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abortion
(03/24/06) -

Life Begins at Conception for 50% of Americans

(Angus Reid Global Scan) – Many adults in the United States hold definitive views on the topic of abortion, according to a poll by Zogby Interactive for Associated Television News and The O’Leary Report. 50 per cent of respondents think life begins at conception, while 19 per cent believe it actually starts at birth.

(Angus Reid Global Scan) – Many adults in the United States hold definitive views on the topic of abortion, according to a poll by Zogby Interactive for Associated Television News and The O’Leary Report. 50 per cent of respondents think life begins at conception, while 19 per cent believe it actually starts at birth.

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.”

On Feb. 22, 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. On Mar. 6, 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.

U.S. president George W. Bush signed a federal restriction on partial birth late term abortions in November 2003, but the law was immediately challenged by U.S. District Court judge Richard Kopf, who issued a temporary restraining order. The law seeks to ban a type of procedure in which a fetus is partially delivered. 59 per cent of respondents believe abortion ends a human life, while 29 per cent disagree.

Polling Data

Which of the following best describes when you think life begins?

At conception

50%

At 3 months

9%

At 6 months

8%

At birth

19%

Not sure

14%

Do you agree or disagree that abortion ends a human life?

Agree

59%

Disagree

29%

Not sure

12%

Source: Zogby Interactive / Associated Television News / The O’Leary Report
Methodology: Online interviews with 30,117 respondents in the 48 contiguous U.S. states, conducted from Mar. 10 to Mar. 14, 2006. Margin of error is 0.6 per cent.

Complete Poll (PDF)