Legislation that would ban abortion after 20 weeks of gestation has become a top priority for pro-lifers in 2013.
In the past few years, at least 10 states have passed such bans. The debate over a 20 week abortion ban in Texas – recently signed by Governor Rick Perry – received nationwide attention this summer. Additionally, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) has indicated he plans to sponsor 20 week abortion ban at the federal level.
It should come as no surprise that these 20 week abortion bans are receiving plenty of media attention. In fact, within the past month, three separate polling outfits National Journal, Rasmussen, and NBC/Wall Street Journal conducted national surveys about the popularity of banning abortion after 20 weeks of gestation. Interestingly, all three surveys provide very similar results about the level of support these laws
Each of the three surveys found that such 20 week abortion bans enjoyed plurality support. Support for 20 week abortion bans ranged from 44 percent to 48 percent.
- Between 46 and 50 percent of women support a 20 week abortion ban. In fact, all three surveys found that women were actually more likely than men to support a 20 week abortion ban.
- These bans enjoy support among young people. Two surveys (Rasmussen and National Journal) broke down the results by age. National Journal found that 18-29 year olds supported a 20 week abortion bans by a 52-39 margin. Rasmussen found that 18-39 year olds supported a 20 week abortion ban by a 43-36 margin.
Combined these polls add to a nice body of research which demonstrates that 20 week abortion bans and other incremental pro-life laws are political winners. These laws enjoy broad public support. Contrary to conventional wisdom, they actually attract key demographic groups including women and young adults.
Finally, there is a body of research showing that voters who consider abortion important — are much more likely to be pro-life. As such, pursuing 20 week abortion bans at both the state and federal level is both smart policy and smart politics for the pro-life movement.