Americans overwhelmingly believe that outlawing abortion would do little to curtail it, and half want the operation to remain legal and unrestricted in early pregnancies, a poll has found.
The Media General-Associated Press poll of 1,108 adults also found broad opposition to Operation Rescue, whose members have been blocking entrances to abortion clinics around the country.With the U.S. Supreme Court poised to reconsider its 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision that legalized abortion during the first three months of pregnancy, 53 percent in the random-sample survey said they favored that landmark ruling.
Moreover, if the court were to reverse itself and let each state make its own abortion laws, 57 percent said they would want abortion legal in their state. Thirty-seven percent would want it illegal and 7 percent were unsure.
The poll posed the issue in a variety of ways because the wording of questions on a sensitive issue can affect the results.
The findings on basic attitudes toward abortion were similar in other recent polls. But in a new finding, large majorities said outlawing abortion would fail to prevent it.
The poll asked: "If abortion were illegal in your state, do you think that would stop most women there who want abortions from having them, or would most of them go to another state where it was legal?" Eighty-seven percent said the women would go to another state.
The poll then asked whether banning abortions nationwide would stop most women from having them, or if those women would have illegal abortions or go to a country where abortion is legal. Seventy-three percent said women would find a way to have abortions.