Most New Yorkers strongly oppose expanding the state’s abortion laws in the manner that pro-abortion advocates pushing the so-called “Reproductive Health Act” are advocating. In fact, most New Yorkers want more restrictions, not less, on the easy availability of abortion in the state.
Those are the findings of a new statewide poll released Feb. 13 showing that while 55 percent of respondents described themselves as “pro-choice,” two out of three (66 percent) said there is already sufficient access to abortion in the state. In fact, results of the poll show that when given more information and asked specific questions, respondents were even more strongly opposed to elements of the “Reproductive Health Act.”
When informed that the actual number of abortions recorded annually in New York state is 111,000, those who agreed there is already sufficient access to abortion rose to 79 percent, with only seven percent saying access should be easier.
The survey, conducted Jan. 27-31 by McLaughlin and Associates for the Chiaroscuro Foundation, also found only 17 percent of likely voters approved of unlimited abortion on demand through the ninth month of pregnancy, which would be permissible under the “Reproductive Health Act.” Eighty percent of respondents opposed such a policy, 61 percent of them strongly.
Ninety-two percent also opposed abortion for selecting the sex of a child, and 89 percent opposed it for “reducing” triplets or twins to a single child. Neither of these procedures would be restricted if the “Reproductive Health Act’s” fundamental right to abortion is enshrined in state law.
Also, 75 percent opposed allowing non-doctors to perform abortions, permitted under the proposed abortion expansion plan, and 71 percent oppose forcing Catholic hospitals to allow abortions, also permitted under the proposed plan. Among survey respondents, 47 percent identified themselves as Democrats, 29 percent as Republicans and 22 percent as independents.
“People look at New York state as the bluest of blue states, very liberal,” Kathleen M. Gallagher, director of pro-life activities for the New York State Catholic Conference, told CNY. “But New Yorkers mirror the rest of the country in using common sense about abortion. This poll shows they are saying, enough is enough.”
New Yorkers are also much more inclined to favor regulating abortion in ways the “Reproductive Health Act” would exclude. Eighty-seven percent support providing pregnant women information about options and risks before they make an abortion decision; 78 percent support a 24-hour waiting period before an abortion; and 76 percent support parental notification for minors seeking abortions.
The “Reproductive Health Act” is sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins, D-Yonkers, and in the Assembly by Assemblywoman Deborah Glick, D-Manhattan.
Governor Andrew Cuomo made “reproductive rights” a central piece of his recent State of the State address. And on Feb. 16 the New York Times reported that Governor Cuomo was putting the finishing touches on his own legislation that would, among other things, guarantee women the right to late-term abortion when their health is in danger or the unborn child is considered “not viable.” Specifics of his proposal have not yet been released.
But Ms. Gallagher said whatever form a final bill takes; the governor and legislators need to be aware that any further expansion of abortion is against the wishes of most New Yorkers, regardless their party affiliation.
“These poll results should send a strong message to government officials: New Yorkers, even those who self-identify as “pro-choice” don’t want more abortion in the state,” she said. “The public desires prudent and reasonable regulations on the abortion procedure. New Yorkers want abortion to be truly rare. Politicians promoting the radical agenda of groups like Planned Parenthood and NARAL are out of step with every day New Yorkers, be they Republican or Democrat.”