News and Tribune

Community News Network

July 11, 2013

As states add abortion rules, most Americans remain ambivalent

The absolutist voices have always dominated the abortion debate. But as it flares again in Congress and in legislatures across the country, the fight this time is heading into complicated political terrain, stirring the ambivalence that most Americans feel about the issue.

In Texas, one of the most restrictive and closely watched abortion laws in the country appears headed for passage this week after Republican Gov. Rick Perry resurrected it by calling a special session of the legislature. On Wednesday, the state House voted 96 to 49 to approve the controversial antiabortion legislation that has prompted two special sessions. The bill bans abortions after 20 weeks of gestation and imposes new limits on abortion clinics, doctors and pills. The state Senate is expected to add its approval later this week.

Meanwhile, in North Carolina, another GOP governor, Pat McCrory, is threatening to veto a measure that contains some of the same provisions, saying he is concerned that its new regulations on abortion clinics might cross "a fine line between safety measures and restrictions."

Fine lines are not something activists on either side often recognize. But four decades after the Supreme Court's landmark decision in Roe v. Wade, the views of most of Americans on abortion remain complex and conditional.

"While there are very well organized and very ideological pro-life and pro-choice groups, your average citizen is in neither of these groups. He or she is in the middle," said Tom Smith, head of the General Social Survey at the University of Chicago's National Opinion Research Center, who has been tracking public sentiment on abortion since 1972.

Except in the first few years after Roe v. Wade made abortion legal, when public acceptance grew, sentiment around the issue has not moved much. Nor is there a large generational divide.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Community News Network
LOCAL MAGAZINES
Easter 2014 photos


Click on any photo to purchase it.

SPECIAL CONTENT
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP Video
Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Obama Seeks Limits on US Company Mergers Abroad Large Family to Share NJ Lottery Winnings U.S. Flights to Israel Resume After Ban Lifted Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee Senators Push to End Hamas Threat in Cease-Fire A Young Victim's Premonition, Hug Before MH17 Raw: Deadly Storm Hits Virginia Campground Death Penalty Expert: 'This is a Turning Point' Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands
2013 Photos of the year


Take a look at our most memorable photos from 2013.