A new poll has confirmed what we’ve long known: the Republican drive to criminalize abortion even for victims of rape and incest is overwhelmingly opposed by the general public. The YouGov/Huffington Post poll, conducted over a three day period at the end of October, found very strong support for abortion rights in those cases as well as to preserve the health of the woman:
74 percent said abortion should be legal in cases where the mother’s life is endangered by pregnancy, 70 percent said it should be legal when the mother’s health is endangered, and 74 percent said it should be legal when a woman becomes pregnant as a result of rape or incest. No more than 14 percent of respondents said that abortion should be illegal in all cases.
The poll also found support for full reproductive rights on top of these relatively minimalist ones. In a separate sample, 27 percent of respondents were in favor of unrestricted access to abortion services — nearly twice as many as those who supported criminalizing the procedure in all cases (15 percent). Respondents also opposed the drive to cut off federal government support for Planned Parenthood by a wide 48-32 margin.
The GOP party platform, however, falls on the other end of the spectrum and endorses banning abortion in all cases. And athough presidential candidate Mitt Romney says he’d be “delighted” to sign legislation enacting such a ban, his official position is the only slightly less-restrictive “rape, incest, and life of the woman” standard. Unlike 70 percent of respondents in the above poll, Romney does not endorse abortion on health grounds other than in the case of an imminent threat to a woman’s life. Moreover, many of the prospective GOP members of Congress a hypothetical President Romney would be working with have a demonstrated pattern of making callous and ignorant statements about rape and women’s reproductive rights.