Abortion Funding Divides Views in U.S.

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – Americans are split in their assessment of an amendment to the proposed health care reform bill that would ban abortion coverage in any health insurance plan using federal subsidies, according to a poll by Angus Reid Public Opinion. 44 per cent of respondents agree with the ban, while 42 per cent disagree.

The 1973 Supreme Court ruling gave American women the right to an abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy, and regulated the procedure during the second trimester “in ways that are reasonably related to maternal health.” In the third trimester, a state can choose to proscribe abortion, except when necessary “for the preservation of the life or health of the mother.”

In American presidential elections, candidates require 270 votes in the Electoral College to win the White House. In November 2008, Democratic nominee Barack Obama secured a majority of electoral votes, defeating Republican candidate John McCain. Obama became the first African American president in U.S. history when he took over from George W. Bush—who served two four-year terms—in January 2009.

One of Obama’s main campaign pledges was to increase access to health care for all Americans.

On Nov. 7, lawmakers in the lower house of Congress approved a bill—known as the Affordable Health Care for America Act—in a 220-215 vote. On Dec. 24, the Senate passed its own version of the bill in a 60-39 vote. The differences between the two bills are expected to be reconciled by both houses this year.

On Jan. 14, Democratic Michigan congressman Bart Stupak discussed the scope of the proposed amendment, declaring, “Private plans within the health insurance exchange can offer abortion services and individuals purchasing plans with their own money can choose a plan that covers abortion as long as they are not receiving government subsidies to help pay for the plan. (…) While many accusations have been thrown around in recent months, the intent behind the amendment is simple and clear—to continue current law of no federal funding for abortions.”

Polling Data

As you may know, there have been a lot of discussions lately about health care reform in the United States. An amendment to the proposed health care reform bill would ban abortion coverage in any health insurance plan using federal subsidies. Overall, do you agree or disagree with banning abortion coverage in any health insurance plan using federal subsidies?

Agree 44%
Disagree 42%
Not sure 14%

Source: Angus Reid Public Opinion
Methodology: Online interviews with 1,002 American adults, conducted from Jan. 8 to Jan. 10, 2010. Margin of error is 3.1 per cent.