Poll: Majority of Minnesotans Support Abortion Rights

Andy Birkey

St. Cloud State University poll data released on Friday (PDF) shows most Minnesotans support abortion rights and oppose overturning Roe v. Wade, a result that’s in line with polling throughout the decade.

This article is republished from Minnesota Independent, a partnership between Rewire and the Center for Independent Media

St. Cloud State University poll data released on Friday (PDF) shows most Minnesotans support abortion rights and oppose overturning Roe v. Wade,
a result that’s in line with polling throughout the decade.
Republicans, religious conservatives and those who never completed high
school were most likely to oppose abortion rights.

In the survey conducted this fall, 8.7 percent of respondents felt
that a woman should never have an abortion for any reason; 30.4 percent
said it’s acceptable in cases of rape, incest or to protect the life of
the mother; 12.6 percent said abortion is allowable only if the need to
have one “is clearly established”; and a plurality of those surveyed,
45.9 percent, said that abortion is a woman’s personal choice.

The preference for banning any and all abortion was higher among
Republicans (17 percent), Baptists (15 percent) and Catholics (12
percent). Lutheran support for a total ban was low (3 percent) and
comparable to non-religious people (2 percent). Minnesotans who had not
completed high school were much more likely to support a total ban on
abortion (24 percent).

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Two-thirds of Minnesotans support maintaining Roe v. Wade,
the landmark 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision that determined a right
to abortion, while 25.4 percent would like to see that decision
overturned. The percentage of people who support an overturning of Roe
increased among Republicans (48 percent) and Baptists (69 percent).
Lutherans were less likely than Minnesotans in general to support
overturning Roe, with only 20 percent.

There were few differences between rural, suburban and urban responses.

St. Cloud State University will be releasing more data in the coming weeks, including Minnesotans’ views on same-sex marriage.

News Law and Policy

Anti-Choice Group: End Clinic ‘Bubble Zones’ for Chicago Abortion Patients

Michelle D. Anderson

Chicago officials in October 2009 passed the "bubble zone" ordinance with nearly two-thirds of the city aldermen in support.

An anti-choice group has announced plans to file a lawsuit and launch a public protest over Chicago’s nearly seven-year-old “bubble zone” ordinance for patients seeking care at local abortion clinics.

The Pro-Life Action League, an anti-choice group based in Chicago, announced on its website that its lawyers at the Thomas More Society would file the lawsuit this week.

City officials in October 2009 passed the ordinance with nearly two-thirds of the city aldermen in support. The law makes it illegal to come within eight feet of someone walking toward an abortion clinic once that person is within 50 feet of the entrance, if the person did not give their consent.

Those found violating the ordinance could be fined up to $500.

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Harassment of people seeking abortion care has been well documented. A 2013 survey from the National Abortion Federation found that 92 percent of providers had a patient entering their facility express personal safety concerns.

The ordinance targets people seeking to pass a leaflet or handbill or engaging in “oral protest, education, or counseling with such other person in the public way.” The regulation bans the use of force, threat of force and physical obstruction to intentionally injure, intimidate or interfere any person entering or leaving any hospital, medical clinic or health-care facility.

The Pro-Life Action League lamented on its website that the law makes it difficult for anti-choice sidewalk counselors “to reach abortion-bound mothers.” The group suggested that lawmakers created the ordinance to create confusion and that police have repeatedly violated counselors’ First Amendment rights.

“Chicago police have been misapplying it from Day One, and it’s caused endless problems for our faithful sidewalk counselors,” the group said.

The League said it would protest and hold a press conference outside of the Planned Parenthood clinic in the city’s Old Town neighborhood.

Julie Lynn, a Planned Parenthood of Illinois spokesperson, told Rewire in an email that the health-care provider is preparing for the protest.

“We plan to have volunteer escorts at the health center to make sure all patients have safe access to the entrance,” Lynn said.

The anti-choice group has suggested that its lawsuit would be successful because of a 2014 U.S. Supreme Court decision that ruled a similar law in Massachusetts unconstitutional.

Pam Sutherland, vice president of public policy and education for Planned Parenthood of Illinois, told the Chicago Tribune back then that the health-care provider expected the city’s bubble zone to be challenged following the 2014 decision.

But in an effort to avoid legal challenges, Chicago city officials had based its bubble zone law on a Colorado law that created an eight-foot no-approach zone within 100 feet of all health-care facilities, according to the Tribune. Sidewalk counselor Leila Hill and others challenged that Colorado law, but the U.S. Supreme Court upheld it in 2000.

Analysis Politics

Timeline: Donald Trump’s Shifting Position on Abortion Rights

Ally Boguhn

Trump’s murky position on abortion has caused an uproar this election season as conservatives grapple with a Republican nominee whose stance on the issue has varied over time. Join Rewire for a look back at the business mogul's changing views on abortion.

For much of the 2016 election cycle, Donald Trump’s seemingly ever-changing position on reproductive health care and abortion rights has continued to draw scrutiny.

Trump was “totally pro-choice” in 1999, but “pro-life” by 2011. He wanted to shut down the government to defund Planned Parenthood in August 2015, but claimed “you can’t go around and say that” about such measures two months later. He thinks Planned Parenthood does “very good work” but wants to see it lose all of its funding as long as it offers abortion care. And, perhaps most notoriously, in late March of this year Trump took multiple stances over the course of just a few hours on whether those who have abortions should be punished if it became illegal.

With the hesitancy of anti-choice groups to fully embrace Trump—and with pro-choice organizations like Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and EMILY’s List all backing his opponent, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton—it is likely his stance on abortion will remain a key election issue moving into November.

Join Rewire for a look back at the business mogul’s changing views on abortion.

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