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abortion
(04/18/06) -

U.S. Ponders Abortion Rules, South Dakota Law

(Angus Reid Global Scan) – Adults in the United States remain divided over their country’s pregnancy termination guidelines, according to a poll by Bloomberg and the Los Angeles Times. 46 per cent of respondents believe abortion should be legal all or most of the time, while 43 per cent of respondents disagree.

(Angus Reid Global Scan) – Adults in the United States remain divided over their country’s pregnancy termination guidelines, according to a poll by Bloomberg and the Los Angeles Times. 46 per cent of respondents believe abortion should be legal all or most of the time, while 43 per cent of respondents disagree.

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. 58 per cent of respondents disapprove of the South Dakota law.

In April 2005, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act after a 270-157 vote. The bill—sponsored by Florida congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of the Republican Party—seeks punishment for anyone who transports a minor to another state to have an abortion, and is not the minor’s parent or legal guardian. The Senate is expected to bring a similar bill to the floor before the end of this year.

Polling Data

Which comes closest to your view on abortion: Abortion should always be legal, or should be legal most of the time, or should be made illegal except in cases of rape, incest and to save the mother’s life, or abortion should be made illegal without any exceptions?

Always legal

27%

Legal most of the time

19%

Illegal, with exceptions

41%

Always illegal

2%

Don’t know

3%

As you may know, South Dakota adopted a law that would ban all abortions, except to save the life of the mother. Do you approve or disapprove of the South Dakota abortion law? Do you approve or disapprove strongly or only somewhat?

Strongly approve

24%

Somewhat approve

10%

Somewhat disapprove

15%

Strongly disapprove

43%

Don’t know

8%

Source: Bloomberg / Los Angeles Times
Methodology: Telephone interviews with 1,357 American adults, conducted from Apr. 8 to Apr. 11, 2006. Margin of error is 3 per cent.