….

TM

ted c on July 25, 2013 at 8:02 AM

For the children…..

ted c on July 25, 2013 at 8:03 AM

Heading in the right direction…

Electrongod on July 25, 2013 at 8:04 AM

Gosnell trial, huh?

All I hear about in the press and on the news is Trayvon and that pink shoed lady..

theblacksheepwasright on July 25, 2013 at 8:05 AM

Does Windy Davis know about this? Because she clearly hates children.

Happy Nomad on July 25, 2013 at 8:05 AM

Just don’t tell the NPR crowd. Shhh

aryeung on July 25, 2013 at 8:07 AM

Heading in the right direction…

Electrongod on July 25, 2013 at 8:04 AM

True enough but here in VA an even better step in the right direction occurred earlier this month when the busiest abortion factory in the state was forced to close because they couldn’t make the required upgrades to their facility. Upgrades that would have required them to meet the same standards necessary to get a wart removed.

Happy Nomad on July 25, 2013 at 8:09 AM

How in the world is it that we consistently see evidence that the majority have their heads screwed on halfway right and yet we’re stuck in lalaland?

Cleombrotus on July 25, 2013 at 8:10 AM

There is hope for America yet.

gophergirl on July 25, 2013 at 8:10 AM

Just don’t tell the NPR crowd. Shhh

aryeung on July 25, 2013 at 8:07 AM

National Panhandling Radio should also be terminated.

Happy Nomad on July 25, 2013 at 8:10 AM

Liberals love polls, but I imagine this is one they’d like to ignore.

Liam on July 25, 2013 at 8:11 AM

Democrats gotta hate this poll…..it shows their WAR ON unborn WOMEN is not that popular.

But then again, back in Drive-thru America……Mom is fretting that Bailey is going to get spit up on her new outfit, Maddie is going to spill her kids milk and Thane is not going to eat his whole McGriddle…..poll? What poll? Sure, abortion yeah bad…….ahhhhh, Bailey not again……I gotta go sorry…..and she drives off to her busy life.

PappyD61 on July 25, 2013 at 8:12 AM

I think the numbers would be higher if they said 5 MONTHS instead of 20 weeks.

conservative pilgrim on July 25, 2013 at 8:13 AM

Imagine if a majority of Americans had been made aware of the abortion(really infanticide) record of their current President back when he was running for office.

Doughboy on July 25, 2013 at 8:14 AM

Happy Nomad on July 25, 2013 at 8:10 AM

Just the other day they were concern reporting about the difference between 20 weeks of fertilization and 20 weeks of implantation.

aryeung on July 25, 2013 at 8:15 AM

hardest hit…Wendy Davis

workingclass artist on July 25, 2013 at 8:16 AM

I think the numbers would be higher if they said 5 MONTHS instead of 20 weeks.
conservative pilgrim on July 25, 2013 at 8:13 AM

Yeah

aryeung on July 25, 2013 at 8:17 AM

What other decision does a woman make that necessitates five months? Seems like with all of the online tools they can calculate the WIC, food stamp, housing, EIC, baby’s daddy’s dope money, etc. much quicker than that…

hillsoftx on July 25, 2013 at 8:18 AM

hardest hit…Wendy Davis

workingclass artist on July 25, 2013 at 8:16 AM

Not really. If forced into a discussion of this poll, many liberals would keep Davis on a pedestal and say the women opposing infanticide after five months are unenlightened rubes brainwashed by the extreme right-wing patriarchy.

Liam on July 25, 2013 at 8:18 AM

It’s great that a clear majority is against this atrocity but the fact that even 27% think it is okay to murder a baby disgusts and bewilders me.

nyclakerfan on July 25, 2013 at 8:18 AM

A month ago, a poll from National Journal…

I stopped reading right there. National Journal polls are garbage. Stop giving the credence.

NotCoach on July 25, 2013 at 8:20 AM

Liberals love polls, but I imagine this is one they’d like to ignore.

Liam on July 25, 2013 at 8:11 AM

…yep!…it was the first thing you hear on the networks…and the headlines in our morning papers!…if the numbers had been the other way….24/7!

KOOLAID2 on July 25, 2013 at 8:30 AM

If a woman’s life is in danger past 20 weeks, maternal-fetal medicine is good enough that what happens is an emergency c-section, with the baby sent straight to the NICU.

