Poll: Over Half of Americans ‘Pro-Choice’

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by David Nussman  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  January 24, 2020   

But most of them oppose unfettered abortion

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WASHINGTON (ChurchMilitant.com) - As the March for Life gets underway in Washington, D.C., a new poll suggests many Americans who call themselves "pro-choice" actually favor some pro-life measures.

In the Marist poll published this week, 55% of respondents identified as "pro-choice," 40% called themselves pro-life, and 5% were unsure.

Among those surveyed as a whole, 70% favored restricting the murder of unborn children, with only 21% wanting abortion totally unfettered.

But among "pro-choice" respondents specifically, nearly half (47%) favored some form of "restrictions," with 35% supporting abortion only during the first trimester.

Pro-lifers believe the survey highlights how ambiguous the term "pro-choice" is.

Carl Anderson, head of Catholic fraternal organization Knights of Columbus, remarked, "The fact that such large numbers of Americans who identify as 'pro-choice' nevertheless support restrictions and the revisiting of Roe v. Wade shows how misleading it is to conflate the term 'pro-choice' with support for the radically pro-abortion position that calls for unrestricted abortion."

The Knights of Columbus sponsored and helped fund the Marist poll.


Pollsters contacted 1,237 Americans 18 and older throughout the continental United States, interviewing them by telephone Jan. 7–12.

Six-in-ten respondents were opposed to taxpayer funding for abortion. Likewise, just over half (52%) of those surveyed were in favor of requiring an ultrasound the day before an abortion.

Nearly two-thirds (65%) of those surveyed were opposed to aborting babies with Down syndrome, including 50% of "pro-choice" respondents.

The poll asked people what they think the U.S. Supreme Court should do about Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that broadly legalized abortion nationwide. Close to half (46%) said the U.S. Supreme Court should let states have their own regulations, 33% wanted the high court to make abortion legal "without restriction at any time," and 16% called for making abortion illegal.

Nearly two-thirds (65%) of those surveyed were opposed to aborting babies with Down syndrome, including 50% of 'pro-choice' respondents.

The survey comes as both sides of the abortion debate are watching the Supreme Court closely. 

At the start of the new year, hundreds of members of Congress signed two opposing briefs to the high court, weighing in on June Medical Services, LLC v. Gee, which deals with a Louisiana state law requiring abortionists to have admitting privileges at a local hospital. The requirement could cause two of Louisiana's three abortion mills to close up shop for good.

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Supreme Court Justices of the United States

The pro-life brief, signed by mostly Republicans, supported Louisiana's pro-life measures and asked the justices to reconsider Roe v. Wade. The other brief, signed by mostly Democrats, insisted that so-called abortion rights be protected.

Three years ago, the Supreme Court struck down a law in Texas similar to the one in Louisiana now being considered. But some argue that's no guarantee the Louisiana law will be overturned as well.

Judge Andrew Napolitano told Fox News in October that the current crop of justices may rule differently "because we have a change in the membership on the Supreme Court, and it is probably — I don't know this to be so, but probably — more pro-life."

Since taking office in 2016, President Donald Trump has appointed two justices to the nation's highest court: Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.

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