Americans Favor Some Kind of Restriction to Abortion

By Catholic News Service

Since the Knights of Columbus began commissioning polls on American attitudes toward abortion in 2008, the results have consistently shown that about 80 percent of Americans favor some kind of restriction on access to abortion.

Bishop Felipe Estévez joins marchers at the U.S. Federal Courthouse in Jacksonville for the Stand for Life Rally in 2015. (Photo: St. Augustine Catholic/Woody Huband)

Bishop Felipe Estévez joins marchers at the U.S. Federal Courthouse in Jacksonville for the Stand for Life Rally in 2015. (Photo: St. Augustine Catholic/Woody Huband)

The consistency is significant, said two officials of the Knights at a Jan. 19 news conference held in Washington to release the 2015 poll’s results. The seemingly 50-50 split between those who describe themselves as “pro-life” and “pro-choice” – terms used in the poll – are “neither accurate nor helpful, nor does it reflect reality,” said Patrick Kelly, the Knights’ vice president for public policy.

Andrew Walther, the Knights’ vice president for communications and strategic planning, said the results show 81 percent believe “there should be restrictions after the first three months of pregnancy,” adding that “two-thirds of people who self-identify as pro-choice identify with this pro-life position.” The characterization of a nation split on the issue “simply doesn’t match the data,” he added.

Meanwhile, Friday, Jan. 22, marks the 43rd anniversary of Roe v. Wade – the U. S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in the United States. The Catholic Bishops of Florida released the following statement in commemoration of the anniversary:

Statement of the Catholic Bishops of Florida
on the 43rd Anniversary of Roe v. Wade

January 22, 2016

“…protect and defend human life at every stage of its development.”
Pope Francis, in his address to a joint session of the United States Congress, 
September 24, 2015

We are saddened by yet another anniversary of the tragic U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing the abortion of unborn children as we profoundly mourn over 57 million lives that have consequently been lost.

During this last year, courageous lawmakers sought to reduce the evil of abortion in our state by advancing legislation establishing a reflection period prior to abortion so every woman may more fully consider the decision to abort an unborn child. We were deeply moved by the post-abortive women who came forward in every legislative committee hearing to reveal years of regret and deep wounds they have lived with as the result of terminating a pregnancy. Their courage and willingness to shed light on the evil of abortion is commendable and reminds us of the unassuming, yet life-changing, work of our post-abortive ministries who invite the many men and women harmed by abortion to a process of healing and spiritual restoration. The judicial challenge to this law, however, reaffirms the considerable work that remains ahead as a “privacy clause” in our state’s constitution has been interpreted by the courts as uniquely granting greater abortion rights than the U.S. Constitution.

Recent attention to the allegations of illegal selling of fetal tissue has confirmed what we have said for many years: abortion is evil.  We call for the government subsidies that fund our nation’s abortion providers to be reallocated to community health centers and other federally qualified health centers that do not promote or perform abortions.

Pope Francis has frequently admonished us against a “throwaway culture.” The Holy Father has reminded us in his latest encyclical, Laudato Si, that all life is interrelated. To call ourselves unequivocally pro-life requires that we always choose life, even when it most challenges us: whether encountering an unplanned pregnancy, ill and dying loved ones, the execution of a convicted criminal, or the stranger seeking refuge in our communities. Recognizing we often fall short of this great task, we are jubilant that this Year of Mercy, called for by Pope Francis, invites us to seek forgiveness and find peace through the miracle of God’s infinite and inexplicable mercy.

While we lament the 43rd anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe vs. Wade, we are also encouraged by the commemoration of a different anniversary. On the 450th anniversary of the founding of St. Augustine, Catholic Floridians proudly celebrated the establishment of our nation’s earliest Catholic parish which first sowed the seeds of our faith on this land with a special devotion to our Blessed Mother, still echoed at the Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche y Buen Parto.  In these last four and a half centuries, our faith has served as witness to the Good News of Jesus Christ through the greatest of adversities. We invite the Catholic faithful to renew their commitment of proclaiming the Gospel throughout our land and consecrate our continued work of protecting the unborn to the motherly heart of Our Lady.

Most Reverend Thomas G. Wenski
Archdiocese of Miami
Most Reverend Gerald M. Barbarito
Diocese of Palm Beach
Most Reverend Robert N. Lynch
Diocese of St. Petersburg
Most Reverend Frank J. Dewane
Diocese of Venice
Most Reverend John G. Noonan
Diocese of Orlando
Most Reverend Felipe J. Estévez
Diocese of St. Augustine
Most Reverend Gregory L. Parkes
Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee
Most Reverend Peter Baldacchino
Archdiocese of Miami

To read the statement in Spanish, click here.