ACLU poll: Most oppose ultrasound before abortion

ACLU poll: Most oppose ultrasound before abortion

CHICAGO — A statewide poll taken for the American Civil Liberties Union says that only one-third of likely Illinois general election voters would support a bill requiring a woman seeking an abortion to undergo and view the results of an ultrasound examination before receiving an abortion.

But such a bill is not currently before Illinois lawmakers.

Last week the House Agriculture Committee instead approved 9-2 a bill (HB 4085) requiring that any physician performing an abortion first would have to offer the pregnant woman the opportunity to view an ultrasound of the unborn baby. The woman would have to sign a form "attesting to her informed decision to accept or decline the offer," according to the wording of the bill.

The impact is almost the same, an ACLU spokesman said.

"The practical result, when you offer someone the opportunity to undergo and look at the ultrasound, is two-fold," said Ed Yohnka, director of communications and public policy for the ACLU. "First of all, the only way you get out of it is signing your name to a piece of paper that goes to the Illinois Department of Public Health, meaning that you are creating a public record that you've had an abortion."

Second, he said, "for many, many people when your doctor says he's offering you this, many people don't push back. They just said, 'Oh, my doctor said this.' And the doctor is only offering it because a politician has told them they have to. They're not doing it because it's medically necessary."

But at last week's House hearing on the bill, state Rep. Joseph Lyons, D-Chicago, called the measure "a pro-choice bill. A woman has the choice to say no. Most women will. This doesn't force this on any woman. It just says, would you like to see the ultrasound?"

Lyons is the sponsor of the bill that also has 19 cosponsors.

In the statewide survey taken Feb. 20-22 (the House hearing on the ultrasound bill occurred on Feb. 21), poll-takers asked: "Now, would you support or oppose a proposed law that would require a woman seeking an abortion to undergo and view an ultrasound examination prior to receiving an abortion?"

Statewide 55 percent of the 524 people interviewed by Fako & Associates of Lisle said they would oppose such a law, 33 percent would support and 13 percent were undecided.

Opposition to the measure was strongest in suburban Cook County (61 percent opposed) and Chicago (60 percent opposed). But even in the more Republican collar counties, opponents outnumbered supporters, 53 percent to 32 percent.

Only in southern Illinois — defined generally as the area south of a line from Danville to Champaign-Urbana and to Springfield — was there support for the legislation. There, 50 percent favored the bill, 39 percent were opposed and 11 percent were undecided.

The counties defined as southern Illinois: Alexander, Bond, Calhoun, Christian, Clark, Clay, Clinton, Coles, Crawford, Cumberland, Douglas, Edgar, Edwards, Effingham, Fayette, Franklin, Gallatin, Greene, Hamilton, Hardin, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Jersey, Johnson, Lawrence, Macon, Macoupin, Madison, Marion, Massac, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Moultrie, Perry, Pike, Pope, Pulaski, Randolph, Richland, Saline, Scott, Shelby, St. Clair, Union, Wabash, Warren, Washington, Wayne, White and Williamson.

Poll-takers also asked if respondents felt it was appropriate for the bill to be considered by the House Agriculture Committee. In every area of the state, the respondents said that was inappropriate, ranging from 78 percent in both southern Illinois and suburban Cook County to 63 percent in Chicago.

Various pieces of ultrasound-related bills "are happening everywhere," Yohnka said.

"That's the one piece of this that one cannot overstate," he said. "This is a national strategy of anti-abortion forces to limit the access that women have to a safe and legal procedure. There's no mystery here."

The ultrasound legislation is now before the full House. Yohnka said he did not want to assume that it would be defeated in a floor vote.

"I think it's dangerous that this even got out of committee. It creates a sense that this is appropriate public policy. It creates a certain sense of urgency," he said. "It's why we put this poll in the field. We knew that once it was sent to the Ag Committee, it stood a very good chance of getting out."

Yohkna declined to say how much the poll cost the ACLU, although he called it "a significant sum. But we thought in this year when you have all these measures happening all across the country, it was appropriate to put together something that really reflected the views of the voters of Illinois."

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gftst wrote on February 28, 2012 at 12:02 pm

Its all in how your pose the question to people and who you pose the question to as far as the result you get. Pro Abortion groups dont want these laws because they know when people see an ultrasound there is no denying what your looking at...a living human baby not a glob of tissue...

scroller wrote on February 28, 2012 at 1:02 pm

These groups are not pro-abortion. There is no one out there saying "Have an abortion, it's great!" However, no one should have control over my body but me. That makes me pro-choice.

ronaldo wrote on February 28, 2012 at 1:02 pm

Then who gets to "control" the body of the baby, the exact baby that the pro-abortion advocates do not want those considering to have the abortion, to see on ultrasound?

scroller wrote on February 28, 2012 at 1:02 pm

The person who created the embryo/fetus should be able to have the right to decide what happens. You think that people are trying to sit there and go "yes, have an abortion." This is not an easy decision for whoever considers this an as option. And the people performing these procedures are educating them on all of their options.

I've never had an abortion, I would never consider getting one, I have even lost a baby, but you can not convince me otherwise that someone else has a right to decide what will happen to my body.

And I know that people feel the same about anti-choice. So maybe instead we work on pregnancy prevention.

ronaldo wrote on February 28, 2012 at 4:02 pm

Excellent answer, except I didn't ask you who should be in control of your body - I asked about the body of the baby.  So, the life of the child should be in the hands of the person who procreated (not to be confused with "created")?

Wow, no wonder we're in such dire shape.


Mark Taylor wrote on February 28, 2012 at 3:02 pm

That's exactly right, Ronaldo. Where did this idea come from that a woman should be able to control her own body? I blame the radical feminists who put ideas in their heads about autonomy and equal worth. What does it matter what they want? Their role in society is to birth the new generation of our children. Sometimes we need to step in and remind them of that role because they just can't seem to remember that on their own. The only thing I don't understand is why they're not grateful for our help in that regard.

DMC wrote on February 28, 2012 at 12:02 pm

The interpretation of the results for question asked by the polling group is misleading.  The question being asked is not about doctors providing "to offer the pregnant woman the opportunity to view an ultrasound," which is what the language of the proposed law is.  It only asks about the woman "being required to have an ultrasound."  This question does not apply to the proposed law under consideration.  Regardless of what people think about the issue, I am disappointed that the News Gazette story is creating an inaccurate account by "blending" the ACLU poll about one issue with a proposed law about a related, but different issue, and presenting the two issues as if they are the same.  This is sloppy journalism and does not serve the public.

allergic to stupid wrote on February 28, 2012 at 1:02 pm

My issue here, though I am pro life, usually women that go to have an abortion have their mind made up before they go. Not only that but on the slim chance they do change their minds, what kind of life would that baby really have? On one side the mother never wanted the child in the first place, and felt guilty so she kept said child. Would the child have a good life? Probably not. that just means that there will be more children in the foster care system, that is already overpopulated. On the other hand, a very slim chance the child has a good life. At what point do you draw the line? Are the risks of having a child hurt or killed really worth it?

*I* personally dont think that anyone should have an abortion. There are how many birth controls out there? If those dont work, than dont have sex. Come on people!