Marist Poll: 70% Want Significant Restrictions on Abortion, 55% Would Ban Abortion after 20 Weeks

By Michael W. Chapman | January 22, 2020 | 3:40pm EST

( -- A new Marist Poll shows that 70% of Americans support major restrictions on abortion and 55% of Americans would ban abortion after 20 weeks. 

Among the restrictions backed by Americans are abortion "only during the first three months of pregnancy" (24%); abortion "only in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother" (26%); abortion "only to save the life of the mother" (11%); and abortion "should never be permitted under any circumstance" (9%). 


Only 21% of Americans said that abortion should be "available to a woman any time during her entire pregnancy." Another 9% said it should be allowed "only during the first six months of pregnancy."

“Most Americans want the court to reinterpret Roe either by stopping legalized abortion or by returning the issue to the states,” said Carl Anderson, head of the Knights of Columbus, which sponsored the survey.

Even with Americans who identify as "pro-choice," 35% said they want abortion restricted to the first three months of pregnancy; 10% of pro-choicers support abortion only in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother; and 1% of pro-choicers say abortion should only happen to "save the life of the mother."

Only 36% of pro-choice Americans said abortion should be available at any time during a pregnancy.

"The fact that such large numbers of Americans who identify as pro-choice nevertheless support restrictions and the revisiting of Roe v. Wade shows how misleading it is to conflate the term ‘pro-choice’ with support for radically pro-abortion position that calls for unrestricted abortion,” said Anderson.

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

On Roe v. Wade, the poll asked, "Which comes closest to your view of what the Supreme Court should do when it reconsiders Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling making abortion legal in the United States?"

In response, 46% said Roe should be reinterpreted to "allow certain restrictions on abortions as determined by each state."  Thirty-three percent said the court should "allow abortion to be legal without restriction at any time."

(Marist Poll, K of C.)
(Marist Poll, K of C.)

Also, 16% of Americans said the Supreme Court should "make abortion illegal."

When it comes to voting, 38% of Americans said a presidential candidate's position on abortion is a "major factor" in deciding whether to vote for that candidate. 

In addition, 65% of Americans said they were likely to vote for a candidate who wants significant restrictions on abortion. These restrictions include limiting abortion to the first three months of pregnancy, to cases of rape or incest, to save the life of the mother, and to prohibit abortion under any circumstance. 

(Marist Poll, K of C.)
(Marist Poll, K of C.)

Only 25% of Americans said they were likely to vote for a candidate if he thinks "abortion should be available to a woman any time she wants one during her entire pregnancy." Another 9% said abortion should be limited to the first six months of pregnancy.

In related issues, the Marist poll showed that 52% of Americans believe a woman should have an ultrasound at least 24 hours before she is scheduled to have an abortion. 

Fifty-five percent say abortion should be banned after 20 weeks (5 months) of pregnancy. 

(Marist Poll, K of C.)
(Marist Poll, K of C.)

Sixty-five percent oppose abortion if the child will be born with Down Syndrome; 60% oppose "using tax dollars to pay for a woman's abortion"; and 76% "oppose using tax dollars to support abortions in other countries."

The Marist Poll was sponsored and funded in partnership with the Knights of Columbus. 1,237 Americans aged 18 and older, in the continental United States, were interviewed by telephone Jan. 7-12, 2020. The margin of error is +/- 3.7 percentage points. 

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