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(11/17/07) -

More in U.S. Support Current Abortion Laws

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – Most people in the United States agree with current regulations that make abortion legal during the first three months of pregnancy, according to a poll by Harris Interactive. 56 per cent of respondents favour the guidelines, up seven points since last year.

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – Most people in the United States agree with current regulations that make abortion legal during the first three months of pregnancy, according to a poll by Harris Interactive. 56 per cent of respondents favour the guidelines, up seven points since last year.

A Supreme Court ruling in 1973 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 general, 42 per cent of respondents agree with permitting a woman who wants to have an abortion to do so in all circumstances, while 38 per cent are completely against it. Additionally, 42 per cent of respondents would enact new legislation to make it harder for women to terminate a pregnancy, while 38 per cent want no change to the current provisions on this matter.

On Nov. 14, American religious broadcaster Pat Robertson—who recently endorsed Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani—explained his decision to support a pro-choice politician. Robertson said he believes Giuliani will appoint judges to the Supreme Court who will overturn the 1973 decision, adding, "I think Rudy Giuliani has assured the American people that he’s going to appoint justices in the likeness of (Antonin) Scalia and John Roberts, etc. (…) And he has assured people that, he assured me and others, and I believe him."

In 1992, Scalia said the 1973 Supreme Court ruling was "wrongly decided and should be overturned." Scalia has been a member of the Supreme Court since 1986.

Polling Data

In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that states laws which made it illegal for a woman to have an abortion up to three months of pregnancy were unconstitutional, and that the decision on whether a woman should have an abortion up to three months of pregnancy should be left to the woman and her doctor to decide. In general, do you favour or oppose this part of the U.S. Supreme Court decision making abortions up to three months of pregnancy legal?

 

2007

2006

2005

Favour

56%

49%

52%

Oppose

40%

47%

47%

Not sure

4%

4%

1%

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

 

2007

2006

2005

All circumstances

42%

40%

42%

Some circumstances

16%

15%

13%

No circumstances

38%

40%

42%

Not sure

4%

6%

1%

Do you favour laws that would make it more difficult for a woman to get an abortion, favour laws that would make it easier to get an abortion or should no change be made to existing abortion laws?

 

2007

2006

2005

Making it more difficult to get an abortion

42%

40%

42%

Make it easier to get an abortion

16%

15%

13%

No change

38%

40%

42%

Not sure

4%

6%

1%

Source: Harris Interactive
Methodology: Telephone interviews with 1,052 American adults, conducted from Oct. 16 to Oct. 23, 2007. No margin of error was provided.