- The Washington Times - Monday, July 25, 2016

A new poll finds that the majority of Americans oppose public funding for abortion, even among those who identify as pro-choice.

The new Knights of Columbus-Marist poll was released Monday as Democrats gathered in Philadelphia for their presidential nomination convention with a platform that includes an unprecedented measure to end a long-standing ban on federal funds for abortions.

According to the poll conducted July 5-12, about 51 percent of respondents identified themselves as pro-choice. Still 62 percent said they oppose taxpayer funding for abortion.

A breakdown of the statistic shows that most blacks, Latinos and independent voters oppose publicly funded abortions, as well as 45 percent of those who identify as pro-choice and 44 percent of Democrats.

In addition, the survey finds that 56 percent of Americans oppose forcing health care providers to perform abortions against their conscience or religious beliefs.

What’s more, the poll shows widespread support for additional restrictions on abortion. Nearly eight in 10 respondents said abortion should be limited to the first three months of pregnancy, including 62 percent of those who identify as pro-choice.

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And 78 percent of respondents said they want abortion clinics to be regulated similarly to other outpatient surgery centers, even though the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Texas regulation doing just that last month in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt.

Support for additional abortion facility regulations also extends across ideological lines, with 74 percent of pro-choice respondents supporting such measures.

Barbara Carvalho, director of the Marist Poll, said pro-choice support for substantial restrictions on abortion has been consistent for several years.

“The majority of Americans in favor of abortion restrictions has been consistently around 8 in 10 for the better part of a decade,” Ms. Carvalho said in a statement. “Though self-identification as pro-life or pro-choice can vary substantially from year to year, the support for restrictions is quite stable.”

Meanwhile, a draft of the Democratic Party platform calling for the repeal of the Hyde Amendment this week will be voted on for final approval at the Democratic National Convention for the first time in the party’s history.

Attached to annual federal spending bills, the Hyde Amendment has enjoyed broad bipartisan support since it was first approved in 1976, three years after the Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion throughout the country.

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“We will continue to oppose — and seek to overturn — federal and state laws and policies that impede a woman’s access to abortion, including by repealing the Hyde Amendment,” the Democratic platform draft says.

Carl Anderson, CEO of the Knights of Columbus, said the new Marist Poll indicates a consensus for “abortion restrictions, less taxpayer funding of it, and common sense regulations on this industry to protect women’s health.”

“Our courts, politicians, candidates and parties should heed this consensus,” Mr. Anderson said in a statement.

The Knights of Columbus-Marist Poll surveyed 1,009 adults, has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3.1 percentage points.

• Bradford Richardson can be reached at brichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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