Most Americans Support Some Restrictions on Abortion

While most Americans believe abortion should be legal at least some of the time, public support remains for various restrictions on abortion procedures.

Sixty-six percent (66%) favor requiring women under 18 to notify a parent before undergoing the procedure and 62% support spousal notification requirements.

There is also majority support for requiring waiting periods. We used a split sample approach and found that the specific length of the waiting period had little impact on support. Half the sample was asked about a 24-hour waiting period and 63% supported it. The other half was asked about a 72-hour waiting period and 61% supported it (see question wording and crosstab results).

The survey was conducted for on September 20-21, 2018 by HarrisX, a leading research firm specializing in online surveys (see Methodology). The statistical margin of error for the full sample is +/- 3.1 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. For split sample results, the margin of error is +/- 4.5 percentage points.

Forty-seven percent (47%) of voters favor banning abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy while 40% opposed such a ban. When the poll question wording was changed to asking about banning abortions in the third trimester, the support and opposition did no significantly change.

Data released earlier showed 52% believe abortion should be legal all or most of the time while 48% believe it should be legal only in rare circumstances or never. However, 59% believe it is morally wrong most of the time.

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The current survey found support for a balanced approach to the idea of mandatory pre-abortion counseling and information sessions. Most voters supported the idea of requiring counseling from a physician before a woman can get an abortion. And more voters supported rather than opposed even requiring church and religiously-oriented pregnancy centers to provide information about abortion access to patients.

Finally, most respondents believe their states offer counseling that is either objective or leans in favor of not having an abortion.

Data presented by is intended to enhance the public dialogue through data-driven analysis that explores the underlying currents of public opinion (read About Us and review all of our recent data releases).

Neither Scott Rasmussen nor has any relationship with Rasmussen Reports® (see About Us).

Posted in Poll Results

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