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abortion-2
(04/23/06) -

Abortion Availability Splits Views in U.S.

(Angus Reid Global Scan) – Adults in the United States are divided over the proper guidelines for pregnancy termination, according to a poll by CBS News. 29 per cent of respondents believe abortion should be permitted in all cases, while 17 per cent would place greater restrictions on the practice.

(Angus Reid Global Scan) – Adults in the United States are divided over the proper guidelines for pregnancy termination, according to a poll by CBS News. 29 per cent of respondents believe abortion should be permitted in all cases, while 17 per cent would place greater restrictions on the practice.

Conversely, 33 per cent of respondents think abortion should be allowed only in cases of rape, incest or to save a woman’s life, and 14 per cent would only consent to the procedure to save a woman’s life.

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.

Last week, Democratic Nevada senator Harry Reid and Democratic New York senator Hillary Rodham Clinton published an op-ed calling for the use of the morning-after pill—which can be administered within 72 hours of unprotected intercourse to prevent a pregnancy—to curb the number of abortions performed in the U.S. “Ironically, those advocating the loudest for an outright ban on abortion are too often the same people who oppose prevention initiatives,” the senators wrote.

The RU-486 pill—developed in France in the 1980s and used to induce medical abortion after a confirmed pregnancy—has been used in several countries, including Britain and the United States.

Polling Data

What is your personal feeling about abortion?

Apr. 2006

Jan. 2006

It should be permitted in all cases

29%

27%

It should be permitted, but subject to
greater restrictions than it is now

17%

15%

It should be permitted only in cases
such as rape, incest and to save the
woman’s life

33%

33%

It should only be permitted to
save the woman’s life

14%

17%

Not sure

3%

5%

Source: CBS News
Methodology: Telephone interviews with 899 American adults, conducted from Apr. 6 to Apr. 9, 2006. Margin of error is 3 per cent.