By Nora Sullivan/CLI Research Assistant
A new poll released by the Chiaroscuro Foundation in New York reveals that the majority of New Yorkers support sensible restrictions on abortion and oppose proposed changes to current law which would considerably expand abortion in the state. This poll, which surveyed both pro-choice and pro-life New Yorkers, has been released at a time of great tension in the abortion debate in New York, as Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) unveiled the Reproductive Health Act last month.
The Reproductive Health Act is a key provision of the Women’s Equality Act, a 10-point plan which would address equal pay for equal work in the state, extend policies on sexual harassment, as well as deal with housing and pregnancy discrimination. However, it is the Reproductive Health Act specifically that is provoking the ire of many citizens. The proposed act has been criticized for will allowing for more late-term abortions, permitting non-doctors to perform abortions, and precluding any regulation of abortion such as parental notification. Additionally, the bill would permit the state to revoke the operating certificate of Catholic hospitals and agencies that ‘discriminate’ by not performing or referring women for abortions.
The poll, conducted by the McLaughlin Group, found that a considerable majority of New Yorkers support more restrictions on abortion, rather than its expansion. Eighty percent of New Yorkers oppose unlimited abortion through the ninth month of pregnancy and 75% oppose changes in the law which would allow someone other than a doctor to perform an abortion.
New York has the highest abortion rate in the nation at 29.8% of pregnancies ending in abortion. New York City has an even more startlingly high abortion rate with 41% of ongoing pregnancies being aborted while, in the borough of the Bronx specifically, 48% of such pregnancies end in abortion. An even more astounding statistic from the New York City Health Department shows that, among African Americans, 60% of pregnancies end by abortion. This means that for every 1,000 African American babies born alive in the City, 1,446 are aborted.
When informed of the number of abortions performed in New York, 78 percent of respondents in the Chiaroscuro Foundation poll said they felt that there was already sufficient access to abortion. Additionally, a remarkably high percentage of New Yorkers opposed abortions for the purpose of reducing twins or triplets to a single child (89%) and late-term abortions for the purpose of sex selection (92%). Furthermore, 86% of New Yorkers favor regulating abortion clinics as strictly as other medical facilities.
Gov. Cuomo announced his intended bill with great fanfare during his State of the State address. Abortion advocates were particularly enthusiastic about this proposed key feature of the Women’s Equality Act. However, with such a tremendous percentage of New Yorkers opposed to the elements included in the Reproductive Health Act, the bill may face substantially more opposition that initial reports suggested.
The Chiaroscuro Foundation poll surveyed 600 likely general election voters and has an accuracy of ±4.0% at a 95% confidence level.