This isn’t 1972 anymore. We can spot pre-eclampsia (eclampsia being the usual life-endangering complication) and have the mother taking steps long before her life could be in danger. If the baby has to come out before he’s done, the NICU is likely to support him until he can come home. The only reason to have an abortion after 20 weeks involves a scenario where the mother has decided she doesn’t want the baby anymore.

Sekhmet on July 25, 2013 at 8:30 AM

Just the other day they were concern reporting about the difference between 20 weeks of fertilization and 20 weeks of implantation.

aryeung on July 25, 2013 at 8:15 AM

I guess I’m not surprised. For whatever reason, the left wants to give bar sluts as much time as possible to kill of the life growing within.

Happy Nomad on July 25, 2013 at 8:31 AM

This isn’t 1972 anymore. We can spot pre-eclampsia (eclampsia being the usual life-endangering complication) and have the mother taking steps long before her life could be in danger. If the baby has to come out before he’s done, the NICU is likely to support him until he can come home. The only reason to have an abortion after 20 weeks involves a scenario where the mother has decided she doesn’t want the baby anymore.

Sekhmet on July 25, 2013 at 8:30 AM

No, apparently this is 1962. There has been no advances in terms of civil rights. Women are still facing “back alley abortions.” The poor is still downtrodden without a safety net. Etc.

Happy Nomad on July 25, 2013 at 8:33 AM

While I don’t take polls with more than a grain of salt,I’d like seeing one with the question, “Do you believe abortion clinics should be held to the same standards of care and cleanliness as hospitals and other clinics?”

Liberal heads would probably explode just at the question.

Liam on July 25, 2013 at 8:39 AM

I think the numbers would be higher if they said 5 MONTHS instead of 20 weeks.

conservative pilgrim on July 25, 2013 at 8:13 AM

Agreed…but most parents look forward to that “20 week sonogram” where there is an actual baby in there.

monalisa on July 25, 2013 at 8:40 AM

While I don’t take polls with more than a grain of salt,I’d like seeing one with the question, “Do you believe abortion clinics should be held to the same standards of care and cleanliness as hospitals and other clinics?”

Liberal heads would probably explode just at the question.

Liam on July 25, 2013 at 8:39 AM

No, this is the concept that causes liberals to put on comfortable shoes, strap on a catheter, and make themselves annoying.

I honestly don’t understand how stupid worthless people like Windy Davis can argue that the standards of Kermit Gosnell’s “clinic” are good enough.

Happy Nomad on July 25, 2013 at 8:43 AM

The Gosnell trial made that much more clear, for instance, and the increasing awareness of the science of human life has eroded the whole “clump of cells” fantasy rationalization that allowed people to turn a blind eye to the practice

…think of how the poll would read …if the MSM had “actually COVERED” the Gosnell trial…with its “usual” intensity!

KOOLAID2 on July 25, 2013 at 8:46 AM

I honestly don’t understand how stupid worthless people like Windy Davis can argue that the standards of Kermit Gosnell’s “clinic” are good enough.

Happy Nomad on July 25, 2013 at 8:43 AM

Because they’re stupid and worthless to begin with?

We have one troll here who isn’t bothered by that alleged 5% (as he claims) of bad clinics. Another cares more about his basil plants than for the life of an unborn child.

Moral inversion and derangement abound.

Liam on July 25, 2013 at 8:50 AM

…think of how the poll would read …if the MSM had “actually COVERED” the Gosnell trial…with its “usual” intensity!

KOOLAID2 on July 25, 2013 at 8:46 AM

If only Gosnell had been a Romney supporter or a white Hispanic.

Happy Nomad on July 25, 2013 at 8:51 AM

If only Gosnell had been a Romney supporter or a white Hispanic.

Happy Nomad on July 25, 2013 at 8:51 AM

Are you kidding? Sharpton would have been there at warp speed fifteen years ago to protest the white interloper committing genocide of black babies.

Liam on July 25, 2013 at 8:53 AM

I wonder how many of these 20 week abortions are sex selective, Down’s syndrome babies, and babies with surgically treatable malformations like cleft palate and club foot.

bitsy on July 25, 2013 at 8:56 AM

Liam on July 25, 2013 at 8:53 AM

…every member of the CBC would have chained themselves to the doors…for the cameras

KOOLAID2 on July 25, 2013 at 8:57 AM

Are you kidding? Sharpton would have been there at warp speed fifteen years ago to protest the white interloper committing genocide of black babies.

