(CNSNews.com) – The vast majority of Americans, including those who label themselves pro-choice, favor restrictions on abortion, according to a Marist poll released Tuesday.
The Marist Institute for Public Opinion survey, conducted from Nov. 15 to the 22, questioned the positions of 1,686 U.S. adults on abortion issues, including whether they identified with a “pro-life” or “pro-choice” label. Forty-four percent identified as pro-life, and 51 percent as pro-choice.
The poll, which has been commissioned by the Knights of Columbus annually since 2008, found that 81 percent of Americans, including 82 percent of women and 66 percent of pro-choice supporters, would restrict abortion to - at most - the first three months of pregnancy. This eight in 10 number has been consistent since the survey’s 2008 inception.
Additionally, six in 10 Americans say abortion is "morally wrong," including one-third of pro-choice Americans.
The survey found that 55 percent of Americans would say that abortion ultimately does a woman more harm than good and that 27 percent of Americans who identify as pro-choice share this view.
The poll also found that 61 percent of Americans, including 62 percent of those identifying as pro-choice, supported laws that would ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, except to save the life of the mother.
Sixty-eight percent of Americans oppose taxpayer funding of abortion, according to the survey. This includes 51 percent of those who consider themselves pro-choice. Only three in 10 Americans (29 percent) support it.
The poll touched on religious freedom exceptions as well, finding that 51 percent of Americans believe health care providers and organizations should have the right to opt out of providing abortion services if they have moral objections. Notably, 34 percent of those who identify as pro-choice would protect the right to opt out.
In a discussion of the poll at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., Tuesday, Barbara Carvalho, director of the Marist poll, said that while abortion remains a “very polarizing issue politically, what we found is it is not a polarized issue.”
“When you measure this and give people an opportunity to actually explain what their opinions are,” she explained, “we see that there is actually quite a consensus among Americans.”
In a statement, Knights of Columbus CEO Carl Anderson called for the consistent consensus on abortion restrictions found by the polling to spur a “new national conversation on abortion.”
"Year in and year out since we began polling on this issue, the American people have understood that the law can protect mother and child alike and have expressed a strong consensus in favor of abortion restrictions," Anderson said. "It is time for a new national conversation on abortion — one that begins with this consensus in favor of restrictions: a consensus that American women and men have already reached, and that includes a majority even of those who call themselves pro-choice."