WASHINGTON (April 26, 2004) -- "Abortion activists were marching out of step with the American people last weekend," said Cathy Cleaver Ruse, Esq., Director of Planning and Information of the Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. "National public opinion polls show that Americans reject exactly what the marchers support: abortion on demand," she said.
Ms. Ruse was referring to a Zogby International poll released the week of the March for Women's Lives showing that only 13 percent of Americans believe abortion should be completely unrestricted -- the extreme position taken by organizers of the march.
By contrast, 56 percent believe abortion should never be legal or should be legal only where the life of the mother is endangered or where the pregnancy resulted from rape or incest. Abortion supporters themselves acknowledge that these circumstances account for only about 2 percent of abortions.
"The Zogby poll shows young people are even more pro-life than the general population," Ms. Ruse noted. Sixty percent of 18-29 year olds believe abortion should never be legal or should be legal only in cases of life endangerment or rape or incest.
The poll also shows that more Americans identify themselves as "pro-life" than "pro-choice:" 49 percent to 45 percent. "This is a seismic change in the way Americans poll on abortion," said Ms. Ruse. "Ten years ago the 'pro-choice' answer dominated Gallup polls by a margin of 56 percent 'pro-choice' to 33 percent 'pro-life.'"
"Women poll more 'pro-life' than 'pro-choice' by a margin of 48 percent to 46 percent in the recent Zogby poll," said Ms. Ruse.
"Not only do more Americans self-identify as pro-life -- they vote that way," Ms. Ruse said. "A study by the Gallup organization observes that in recent elections the abortion issue 'has been an advantage' to candidates taking the pro-life position."
Organizers of the March claim over a million participants, while D.C. Metropolitan Police estimate the crowd at between 200,000 and 300,000 people. "No matter the number, participants in the March clearly do not speak for Americans on the issue of abortion," Ms. Ruse said.