Photo: A man prays as he walks in a rosary procession from St. Patrick’s Cathedral to an abortion clinic in Manhattan Jan. 22. More than 400 people participated in the procession and subsequent pro-life prayer vigil on the 40th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision legalizing abortion. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)

As pro-abortion advocates continue to push for the so-called “Reproductive Health Act,” a new statewide poll reveals that voters overwhelmingly oppose expanding the state’s abortion laws and, indeed, favor greater restrictions on abortion than what is already in law.

While a majority of respondents (55 percent) described themselves as “pro-choice,” two out of three (66 percent) said there is sufficient access to abortion in the state. When informed of the actual number of recorded abortions each year (111,000), the number of people who agreed there is sufficient access to abortion rose to 79 percent, with only 7 percent of respondents disagreeing that there is sufficient access to abortion in the state.

The survey, conducted January 27 through January 31, 2013, by McLaughlin and Associates, found that only 17 percent of likely voters approve of unlimited abortion on demand through the ninth month of pregnancy, which would be permissible under the “Reproductive Health Act.” Conversely 80 percent of voters disapprove of such a policy, 61percent of them strongly.

Among the survey respondents, 47 percent identified themselves as Democrats, 29 percent as Republicans and 22 percent as independents.

In other findings:
• 92 percent oppose abortion for selecting the sex of a baby;
• 89 percent oppose abortion for reducing triplets or twins to a single child;
Neither of these would be restricted if the Reproductive Health Act’s “fundamental right” to abortion is enshrined in state law.

• 75 percent oppose allowing non-doctors to perform abortions (permitted under the proposed abortion expansion plan); and
• 71 percent oppose forcing Catholic hospitals to allow abortions (permitted under the proposed abortion expansion plan).
With regard to regulating abortion:
• 87 percent support providing information about options and risks to pregnant women before they make an abortion decision;
• 78 percent support a 24-hour waiting period prior to an abortion; and
• 76 percent support parental notification for minors’ abortions.
None of these commonsense regulations overwhelmingly supported by voters would be permitted under the abortion expansion plan.

“These poll results should send a strong message to government officials: New Yorkers, even those who self-identify as ‘pro-choice,’ don’t want more abortion in the state,” said Kathleen M. Gallagher, director of pro-life activities for the New York State Catholic Conference. “The public desires prudent and reasonable regulations on the abortion procedure. New Yorkers want abortion to be truly rare. Politicians promoting the radical agenda of groups like Planned Parenthood and Naral are out of step with everyday New Yorkers, be they Republican or Democrat.”

The survey was paid for by the New York City-based Chiaroscuro Foundation. The Catholic Conference represents New York State’s Bishops in matters of public policy.