New Poll Finds Overwhelming Opposition to Post-20 Week Abortions

By Dave Andrusko, National Right to Life

In the first comprehensive survey since a surge of outrage over Democratic proposals for abortion on demand until birth and after, a Marist Poll released today shows a dramatic and substantive increase in pro-life attitudes and overwhelming opposition to post-20 week abortions. One pro-abortion website pointed to the influence of President Trump’s staunchly pro-life State of the Union address as helping to ignite the pro-life upsurge.

“The shift was led by Democrats and those under 45 years old, according to a survey taken Feb.12-17 in the wake of efforts in several states to legalize abortion up until birth,” according to a release from the Knights of Columbus which commissioned the poll.

Just last month, a similar Marist poll found an 18 point advantage among those who identified as pro-choice (55%) compared to those who identified a pro-life (37%). It is now tied at 47% each.

“The recent legal changes to late-term abortion and the debate which followed have not gone unnoticed by the general public,” said Barbara Carvalho, director of The Marist Poll. “In just one month, there has been a significant increase in the proportion of Americans who see themselves as pro-life and an equally notable decline in those who describe themselves as pro-choice.”

Carvalho added, “Current proposals that promote late-term abortion have reset the landscape and language on abortion in a pronounced – and very measurable – way.”

Carl Anderson, CEO of the Knights of Columbus, observed, “Arguments in favor of late-term abortion are simply not convincing the American people. If anything, since these proposals have been unveiled, people are moving noticeably in the pro-life direction. It is now clear that these radical policies are being pursued despite the opposition of the majority of Americans of both parties.”


More than 2/3rds (67%) of Republicans identified as pro-life with Independents almost evenly split–46% pro-life to 48% pro-choice.

The biggest change was among Democrats. A little over 1/3rd (34%) now identify as pro-life. That is a jump of 14 points –from 20% to 34%– in just one month!

According to the poll, among younger Americans, 47% identified as pro-life to 48% pro-choice. In last month’s poll, 65% identified as pro-choice.

Limitations on abortion

The remarks of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam in support of a bill to legalize abortion up to “40 weeks” drew enormous attention. A whopping 71% oppose abortions after 20 weeks, which consists of 66% who say these abortions should be banned except to save the life of the mother, plus another 5% who think abortion should be outlawed completely. “Only 18 percent think abortion should be allowed at any time up until birth,” according to the Knights of Columbus.

“Those opposing abortion after 20 weeks, or overall, include: 59 percent of Democrats, 78 percent of independents and 82 percent of Republicans.”

The most interesting commentary on the new poll came from the pro-abortion Axios.

Under the sub-headline “Why it matters,” Alayna Treene wrote, “Republicans have been on the offensive about this issue since the State of the Union, when Trump seized on the outrage over Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s abortion comments and the passage of a New York law to promote a congressional ban on late-term abortions.”

  • In November, the Department of Health and Human Services proposed a new rule that would require insurers send customers separate bills for coverage provided for abortion services.
  • On Friday, the Trump administration issued a new rule barring organizations that provide abortion referrals, like Planned Parenthood, from receiving federal family planning money.