Liam on July 25, 2013 at 8:53 AM

You’re right! What was I thinking? ;0

Happy Nomad on July 25, 2013 at 9:06 AM

hardest hit…Wendy Davis

workingclass artist on July 25, 2013 at 8:16 AM

Davis over the last three weeks seems to have gained a growing awareness that while she’s set herself up as a shoo-in to be elected the next mayor of San Francisco with her militant stance, outside of possibly the city of Austin she and the acts of her supporters have made Wendy’s hopes in 2014 far more problematic, either to run for statewide office or to retain her Fort Worth area state Senate seat.

Davis’ problem, and others on the left, is that while they love to stick it in pro-lifers faces that the advancement of science and technology have made it tougher to stop ‘day after’ abortions, via methods like the RU-486 pill, they still want to pretend at the other end that it’s 1973, and that the scientific advancements in both allowing premature babies to live normal lives and showing via 3-D imaging that a fetus at 20 weeks is not just “a clump of cells” and looks and acts like a baby (including feeling pain). They can’t deal with modern medicine lowering the date for survivability and as a result, can only lash out when forced to debate 20 or 24-week abortion bans because they no longer can use their 40-year-old arguments.

jon1979 on July 25, 2013 at 9:06 AM

Any day now the democrat party should be making a statement on how the GOP has promoted abortion for decades.

shar61 on July 25, 2013 at 9:16 AM

Any one looking at an ultrasound of a fetus at 20 weeks knows they are looking at a baby. Any one except Obama’s latest nomination for DC Court of Appeals, Nina Pillard, the uber-Abortion-lover who uses language like “presumptive breeders.” She thinks ultrasounds produce deceptive images solely for the purpose of preventing women from killing their babies. This is one sick sick woman, and her confirmation is being given the rush treatment.

itsacookbook on July 25, 2013 at 9:20 AM

2-1 majority supports laws banning late-term abortions at 20 weeks — even when given an option to make it 24 weeks

That is five months folks, why don’t they ask in the survey about 16, or 14 or 12.

Any miscarriage over 16 weeks is a big deal, and traumatic for the mother, I can’t imagine the physical trauma and it’s effects in aboriton.

I am all for chipping away at abortion, but 20 weeks is not chipping. And the laws just passed in Texas regulating abortion like it was any other medical procedure, are not much in the fight against abortion, although the other side will gnash their terrible teeth, roll terrible eyes etc. But yes, if chipping is all we can do then chip away. So should we be chipping away at ObamaCare yet, or does the whole country have to be ruined first? I really don’t know, I am asking.

Fleuries on July 25, 2013 at 9:29 AM

The status quo legally favors the Democrats and their baby killing. All they have to do is to stopper up any laws which would change that status quo.

They aren’t being successful in many states, but they are being successful at the national level. Even the ban on federally funded abortions has been bypassed by Obamacare.

Fleuries on July 25, 2013 at 9:29 AM

20 weeks is indeed chipping. The thought that the aborted child is capable of feeling pain resonates even with some liberals.

This is how the liberals got laws passed which allow public funding of abortions up until full term — by starting with what the Supreme Court described as a private right up to the end of the second trimester — to be exercised privately — and adding funding and exceptions to the trimester rule for health and cases of rape and incest…

The liberal releases the jaws only to take a slightly larger bite, until they have consumed the entire thing. We need to think long term too. A human right to life is not present in this country. We have to manufacture it piece by piece, and starting at the point where the fetus can feel pain is a natural one. Then we can work on “one day before the fetus can feel pain” as the next step.

I’d say a tax exemption beginning at conception for those who declare their child to be a person is another way to go. That way, our type of Choice has tax benefits.

unclesmrgol on July 25, 2013 at 9:49 AM

There is a striking divide when it comes to intensity.

Yeah. It’s a real shock that the overchurched crowd is obsessed.

Moesart on July 25, 2013 at 12:05 PM

But … but … TAMPON EARRINGS!

Pork-Chop on July 25, 2013 at 12:06 PM

obsessed.

Moesart on July 25, 2013 at 12:05 PM

Another roach who has little constructive to say. You so rarely post on any other subject and you’re an idiot .

but that 2-1 majority supports laws banning late-term abortions at 20 weeks

You’re almost alone loser. What a dark soul …

CW on July 25, 2013 at 8:19 PM