Christian Post: Poll: Bipartisan Support for Informed, Parental Consent Abortion Laws

This article first appeared online at The Christian Post on July 27, 2011.

Poll: Bipartisan Support for Informed, Parental Consent Abortion Laws
by Stephanie Samuel

There is strong bipartisan support for pro-life laws, as seen by several states that recently passed such legislation, a poll shows.

Eighty four percent of Democratic respondents and 95 percent of Republican respondents favor abortion laws requiring doctors to tell patients about the possible risks before performing an abortion procedure, a Gallup poll found. Eighty-six percent of Independents also favor informed consent.

There is also majority support across all political lines for laws requiring parental consent for minors, a 24-hour waiting period before procedures, and partial birth abortions across political lines.

Jeanne Monahan, director of Family Research Council’s Center for Human Dignity, lauded the poll as a victory for pro-life lobbyists. However, she urged more to be done to unveil the business practices of abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood.

“I think it is great news that people across the board are agreeing that women have the right to informed consent and that parents should be involved in these kinds of decisions,” said Monahan.

Overall, 87 percent of respondents say they favor informed consent, and more than seven in ten Americans (71 percent) favor requiring parental consent for minors and establishing a 24-hour waiting period for women seeking abortions. Nearly two-thirds of all respondents (64 percent) favor making the specific procedure known as “partial birth abortion” illegal.

Marilyn Musgrave, the project director of Susan B. Anthony List’s Votes Have Consequences campaign, says Americans overwhelmingly support pro-life laws because they make sense.

“Things like parental consent and what I call ‘a woman’s right to know,’ which is an informed consent before an abortion, are just so common sense,” she said. “People know that parents need to be informed when their minor daughter is making a decision that is as serious as whether or not to get an abortion, and they know that anybody having a surgical procedure needs all the information.” 

In 2011 alone, states have enacted a record 162 new laws or changes to existing laws that affect reproductive health, according to a July report from the Guttmacher Institute.

A record 80 abortion restrictions were enacted this year – more than double the previous record of 34 abortion restrictions in 2005 and more than triple the 23 restrictions enacted last year. And five states passed laws outlawing abortion after a 20-week gestation.

A University of Alabama report published in March shows that abortion restrictions passed in 47 states have decreased the number of local abortions from 1,054,719 to 820,151 in just a 15-year span.

“It’s just incredible to know that these decisions that are being made and these bills that are being passed and being written into law will decrease the amount of abortions, thereby saving babies and also helping mothers,” said Monahan.

Eight state legislatures have also passed laws banning the sale of policies in the insurance exchanges that offer coverage for abortion; four of those laws – in Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Utah – would extend the ban to all private insurance coverage offered in the state.

And five states moved to restrict family planning funding to specific providers, most notably Planned Parenthood.

The poll shows that these kinds of measures, unlike the consent laws, are not as popular.

Just under half of Americans (46 percent) said they favored laws allowing pharmacists and health providers to opt out of providing medicine or surgical procedures that result in abortion.

Only 40 percent of respondents favor laws prohibiting health clinics that provide abortion services – such as Planned Parenthood – from receiving any federal funds.

Musgrave said the numbers are so low because pro-life groups are just starting to “chip away” at the pro-woman mask that Planned Parenthood has worn all these years.

“[It has] been 25 years at least that Planned Parenthood has been presenting a very positive image … of providing women’s health care.” 

However, Monahan said women are not being told the whole truth.

Planned Parenthood reported receiving $363 million in tax payer dollars in 2009.

Yet some Planned Parenthood clinics don’t offer its patients pamphlets on abortion alternatives such as adoption, reports Musgrave. In fact, Musgrave divulged that former clinic workers often report that women are not adequately counseled before they have an abortion.

As for their health care services, Planned Parenthood does not offer mammograms despite advertising their brand with the color pink, she said.

“They’re not about promoting alternatives; they’re not about helping women,” Musgrave asserted.

Monahan and Musgrave both noted that there are many clinics throughout the country that provide real health care to low-income families without providing abortions.

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels presented a list of 800 non-abortion facilities located in his state alone after becoming the first state to redirect federal funds away from abortion providers.

“There was not one county without a provider, but to hear the Planned Parenthood allies tell the story, it was like people were dying because the (Planned Parenthood) shutdowns,” recalled Monahan.

As for the 57 percent of poll respondents who oppose laws federally defunding abortion providers, she said, “I think there’s more education that needs to be done on our side.”

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