Strong support among young people for ban on abortions after heartbeat detected

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(CP) A new poll released ahead of the annual March for Life reveals that most young Americans support efforts to ban abortions after a baby's heartbeat can be detected.

The poll, conducted on behalf of the pro-life organization Students for Life of America from Jan. 5–11, asked 834 young adults between the ages of 18 and 34 for their views on abortion and the United States Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion nationwide.

The poll's release comes as pro-lifers are set to gather in Washington, D.C., Friday for the annual March for Life that's held in the nation's capital around the anniversary of the Roe decision.

The survey informed respondents that "the human fetal heart begins to beat 21 days after conception, at 3 weeks gestation" before asking if they supported banning abortions after a heartbeat is detected. Fifty-two percent of those surveyed said they supported banning abortions after a heartbeat can be detected compared to 48% who opposed.

Denise Harle, an attorney with the religious liberty law firm Alliance Defending Freedom, reacted to the poll's findings in an interview with The Christian Post. "I think that is fantastic news," she said.

Harle told CP that she was "so encouraged" because "it means that ... our younger generation understands what medical science shows us and what biology teaches us, which is that ... life begins at conception, it's a human right and it should be protected."

Some of the young Americans who participated in the poll changed their views on abortion once they received more details about Roe v. Wade. Initially, 60% of respondents expressed some level of support for Roe, with 21% saying that they very strongly supported the decision, 26% reporting that they strongly supported the decision, and 12% telling the pollster that they did "not strongly support" it.

The share of respondents who expressed some level of support for Roe decreased after they learned that Roe allows abortions to take place throughout all nine months of pregnancy, right up until the moment of birth and allows women to abort their children if they do not like the sex of their baby, fear it has an abnormality like Down syndrome or believe that the baby might be same-sex attracted or one day identify as transgender.

Additionally, the poll informed respondents that Roe has "been used to justify sending U.S. taxpayer dollars to perform abortions or off-set other expenses of abortion vendors/providers," allows women to use abortion as contraception and "ends a disproportionate number of minority lives." At the end of the poll, support for Roe had dropped to 50% among those surveyed.

The share of participants who very strongly support Roe dipped slightly from 21% to 20%, the percentage who strongly support Roe dropped from 26% to 21%, while 9% indicated that they did "not very strongly support it." Harle described this finding in the poll as consistent with previous polling revealing that "when you ask people about what Roe v. Wade really held, they don't agree with it."

When asked for their views about abortion in general, 25% agreed with the statement asserting that "I support an abortion at any time without exception." Twenty percent expressed support for "abortion after a heartbeat is detected, up until the fetus can feel pain." Twenty-eight percent opposed abortions after a heartbeat can be detected, while supporting exceptions to save the life of the mother or in cases of rape or incest.

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