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abortion
(04/29/06) -

U.S. Divided Over Abortion Guidelines

(Angus Reid Global Scan) – Adults in the United States hold differing views on the adequate regulations for pregnancy termination, according to a poll by the polling company. 16 per cent of respondents believe abortion should be prohibited in all circumstances, while 38 per cent would allow the practice only in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother.

(Angus Reid Global Scan) – Adults in the United States hold differing views on the adequate regulations for pregnancy termination, according to a poll by the polling company. 16 per cent of respondents believe abortion should be prohibited in all circumstances, while 38 per cent would allow the practice only in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother.

Conversely, 21 per cent of respondents think abortion should be legal for any reason during the first three months of pregnancy, eight per cent would allow the procedure in the first six months of pregnancy, and 12 per cent would permit it at any time and for any reason.

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.

On Apr. 26, the Louisiana Senate approved a comprehensive ban on abortion, which seeks to outlaw the procedure in all cases, except to save the life of the mother. Democratic senator Joel Chaisson said the bill would probably not win passage in the House, adding, “Unless there’s a rape and incest exception, this law may never go into effect.”

Polling Data

Which of the following statements most closely reflects your position on the issue of abortion?

Abortions should be prohibited in all circumstances

16%

Abortion should be legal only to save the life of the mother

16%

Abortions should only be legal in cases of rape, incest
or to save the life of the mother

22%

Abortions should be legal for any reason, but not after
the first three months of pregnancy

21%

Abortions should be legal for any reason, but not after
the first six months of pregnancy

8%

Abortions should be allowed at any time during a
woman’s pregnancy and for any reason

12%

Don’t know / Refused

6%

Source: the polling company
Methodology: Telephone interviews with 1,000 American adults, conducted on Apr. 13 and Apr. 14, 2006. Margin of error is 3.1 per cent.