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Poll asks: Who decides on abortion?

By Samantha Kimmey   |   Aug. 27, 2012 at 5:10 PM
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{WOMENSENEWS}-- A poll sponsored by Republicans for Choice, a pro-choice Republican political action committee, finds GOP members more on their side than other recent polls seemed to indicate.

“Republicans aren’t for government making decisions,” Ann Stone, chair of Republicans for Choice, told WeNews in a recent phone interview. “If you feel a woman should make her own decision, you’re pro-choice.”

The poll was released last week ahead of the Republican convention in Tampa, Fla., which officially started today – although due to Tropical Storm Isaac, the gathering was immediately sent into recess until Tuesday. Stone said the timing of the poll’s release was intended to get the attention of the Republican presumptive nominee Mitt Romney.

The polls asks a question that other pollsters have not been asking and that Stone thinks is critical to testing public sentiment: who should decide whether or not a woman has an abortion.

“Regardless of how you personally feel about the issue of abortion,” the polls, which surveyed 1,000 adults, asks, “who do you believe should have the right to make that decision regarding whether to have an abortion…should the woman, her family and her doctor make the decision or should the government make the decision?”

Predictably, 89 percent of Democrats believed “strongly” that the woman should decide.

More remarkably, 71 percent of Republicans and 80 percent of independents also believed strongly that the woman should decide. An additional 10 percent of Republicans believed “not strongly” that the woman should decide, and a total of 81 percent who identified as “pro-life” responded that the woman should decide.

“We challenge ALL national pollsters to include this main question (Q1) in all of their surveys to test the validity of this outcome,” Republicans for Choice said in a press statement.

The results portray a much different picture from that of a Gallup poll in May, which found pro-choice identification at its lowest point – 41 percent – since Gallup began asking respondents to label themselves.

The Republicans for Choice poll, conducted by research firm TNS (which also conducts most Washington Post polls) also found that a total of 81 percent who identified as “pro-life” responded that the woman should decide, while 4 percent said the government should decide.

A similar poll was conducted about a dozen times by NBC News/Wall Street Journal between 1990 and 2009. It asked, "Which of the following best represents your views about abortion?The choice on abortion should be left up to the woman and her doctor. Abortion should be legal only in cases in which pregnancy results from rape or incest or when the life of the woman is at risk. OR, Abortion should be illegal in all circumstances."

In 2009 just over half, or 51 percent, said a woman and her doctor should decide, 31 percent said it should only be legal in those circumstances, and 15 percent said it should always be illegal.

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