Abortion Plays Small Role in Health Reform Opposition

  • November 19, 2009

While most Americans oppose government funding of abortion, a new Pew Research Center survey finds that concern about abortion funding plays only a small role in driving opposition to the health care reform legislation under consideration by Congress.

When health care opponents are asked in an open-ended question to describe their main reason for opposing the congressional proposals, just 3% raise the issue of abortion funding.

Even when they are asked to choose among a list of reasons, fewer than one-in-ten (8%) opponents of health care legislation say the most important reason for their opposition is the possibility that government money might pay for abortions. Although a majority of health reform opponents (56%) cite the abortion issue as one of the major factors for them, far greater percentages cite concerns about big government, costs and the impact of reform on people's own coverage.

The new survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press and the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life finds the public now divided over the health care proposals in Congress, with 42% in favor and 39% opposed. Earlier this month, before the House voted on its bill, 38% supported the reform proposals and 47% were opposed. The current poll was conducted Nov. 12-15 among 1,003 adults on landlines and cell phones.

Read the full report Abortion Plays Small Role in Health Reform Opposition on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press' Web site.