Voters Oppose Democrats' Stance on Abortion

New poll: 77 percent of voters back legislation to protect babies who survive abortions

pro-life rally
Getty Images
February 14, 2019

An overwhelming majority of Americans support congressional action to protect children born alive through failed abortions and oppose efforts to expand late-term abortions.

A new poll released by Susan B. Anthony List on Wednesday indicated that 77 percent of voters favor legislation mandating that children who survive failed abortions are given the same medical treatment as babies born prematurely. The poll, which surveyed 1,000 likely general election voters between Feb. 6-10, also found 62 percent opposed legislation allowing late-term abortions even up to the point of labor.

Support was nearly uniform across gender and political lines, according to the results. Approximately 79 percent of men and 75 percent of women signaled their support for children born alive, while 59 percent of men and 65 percent of women said they were against loosening restrictions on late-term abortions.

Likewise, 86 percent of Republicans, 70 percent of Democrats, and 75 percent of independents endorsed protecting children who survive abortion. On the topic of late-term abortion, however, there was some division along partisan lines with 71 percent of Republicans, 48 percent of Democrats, and 70 percent of independents opposing efforts to make them more accessible.

SBA's findings mirror those previously on record. In 2018, Gallup found only 28 percent of Americans believe abortion should be legal in the second trimester of pregnancy and only 13 percent believe it should be allowed during the third trimester.

"Americans overwhelmingly reject the Democratic Party's extreme agenda of abortion on demand through birth and even beyond," Marjorie Dannenfelser, SBA List's president, said in a statement. "Three in four voters agree babies born alive during a failed abortion should be protected in law, and nearly two-thirds oppose efforts to allow late-term abortion even at the moment of delivery, like those in Virginia and New York."

In January, New York enacted one of the most liberal abortion laws in the nation. Titled the Reproductive Health Act, the legislation removed restrictions on abortion and expanded the practice to upwards of 24 weeks provided a woman's health was deemed to be in danger or if the viability of the child was drawn into question. The law was widely panned by pro-life groups and religious leaders, many of whom argued it codified infanticide.

Members of law enforcement were also opposed on the grounds that removing abortion from the criminal code would eliminate criminal penalties for violence that results in the termination of a pregnancy. That argument proved prophetic over the weekend when prosecutors in New York City were forced to drop abortion charges against a man who fatally stabbed a former girlfriend that was 14-weeks pregnant.

Similarly, legislation considered by the Virginia General Assembly this year would have removed restrictions on third-trimester abortions. The bill, introduced by Democratic delegate Kathy Tran, would have made it easier for women to receive an abortion up to the 40-week mark if at least one doctor certified that carrying the child to term would adversely impact their health. Tran's legislation elicited national controversy and was left in committee when Virginia governor Ralph Northam attempted to defend the measure but inadvertently seemed to endorse infanticide.

"If a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen. The infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that's what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother," Northam said during a radio interview on the topic.

Since those incidents, President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans have made a concerted push for action at the federal level.

In his State of the Union address earlier this month, Trump called on Congress to ban late-term abortion. Simultaneously, Republican senator Ben Sasse (Neb.) and congresswoman Ann Wagner (Mo.) introduced legislation to require medical practitioners to provide children who survive abortion or an attempted abortion with necessary medical care. Both the Sasse and Wagner bills have been continuously blocked by Democrats who have attempted to paint the measures as anti-abortion.

"Democrats' obstruction of compassionate legislation to protect these vulnerable children exposes them as the party of infanticide and shows how radically out of step they are with the American people," Dannenfelser said on Wednesday.