Most Americans favor tighter abortion restrictions, poll finds

Three-quarters of Americans -- including 60 percent of self-identified Democrats and 61 percent of those who identify as pro-choice -- support restricting legal abortion to the first three months of pregnancy at most, according to a new poll released Tuesday.

The 75 percent number comprised the 27 percent of adults who say abortions should only be made available during the first three months of pregnancy; the 28 percent who say abortions should only be performed in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother; the 10 percent who said abortion should only be performed to save the life of the mother; and the further 10 percent who said abortion should not be permitted at all.

The study also found that 59 percent of Americans supported a ban on abortions after 20 weeks except to save the mother's life.

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The phone survey of 1,066 adults was funded and sponsored by the Knights of Columbus and conducted by the Marist Poll. The two have teamed up every January since 2008 to gauge Americans' attitudes toward abortion.

The poll found that 55 percent of Americans identify as pro-choice, up four percentage points from the previous year's survey. However, the same percentage of respondents said medical professionals with moral objections to abortion should be allowed to opt out of performing the procedure.

"As in past years, this poll shows that the pro-choice label on the abortion issue is simply insufficient,” Knights of Columbus Supreme Knight Carl Anderson said in a statement. "The majority of Americans – in both parties – support legal restrictions on abortion ... The majority of the American people deserve to have their opinions heard

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The survey also found that if the Supreme Court revisits the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, 49 percent of Americans support upholding abortion restrictions legislated by the states while another 16 percent supported outlawing the procedure completely. Just 30 percent of respondents favored a Supreme Court ruling allowing unrestricted abortion.

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A whopping 75 percent of Americans -- including 56 percent of self-described Democrats -- also opposed taxpayer funding of abortion overseas while more than half of respondents (54 percent) opposed any taxpayer funding of abortion.

The poll's release coincided with Friday's 46th annual March for Life in Washington.