Ignored Abortion Survey: Open Memorandum to The New York Times

Contact:  Bill O’Reilly, 212-396-9117 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Open Memorandum to The New York Times
February 17, 2013
To: The New York Times
From: The Chiaroscuro Foundation
Re: New York State Abortion Survey

Today’s story, “Cuomo Bucks Tide with Bill to Ease Limits on Abortion”, would have been well served by the most current data on the opinions of New Yorkers on the abortion issue.
That data was released publicly by The Chiaroscuro Foundation on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of last week. It is unfortunate that The Times chose not to cite it in its story.
Chiaroscuro went so far as to release the survey’s methodology and crosstabs to provide 100% transparency on how, what, and to whom the questions were asked. The survey, which was conducted by the nationally respected polling firm of McLaughlin and Associates, is available for future use here.
The Times’s insistence on portraying debates about abortion as a sharp contrast between supporters of abortion rights and anti abortion advocates is woefully inadequate and ill informed. While the misnamed “Reproductive Health Act” falls squarely at one extreme of this construct, the views of most Americans and most New Yorkers fall somewhere in the middle of the imagined dichotomy promoted by The Times and others.
A number of data points that would have been highly relevant to your coverage were included in Chiaroscuro’s three news releases sent to The New York Times last week:

  • A substantial majority of New Yorkers believe (78.8%), when they are informed of the number of abortions in New York, believe there is already sufficient access to abortion in New York State.
  • 75% oppose changing the law so that someone other than a doctor can perform surgical abortions;
  • 89% oppose abortions for reducing twins or triplets to a single child, and
  • 92% oppose late-term abortions for sex selection.

New Yorkers favor of restrictions on abortion:

  • * 87% favor providing pregnant mothers information about options before they make a decision;
  • * 78% approve of a 24 hour waiting period;
  • * 76% approve parental notification when a minor seeks an abortion;
  • * 68% approve of providing free medical care to mothers carrying their pregnancy to term, and
  • * 86% favor regulating abortion clinics as strictly as other medical facilities.

Pro-Choice New Yorkers agree:

  • 74% of pro-choice New Yorkers and 77% of New York women overall favoring a 24-hour waiting period before an abortion procedure can be carried out;
  • More than seven in 10 (71%) pro-choice New Yorkers — and 75% of women — favor parental notification before a minor (under 18) can have an abortion, and 70% of pro-choice New Yorkers do not support unrestricted late-term abortion;
  • On the issue of allowing non-doctors to perform surgical abortions in New York — which Governor Cuomo’s Reproductive Health Act bill would permit for the first time — 79% of women disagree with the Governor. Seventy four percent (74%) of “strongly pro-choice” voters think this policy in the Governor’s abortion expansion proposal is wrong.

The Time’s headline: “Cuomo Bucks Tide with Bill to Ease Limits on Abortion” is an accurate one because this governor is clearly bucking the will of a majority of New York voters who see no need  to expand the number or type of abortions in New York.  To the contrary, most New Yorkers think too many abortions are performed every year.
Indeed, it is clear that Governor Cuomo has veered sharply from the mainstream on the issue of abortion. To fully understand that, one need only read Chiaroscuro’s poll released last week. We respectfully ask that you do.
Thank you.

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