ABORTION: Public Retains Support, With Limitations
According to a new Field Poll, by "solid majorities ... both Republicans and Democrats in California back a woman's right to obtain an abortion." Field Poll head Mark DiCamillo said, "There are strong feelings on both sides ... but members of both parties support the right to abortion. The pro-choice position is a strong one in California." The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the poll results are "good news for pro-choice Democrats such as Gray Davis and Barbara Boxer, both of whom are trying to make abortion rights a focus of their campaigns." According to the poll, "nearly two-thirds of the public either wants to keep existing abortion laws or favors even less restrictive laws." Seventy-three percent of Democrats favor this position, as do 57% of Republicans. The Chronicle reports that "abortion is a winning issue for Davis," who currently leads state Attorney General Dan Lungren by 55 to 34 percentage points. Boxer holds a small lead over rival state Treasurer Matt Fong, but pro-choice voters "favor Boxer over Fong by a 50% to 37% margin."
Despite their overall support for abortion rights, "California voters overwhelmingly favor requiring girls younger than 18 to get approval from a parent or guardian before obtaining an abortion." Boxer and Davis oppose parental consent measures, while Lungren and Fong support them. Support for unrestricted abortion rights also decreased for late-term pregnancies. While "61% approve of abortions during the first trimester of pregnancy, that number plummets to 27% for second trimester abortions and skids to 12% for abortions after the sixth month of pregnancy." But 78% of voters expressed support for late-term abortions to save a mother's life. And, "by a 54% to 39% margin," California voters said the state should pay for abortions for poor women, a position supported by Boxer and Davis but opposed by Lungren and Fong. DiCamillio said, "The public's feelings on abortion are not as clear-cut as either abortion proponents or opponents would like it to be believed. The public wants circumstances to be considered" (Wildermuth, 9/9).