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New Poll a Wake Up Call for Legislators Says Planned Parenthood CEO

Voters Understand Need for Abortion Health Exceptions

Contacts

Blue Carreker, 518-434-5678 x13 or 518 256-0015, blue@uhpp.org


Published: 08.29.13| Updated: 08.29.13

New poll shows more than 60 percent of Americans support access to abortion later in pregnancy to protect a woman's health and in cases of severe fetal abnormalities

Poll points to support for reproductive health care provisions provided for in

Roe v. Wade and contained in the Women's Equality Act

(Albany, NY August 29, 2013) - The first poll that reflects public opinion regarding the reality of abortion later in pregnancy was released today, showing that when voters understand the real-world circumstances surrounding abortion later in pregnancy, they overwhelmingly oppose laws that would ban the procedure at that stage.

"The legislators who have called so loudly for abortion bans and who moved to prevent the passage of the full Women's Equality Act this year clearly need to listen to their constituents," said Chelly Hegan, President/CEO of Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood. "As this poll shows us, most voters, when given the facts, quickly understand what is at stake when women and their families are forced to face the decision of ending a pregnancy later in its term. Certainly most people understand how hard these situations are for women, their families and their doctors. Politicians have no role to play in these personal decisions."

According to the poll, when they are reminded that abortions are very rare past 20 weeks of pregnancy and that severe fetal abnormalities are often involved in these instances, a solid 60 percent of registered voters support access to abortion after 20 weeks, with only 33 percent opposing access. Sixty-six percent (66%) of all voters say abortions should be legal after 20 weeks if a woman's doctor determines that the woman would suffer serious, long-lasting health problems if she carried the pregnancy to term.

Abortion later in pregnancy is extremely rare (nearly 99 percent of abortions in the U.S. occur before 21 weeks), but when it does happen it is often heartbreaking and tragic.

Poll results speak to reproductive health provision of Women's Equality Act

Unlike other polls, this nationwide survey - of 1,011 registered voters from all major parties - asked about the specific circumstances in which abortions should and should not be allowed after the 20th week of a woman's pregnancy. The reproductive health provision of Governor Cuomo's Women's Equality Act would ensure that decisions related to such tragic circumstances later in pregnancy would remain between a woman and her health care provider. Politicians should not be involved in these decisions.

This national poll is consistent with the myriad surveys conducted since early this year that demonstrated New Yorkers' overwhelming support for comprehensive reproductive health care access as provided for in the Women's Equality Act.

NYS Senate failed women

This poll affirms that the Senate's Conservative Republican Leadership is not only out of touch with mainstream thinking about abortion access in New York but also with voters throughout the nation. These Conservative Republican Leaders failed New York's 10 million women and their families by not allowing the Women's Equality Act to be voted on in the Senate earlier this year, a demonstration of just how little the leadership values women and women's health.

Among the poll's key findings:

* Sixty-six percent (66%) of all voters say abortions should be legal after 20 weeks if a woman's doctor determines that the woman would suffer serious, long-lasting health problems if she carried the pregnancy to term.

* Sixty-one percent (61%) of all voters say abortions should be legal after 20 weeks if a woman's doctor determines that the fetus is not yet viable and the woman and her family determine that her health and personal circumstances are such that she should not continue her pregnancy.

* Sixty-one percent (61%) of all voters say abortions should be legal after 20 weeks if a pregnancy resulted from rape or incest.

You can read the full polling memo here.

A true, heartbreaking story

Julie Bindeman and her husband found themselves in just this situation. The couple from the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. decided that they wanted to have a second child. She went in for a routine doctor's visit and went for a 20-week scan to determine whether they were having a boy or a girl. The doctor looked at her and said, "I'm so sorry. What they found at the scan was that the brain ventricles were enlarged." The doctor told them that other aspects of the brain were very malformed - diagnosing ventriculomegaly with the likelihood of anencephaly, a severe fetal abnormality incompatible with life.

"This has nothing to do with politics," Julie Bindeman said. "This has to do with the choices that my husband and I needed to make."

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Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood is a non-profit organization serving Albany, Columbia, Greene and Rensselaer counties. Each year, more than 13,000 patients make over 20,000 visits to UHPP health centers in Albany, Hudson and Troy. UHPP provides a wide range of reproductive health services including annual GYN exams including PAP tests, breast exams and self exam instruction, colposcopy, cryosurgery and LEEP, birth control information and supplies, Emergency Contraception, pregnancy testing and options counseling, first trimester abortion (medication and surgical), adoption and prenatal referrals, and more. UHPP provides educational programs to more than 5,000 participants at more than 500 programs each year and advocates for women's health.

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