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Americans Think New State Laws Will Reduce Number of Abortions

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Pro-life state legislators are pushing several measures that critics view as restrictions on abortion, and most Americans agree that two of these proposals are at least somewhat likely to reduce the number of abortions in America.

New South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard is expected to sign a just-passed law in his state that would require women seeking an abortion to wait three days and have counseling about adoption and other parenting issues before undergoing the procedure. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 65% of American Adults support a three-day waiting period and counseling before an abortion. Twenty-four percent (24%) oppose such a requirement, and another 11% are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Sixty-five percent (65%) also believe the waiting period and counseling are at least somewhat likely to reduce the number of abortions, including 33% who say they are Very Likely to do so. Thirty percent (30%) think the requirement is unlikely to reduce the prevalence of abortion, with seven percent (7%) who say it's Not At All Likely to have that effect.

Support is much lower for a bill approved by Texas lawmakers that requires pregnant women to see an ultrasound image (also known as a sonogram) of their fetus and to hear the fetus' heartbeat before having an abortion. Forty-eight percent (48%) of Americans favor the measure, while 38% are opposed. Fourteen percent (14%) are not sure about it.

However, 62% think it is at least somewhat likely that such a law would reduce the number of abortions, including 32% who say it is Very Likely. Thirty-one percent (31%) think such an outcome is unlikely, but that includes just seven percent (7%) who say it is Not At All Likely.

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The survey of 1,000 Adults was conducted on March 7-8, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

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