7 in 10 Americans oppose new laws to restrict abortion

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Seven in ten Americans oppose new laws to further restrict abortion, according to a national poll commissioned by NARAL Pro-Choice America.

Unlike other polls on the issue, which simply ask whether respondents support or oppose choice, the NARAL survey posed three questions: “I believe having an abortion is morally acceptable and should be legal”; “I am personally against abortion for myself and my family, but I don’t believe government should prevent a woman from making that decision for herself”; and “I believe having an abortion is morally wrong and should be illegal.”

About 45 percent of respondents chose the second response, agreeing that they would not personally have an abortion but don’t support the enactment of further restrictions on abortion for others.

Pro-choice advocates said the survey proves their long-held contention that laws imposing increasingly severe restrictions on women’s reproductive choices are unpopular, even among voters who may not identify as “pro-choice.”

Drew Lieberman, president of the Greenberg Quinlan Rosner research firm, which conducted the survey, told Politico that traditional polling forces people into “artificial categories.” He said “almost half the population is in the gray area,” believing abortion is morally wrong yet opposing efforts to outlaw it.

NARAL Pro-Choice America is trying to elect more people in Congress who reflect the public’s stance on choice. Although seven in ten Americans oppose further restrictions on abortion, just four in 10 members of the House of Representatives share that view, according to NARAL. The corresponding number among governors is only three in 10.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is a staunch opponent of choice who eliminated all state funding for Planned Parenthood in an effort to shut the organization down. The vast majority of Planned Parenthood’s services in the state, however, focus on cancer and STD testing for poor women, along with contraceptive support.