3 out of 4 Americans support 'significant restrictions' on abortions, poll shows

(Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)Protesters demonstrate in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.

More than three out of four Americans support significant restrictions on abortions, according to a new survey released just two days before the annual March for Life in Washington.

Marist Poll and the Knights of Columbus released their comprehensive annual survey, which found that 76 percent of Americans support stricter laws on abortion.

Fifty-one percent of the respondents identified themselves as pro-choice, while 44 percent said they were pro-life. A quarter of the respondents who identified as Democrats consider themselves pro-life, as well as 41 percent who identified as Independents.

As many as 60 percent of the respondents support limitations on abortions, including a ban on the procedure after 20 weeks and a ban on the use of tax dollars to pay for them.

Sixty-three percent said they support a ban on abortions after 20 weeks, while 60 percent do not want tax dollars to pay for the procedure. Fifty-four percent said that those with moral objections should not be legally required to provide abortion services or insurance coverage.

Only 12 percent said that women should be allowed to obtain abortions at any time during pregnancy.

Twenty-one percent of Democrats said they support abortion at any stage of pregnancy. However, six in 10 Democrats believe that there should be strict limitations on abortion. Nearly 80 percent of those who identify as independents support similar limitations. Among Republicans, 92 percent said they want significant restrictions on abortions.

"This survey shows clearly that the 'pro-choice' label can no longer be assumed to mean support for abortion on demand," said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson in a statement, according to Life News.

"Nor can abortion be thought of as a partisan issue since majorities of Democrats, Independents and Republicans all agree that it should be substantially restricted. It is high time that our political debates reflected this national consensus and used it as a starting point," he continued.

Fifty-six percent said they consider abortion to be "morally wrong," and 64 percent said they consider it wrong to target unborn babies with disabilities.

In conducting the poll, Marist first asked binary questions, such as whether the respondent was pro-life or pro-choice, before moving on to detailed questions, according to Barbara Carvalho, director of the polling firm.

The survey was conducted among 2,617 American adults during December and January, and has a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.

Almost 80 percent of the respondents believe that it is possible to have laws that would protect both the health of the mother and the life of the unborn child. Over half of Americans think that abortion does more harm than good for a woman in the long run, compared to 30 percent who believe that the procedure improves the woman's life.

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