Majority favor some restrictions on abortion

June 19, 2013, 6:11 PM GMT+0

Americans continue to be divided on abortion, but most favor it being legal with at least some restrictions

Yesterday, a bill banning abortions after 20 weeks passed through the House with the support of the Republican majority. While the bill is expected to fail in the Senate, new research from YouGov shows that the majority of Americans back at least some sort of restriction on abortions.

30% of Americans favor having abortion legal with some restrictions, such as for minors or late-term abortions and 29% prefer that abortions only be legal in special circumstances, such as when the mother's life is in danger.

On the other hand, 18% of Americans believe that abortion should always be legal, while 14% say it should always be illegal.

While the results show no clear consensus, slightly more Americans (48%) favor the two less restrictive policies on abortions, while slightly less (43%) prefer the two more restrictive positions. The overall results were very similar to a 2011 YouGov poll which asked the same questions.

Democrats and Republicans are divided on the issue, with 63% of Democrats preferring the less restrictive options and 63% of Republicans preferring the more restrictives ones.

While party members had opposing views, Republicans and Democrats both tended to prefer the more conditional options (legal with restrictions or legal only in special circumstances) as opposed to more unconditional ones (complete legality or illegality).

Gender did not play much of the role in the results, though women were slightly more likely to favor less restrictions.

While the bill banning abortions after 20 weeks is not expected to be made into law, many consider it unconstitutional under Roe V. Wade, which gives the right to an abortion until the fetus is independently viable, usually around 24 weeks. A dozen states, however, have passed similar bills, based on the controversial assertion that after 20 weeks a fetus can feel pain.

Complete results can be found here.

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