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Poll: 56 Percent Of Americans Want Abortions Banned After 20 Weeks

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Anti-abortion protesters attend the March for Life on Jan. 25, 2013 in Washington, D.C. (credit: Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)

Anti-abortion protesters attend the March for Life on Jan. 25, 2013 in Washington, D.C. (credit: Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — A new poll indicates that a majority of Americans believe that abortions should be banned after 20 weeks.

According to a Washington Post/ABC News poll, 56 percent of Americans would rather have abortions legal without restrictions up to 20 weeks. Twenty-seven percent of those who responded said they would prefer to uphold the current 24-week threshold.

The poll comes after some states passed more restrictive abortion laws.

In Texas last week Gov. Rick Perry signed sweeping new abortion restrictions that could shutter most of the state’s clinics that provide the procedure, a final step for the Republican-backed measure after weeks of sometimes raucous protests at the state Capitol.

“Today, we celebrate the further cementing of the foundation on which the culture of life in Texas is built upon,” Perry said last Thursday. “It is our responsibility and duty to give voice to the unborn individuals.”

The law restricts abortions to surgical centers and requires doctors who work at abortion clinics to have hospital admitting privileges. Only five of the 42 abortion clinics in Texas — the nation’s second-largest state — currently meet those new requirements. Clinics will have a year to either upgrade their facilities or shut down after the law takes effect in October.

The law also bans abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy, based on the disputed notion that fetuses can feel pain at that point of development, and dictates when abortion-inducing drugs can be taken.

Supporters argue the new law will ensure high-quality health care for women, but opponents view it as over-regulation intended to make abortions harder to obtain.

On Monday a federal judge temporarily blocked a new North Dakota law that bans abortion when a fetal heartbeat is detected — as early as six weeks into pregnancy, calling the law “clearly invalid and unconstitutional.”

U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland in Bismarck granted a temporary injunction that blocks the Aug. 1 enactment of the law that abortion rights advocates call the most restrictive in the nation.

“There is no question that (the North Dakota law) is in direct contradiction to a litany of United States Supreme Court cases addressing restraints on abortion,” Hovland wrote. ” (It) is clearly an invalid and unconstitutional law based on the United States Supreme Court precedent in Roe v. Wade from 1973 … and the progeny of cases that have followed.”

Despite a majority of Americans who back 20-week abortion bans, 55 percent believe that abortions should be legal in all or most cases, while only 41 percent said it should be illegal.

The poll surveyed 1,002 Americans between July 18 and July 21.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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