Watchwoman on the Wall

FRIDAY, 29 JULY 2011 09:37

A recent Gallup poll on abortion laws passed in state legislatures across the nation found that, for the most part, Americans favor measures that make various restrictions on the procedure. But the survey also found that a majority of Americans do not necessarily favor laws that allow healthcare providers to opt out of providing abortion medication or procedures or laws that bar government funding for abortion providers.

Most significantly, the Gallup pollsters found that 87 percent of Americans would favor a law “requiring doctors to inform patients about certain possible risks of abortion before performing the procedure.” Similarly, the survey found that:

— 71 percent would favor a law “requiring women under 18 to get parental consent for any abortion.”

— 69 percent would favor a measure “requiring women seeking abortions to wait 24 hours before having the procedure done.”

— 64 percent would support a measure making it illegal for a doctor to perform a late-term “partial birth abortion”— except when necessary “to save the life of the mother.”

— 50 percent would support a law “requiring women seeking an abortion to be shown an ultrasound image of her fetus at least 24 hours before the procedure.”

But while the survey showed that a majority of Americans embrace solidly pro-life views, on two questions that majority appeared to shift, with 51 percent indicating that they would be opposed to a measure “allowing pharmacists and health providers to opt out of providing medicine or surgical procedures that result in abortion,” and 57 percent saying they would oppose a law “prohibiting health clinics that provide abortion services from receiving any federal funds.”

Commenting on the study, Gallup senior editor Lydia Saad noted that the polling firm “typically finds few differences between men’s and women’s attitudes about the legality of abortion in general,” and consistent with that trend, the latest poll showed “relatively minor gender differences in views about the seven specific restrictions tested.”

Partisan views, however, were much more pronounced, wrote Saad, “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.’”

By contrast, she said, the survey found that “Republicans and Democrats are on opposite sides when it comes to opt-out provisions and withholding federal funds from abortion providers.” That divergence, no doubt, accounted for the slim majorities the survey found opposing those measures — with otherwise pro-life Democrats predictably unable to choose against government force, or the continued bankrolling of Planned Parenthood.

Gallup also found that residents of the states where the abortion restrictions in question have passed “may have views that…

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