New Study on Abortion Policies Reveals Surprising Common Ground

In the Program for Public Consultation’s latest groundbreaking survey, an overwhelming bipartisan majority of 84% took the position that abortion should not be made a crime before the fetus is viable (22-24 weeks).

Americans evaluated options for criminalizing abortion and were informed that making abortion a crime means punishing the woman or the doctor with prison time and/or major fines. They also evaluated policies to support strategies to reduce abortions through non-criminal means.

A majority of 58% favored not making any abortion a crime (58%), including majorities of Democrats (70%) and independents (64%), as well as four-in-ten Republicans (42%). Another 27% favored making abortion a crime only after the fetus is viable, including 20% of Democrats and 35% of Republicans.

Combining those two responses reveals a bipartisan consensus to not criminalize abortion before fetal viability (84%, Republicans 77%, Democrats 90%). Criminalizing abortion at all stages of pregnancy was favored by just 14% of voters, including just 17% in states with full abortion bans. 

Policies that seek to reduce abortions by decreasing unintended pregnancies were favored by overwhelming bipartisan majorities:

  • requiring public schools to provide education about birth control (78%, Republicans 71%, Democrats 86%)
  • continuing the mandate that most insurance plans cover long-term birth control (82%, Republicans 76%, Democrats 90%)
  • subsidizing long-term birth control for low-income and uninsured women (78%, Republicans 69%, Democrats 87%).

Policies to reduce abortions by discouraging women against getting one or making it harder were favored by majorities overall, but less than half of Democrats:

  • requiring women to view an ultrasound of the fetus before the abortion (58%, Republicans 69%, Democrats 48%)
  • continuing to restrict federal funds from being used for abortions, per the Hyde Amendment (54%, Republicans 69%, Democrats 42%)
  • requiring women wait 1-3 days between getting approved for an abortion and being provided one (53%, Republicans 64%, Democrats 44%).

These new bipartisan-supported policies bring VOP’s active list of common ground proposals to nearly 180. 

Views In States with Abortion Bans

Large majorities of respondents in states with laws that criminalize abortion before viability do not support such a ban.Among voters in the 15 states which have made abortion a felony crime at all stages of pregnancy, just 17% support a full abortion ban, including just a quarter of Republicans. Among voters in Florida, which has a 15-week ban, just 34% support such a ban.

Exciting New Partnership with Democracy App, ActiVote

Voice of the People is partnering with the democracy app, Activote, to bring our innovative policymaking simulations on policy proposals before Congress to its thousands of users. Our simulations will be used as daily actions to educate citizens on policy questions before their representatives. They will also have an opportunity to share their views directly with their Members of Congress. You can start learning more about democracy by downloading the app. If you would like to try it out first, you can go through our substance abuse and treatment simulation on their platform

Government Role in Abortion

Put yourself in the shoes of policymakers by trying our policymaking simulation on how the government should handle abortion policy and whether it should make abortion a crime, punishable with prison time or fines. In this simulation, you’ll get a briefing about the issue, learn the arguments for and against criminalizing women and doctors,, and register your views. Once you finish the simulation, you’ll have a chance to send your recommendations to your Congresspeople.

Threat to Democracy: Disconnect Between Public Will and Public Policy

David Leonhardt, in his recent New York Times essay, identifies one of the biggest threats to democracy in the U.S.: “The power to set government policy is becoming increasingly disconnected from public opinion.” The will of the majority, while never fully represented in America, has been completely ignored by some of our major institutions (e.g. the Supreme Court) or made irrelevant by some of our democratic processes (e.g. gerrymandering and the Electoral College). The growing lack of representation in democracy is not just a U.S. problem, Leonhardt points out, but is happening simultaneously in many democracies across the world as citizens lose faith that their government works for the people as a whole. If the U.S. and other nations want to continue to have democratic and stable societies, he argues, they must find ways to connect the public will to public policy. 

Citizen-Led Planning in an Italian City

A small Italian city, Regalbuto, that has been struggling for years, decided to turn to their citizens for help in developing a plan for their future. They used a citizen-engagement program called BioDiverCities, in which local officials engage with both stakeholders and the general public to determine priorities and plans. The idea is that the general public can provide unique insight and guidance beyond that offered by local experts or special interests, due to their diversity of experiences and perspectives of the city. Since Regalbuto began this project, ten percent of their citizens have become involved. Engaging the public has also given people more confidence in their democracy. According to one of the leaders, Medea Ferrigno, this democratic project has made the citizens there “feel more empowered to lead the changes the town needs.”  

Voice of the People has identified nearly 180 positions on which Democrats and Republicans agree. Find out more at