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Americans Show Rising Support for Abortion Rights: Poll

Results of Harris Interactive/HealthDay survey run counter to states' recent efforts to curb access

NORWALK, Conn., USA (July 26, 2011) – Despite recent moves by some states to restrict access to abortion, more Americans now support a woman's right to choose than they did two years ago, a new Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll finds.

Nearly one-quarter (23 percent) of those polled in 2009 supported the idea that a woman should have access to abortion in "all circumstances." But that number has risen to 36 percent in 2011 -- the highest proportion seen in Harris polls on the issue since 1985.

At the same time, the percentage of Americans opposed to abortion under any circumstances fell from 21 percent in 2009 to 17 percent this year.

The poll also found that almost half of U.S. adults (47 percent) favored permitting abortion under "some [but not all] circumstances," a slight dip from the 53 percent observed in 2009.

Although the poll’s demographics are similar to 2009, the most recent study was done exclusively online, which can have some implications for sensitive topics such as abortion.

"Despite the current trend of fiscal conservatism in the United States stemming from the economic downturn, Americans overall remain socially moderate on abortion rights," said Jennifer Colamonico, senior vice president for healthcare research at Harris Interactive, which conducted the online survey of nearly 2,400 adults at the beginning of July.

The poll results come against the backdrop of recent moves by some states to restrict access to abortion. These include legislation banning insurance coverage for abortion in the health insurance exchanges created as part of last year's federal health care reform; requirements that all women who are considering an abortion get an ultrasound first; and cutting public funding for Planned Parenthood. In some states, such as Indiana, Iowa, Kansas and North Carolina, some of these moves have already been implemented, according to published reports.

The poll included 2,362 U.S adults over age 18 who were surveyed online between July 6 to 8, 2011, by Harris Interactive, one of the world's leading custom market research firms, and HealthDay, a leading producer and syndicator of health news.

The complete findings of the newest joint Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll are available here.  HealthDay's news report is available here. Full data on the poll and its methodology are available at Harris Interactive.

About HealthDay

HealthDay, a division of Scout News LLC, is a leading producer and syndicator of evidence-based health news for consumers and physicians and is the largest syndicator of that news to Internet sites. Its consumer health news service (www.healthday.com) appears on more than 5,000 websites such as Yahoo!, MSN, iVillage, US News & World Report, Everyday Health, RightHealth, RealAge, Healthfinder.gov, MedlinePlus, hundreds of hospitals and hospital group websites, as well as print publication websites across the country. HealthDay also produces Physician's Briefing (www.physiciansbriefing.com); a news service for physicians, nurses and other medical professionals that is updated twice daily providing 15 articles a day across 32 medical specialties. HealthDay also provides custom content for major health portals. The newest addition to the HealthDay portfolio is HealthDay TV -- a 90-second news broadcast of essential health information that appears on several major media websites, US government websites and other health information sites.

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us - and our clients - stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.

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