More Than 3 in 4 Americans Support Abortion Restrictions, Poll Finds

About 76 percent of Americans support stricter laws on abortion, according to a new Marist Poll, a finding that is part of a consistent trend in data the company has collected in the past decade.

While 51 percent of respondents identified as pro-choice, 60 percent of them said they support limitations on abortions, such as backing a ban on the procedures after 20 weeks of pregnancy and opposing the use of tax dollars to pay for them.

“There is a slight majority in favor of pro-choice,” said Andrew Walther, vice president of the Knights of Columbus, the Catholic service organization that commissioned the annual poll.

But labels of pro-life or pro-choice “don’t quite tell the whole story,” Walther said Wednesday in discussing the results at the National Press Club.

“Interestingly, this also cuts across political lines in ways that might be a little bit surprising,” he said.

About 61 percent of Democrats, 92 percent of Republicans, and 78 percent of Independents said they want significant restrictions on abortion, according to the poll.

Marist Poll and the Knights of Columbus released the results two days before the annual March for Life in Washington.

In conducting the survey, the pollster first asked a binary question, such as whether or not the respondent was pro-life or pro-choice, and then a more detailed and nuanced followup, Barbara Carvalho, director of the Marist Poll, told reporters and others in attendance.

Marist Poll added a new question in this year’s survey asking, “When does life begin?” Answers ranged from “at conception” to “when a baby is born.”

Walther said there is a “fairly interesting divide” between pro-lifers’ and pro-choicers’ views on why people believe life begins at conception.

For those who identify as pro-life, 16 percent said it is “a biological and scientific fact” that life begins at conception, while 45 percent of pro-choice respondents said  “a philosophical or religious belief” drives pro-lifers to believe life begins at conception.

About 42 percent said abortion is a “major factor” in how they vote in elections, and at least 70 percent said it is either a major or minor factor.

The poll found 56 percent see abortion as morally wrong, down from 63 percent in 2008 when Marist Poll first took its annual abortion survey, and 41 percent see abortion as morally acceptable. About 64 percent see abortion as morally wrong when the child has a genetic disorder, and 26 percent see it as morally acceptable.

Asked how President Donald Trump has done with the pro-life movement, Walther answered, “When you look at the polling … some of the actions he’s taken track very very well with where Americans are.”

The Knights of Columbus official cited the so-called Mexico City policy that Trump reinstated last year to ban U.S. aid to overseas abortion providers.

The poll surveyed 2,617 adults 18 and older who live in the continental U.S. during December and  January, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

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Wal-Mart Announces Higher Minimum Wage and Bonuses, Citing Trump Tax Cuts

Wal-Mart announced Thursday it will raise its starting wage to $11 per hour and will give employees a bonus of up to $1,000, crediting the tax cuts signed into law Dec. 22 by President Donald Trump.

Wal-Mart President and CEO Doug McMillon said in a statement the retail giant was “pleased” to announce the wage increase, which will take place beginning in February and will benefit more than 1 million Walmart, Sam’s Club, eCommerce, logistics and home office employees.

The bonuses will be based on the length of employment, with a minimum of $200 for employees with less than two years of experience working at Wal-Mart and a maximum of $1,000  for employees who have worked there for more than 20 years.

The payouts should total around $400 million, according to CNBC.

“Today, we are building on investments we’ve been making in associates, in their wages and skills development,” he said. “It’s our people who make the difference, and we appreciate how they work hard to make every day easier for busy families.”

McMillon added that Wal-Mart is “early in the stages of assessing the opportunities tax reform creates” for it to invest in its customers and associates to “further strengthen” its business.

“Tax reform gives us the opportunity to be more competitive globally and to accelerate plans for the U.S.,” he said, adding that the retailer is especially excited to invest in new technologies to help customers and employees alike.

Trump responded to the announcement by saying it’s “[g]reat news,” adding that it is “a result of our TAX CUTS & JOBS ACT!”

Wal-Mart also announced it will be expanding its paid maternal and parental leave by offering full-time hourly employees 10 weeks of paid maternity leave and six weeks of paid parental leave. Salaried workers will receive the same six weeks of paid parental leave that their hourly counterparts receive, too.

“Families are a priority to us, and connecting with and caring for a new family member is obviously important,” McMillon said.

Prior to these changes, paid maternity leave was eight weeks and paid parental leave was four weeks for full-time hourly workers.

Additionally, Wal-Mart will contribute $5,000 toward the cost of adoption, which on average ranges from about $34,000 to $40,000. The $5,000 can be used for adoption-agency fees, translation fees, and legal or court costs.

“I’m proud of our progress, and we have momentum. Let’s build on that in 2018,” McMillon said.

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Rate of Imprisonment For Black Adults Falls 29% Over Decade

The rate of imprisonment for black adults fell almost 30 percent over a decade, according to a Wednesday report from the Department of Justice.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics released its statistics on the United States prison population and the rate of imprisonment among different groups, according to a release from the Bureau. Among its findings was that black Americans’ rate of imprisonment declined by 29 percent between 2006 and 2016.

“During the decade between 2006 and 2016, the rate of imprisonment decreased 29 percent for black adults, 15 percent for white adults and 20 percent for Hispanic adults,” the report read.

The Bureau also noted that the prison rate also declined across the board for Hispanics, non-Hispanic white people and non-Hispanic black Americans during the period of 2015-2016.

“The imprisonment rate decreased for non-Hispanic adult black, non-Hispanic adult white and adult Hispanic prisoners from 2015 to 2016. The rate of imprisonment decreased 4 percent for black adults (from 1,670 to 1,608 per 100,000), 2 percent for white adults (from 281 to 274 per 100,000) and 1 percent for adult Hispanic prisoners (from 862 to 856 per 100,000),” a press release read.

A recent study argued that the United States was keeping people in prison for too long and suggested the country get rid of its life without parole sentences.

“Everyone deserves a meaningful chance of release,” the Urban Institute study said. “People should not be forever judged solely based on their crime but should instead be evaluated based on who they are now.”

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Who ‘Dreamers’ Really Are and Why They Cost $26B Over 10 Years

Giving amnesty to “Dreamers”—young adults brought to the U.S. illegally as children—would create a deficit of about $26 billion over 10 years, according to a report last month from the Congressional Budget Office.

“If we want to save taxpayers’ money, probably the best strategy is to enforce the law and encourage those here illegally to return to their home countries.”—@wwwCISorg’s Steven Camarota

In a video released Monday, the Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies details costs presented in the government report.

Steven Camarota, the center’s research director, clarifies in the video that “Dreamers—who were allowed to stay in the country under the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program—are not necessarily college students, as some advocates present them.

Camarota notes that nothing in DACA, which the Trump administration is winding down in favor of action by Congress, “actually requires” that beneficiaries attend college.

“The Congressional Budget Office estimated that about one-third of the [DACA] adults … have not even graduated high school, and only about 15 percent have at least two years of college,” Camarota says, adding that “54.1 percent of households headed by native-born Hispanics access one or more of the welfare programs, and they tend to have poverty rates about twice as high as the general population.”

As Democrats and Republicans fight over the future of this population of illegal immigrants estimated at over 800,000, President Donald Trump tweeted Tuesday that his position is clear: There will be no DACA “fix” if there is no secure U.S.-Mexico border wall.

Some observers say congressional Democrats’ firm stance for amnesty could lead to a government shutdown as a Jan. 19 funding deadline looms.

“If we want to save taxpayers’ money, probably the best strategy is to enforce the law and encourage those here illegally to return to their home countries,” Camarota says in the video.

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