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abortion
(05/11/06) -

Americans Back Abortion in Specific Cases

(Angus Reid Global Scan) – Many adults in the United States think pregnancy termination should occasionally be allowed, according to a poll by Harris Interactive. 53 per cent of respondents favour permitting a woman to have an abortion in some circumstances.

(Angus Reid Global Scan) – Many adults in the United States think pregnancy termination should occasionally be allowed, according to a poll by Harris Interactive. 53 per cent of respondents favour permitting a woman to have an abortion in some circumstances.

Conversely, 24 per cent of respondents think abortion should be legal in all circumstances, while 20 per cent believe the procedure should never be performed.

The 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling gave American women the right to an abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy, and regulated the procedure during the second trimester “in ways that are reasonably related to maternal health.” In the third trimester, a state can choose to proscribe abortion, except when necessary “for the preservation of the life or health of the mother.”

In February, the South Dakota Legislature passed a bill that makes performing an abortion a crime unless the procedure is deemed necessary to save a woman’s life, and makes no exception for cases of incest or rape. In March, South Dakota governor Mike Rounds signed the bill into law. The legislation—which is scheduled to take effect on Jul. 1—is expected to be blocked by the courts, since it openly defies the Roe v. Wade ruling.

Opponents of the South Dakota law announced they intend to challenge the abortion ban by forcing a statewide vote. The group must gather the signatures of 16,728 registered voters by Jun. 19 to place a repeal initiative on the Nov. 7 ballot. 52 per cent of respondents would oppose a similar law it if was introduced in their state.

Yesterday, Democratic Nevada senator Harry Reid and Democratic New York senator Hillary Rodham Clinton criticized the Republican Party for its policies on the topic of birth control. Rodham Clinton declared, “In order to decrease the number of unintended pregnancies and to decrease the number of abortions we must make contraception more accessible and more affordable. We are calling on our colleagues to work with us to put prevention first.”

Polling Data

In general, do you favour permitting a woman who wants one to have an abortion in all circumstances, some circumstances or no circumstances?

2006

2005

All circumstances

24%

23%

Some circumstances

53%

55%

No circumstances

20%

21%

Not sure

4%

1%

Recently, the South Dakota state legislature passed a law that would ban all abortions, except to save the life of the mother. Would you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose or strongly oppose a similar law if it was introduced in your state?

Strongly support

25%

Somewhat support

19%

Somewhat oppose

17%

Strongly oppose

35%

Not sure / Refused

4%

Source: Harris Interactive
Methodology: Telephone interviews with 1,016 American adults, conducted from Apr. 4 to Apr. 10, 2006. Margin of error is 2 per cent.