Gallup: Americans want stricter abortion laws

by Courtney Crandell
Posted 2/10/15, 05:15 pm

Americans aren’t satisfied with the nation’s abortion laws, and it’s not because they’re too strict.

According to a recent Gallup poll, most of the 48 percent of Americans who aren’t happy with current regulations want stricter laws. The poll results surfaced as pro-life Republicans scuttled a vote on a bill that would have banned abortion nationwide after 20 weeks.

Only 34 percent of Americans expressed satisfaction with current laws, the lowest percentage since Gallup started asking the question in 2001. It represents a 4 percent drop from last year.

The decreased satisfaction arises partly from increased Republican dissatisfaction, Gallup reported. Republican satisfaction plummeted from 43 percent in 2008 to 21 percent in 2015, an 8 percent decline from last year. Democrats and Independents have, on average, remained more satisfied than Republicans over the past four years.

And as the satisfaction rate has decreased, the percentage of Americans wanting stricter laws has increased to 24 percent. Just 12 percent of dissatisfied Americans want less restrictive abortion laws. Republican views have especially changed since President Barack Obama took office, while views among Democrats and Independents have largely remained the same.

Gallup conducted the survey just before Reps. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., and Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., introduced the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which was up for a vote on the Roe v. Wade anniversary. To the dismay of many pro-lifers and pro-life organizations, Republican leadership nixed the bill due to concerns from female Republican legislators, especially Reps. Renee Ellmers of North Carolina and Jackie Walorski of Indiana. Instead, the House passed a bill preventing federal funding for abortions.

But pro-life advocates weren’t satisfied.

“I am disgusted by this act of moral cowardice,” said Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. “The congressional Republicans seem to think that pro-lifers will be satisfied with Ronald Reagan rhetoric and Nancy Pelosi results. They are quite wrong.”

National Right to Life President Carol Tobias promised to continue working for a national 20-week abortion ban. Lawmakers who derailed the popular bill may regret sacrificing “the trust of their pro-life constituents so egregiously,” she warned.

Meanwhile, pro-life legislators in Wisconsin, South Carolina, and West Virginia will attempt to pass their own 20-week abortion bans. The bills have gained committee approval in South Carolina and West Virginia. Legislators in Virginia also introduced a 20-week abortion ban, but it failed to pass a sub-committee.

“Rank-and-file Republicans are likely to support bills like this, but many independents and Democrats, both of whom are more likely to be satisfied with current abortion laws, may have issues with new legislation, especially if it makes abortion laws more strict,” Gallup reported.

Courtney Crandell

Courtney is a Virginia journalist. Follow her on Twitter @CourtneyLeeC.

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