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MSNBC TV
updated 7/15/2013 11:16:59 AM ET 2013-07-15T15:16:59

The two polls show that Americans still struggle with abortion on a personal level, how they believe government should handle it, and are deeply divided by party lines.

Americans support banning abortion after 20 weeks, according to two recent polls: 59% of Americans polled in an opt-in online HuffPost/YouGov poll said they would support a federal ban of abortions after 20 weeks, compared to just 30% who felt it should be legal.

Another poll, this one conducted over the phone by United Technologies/National Journal, found that Americans support banning abortions after 20 weeks 48% to 44%.

The findings show that Americans still struggle with abortion on a personal level and how they believe government should handle it,  they are also deeply divided by party lines. The HuffPost/YouGov poll found that 49% of Americans felt abortion was morally wrong, but 63% of respondents felt the decision should be made by a woman and her doctor.

Abortion rights advocates argue that abortion after 20 weeks is rare and often used to save the mother’s life or prevent the birth of a child with devastating birth defects.

The two polls—conducted in the last month—come as Texas became the 11th state since 2010 to ban abortions after 20 weeks, a move that was nearly killed by a marathon filibuster by State Sen. Wendy Davis, a Democrat, who spoke for 13 hours in hopes of talking the bill to death. She argued against the ban on Morning Joe, saying that she “could never for a moment put myself in the shoes of another woman confronting a difficult personal choice.” The bill Davis filibustered added building code restrictions on clinics and will close nearly all the abortion clinics in the state.

Republicans support banning abortions after 20 weeks by larger margins than Democrats: 59% of Republicans polled by United Technologies/National Journal supported an abortion ban after 20 week, as opposed to 33% of Democrats who supported the ban in the same poll.

As a party, the GOP has begun pivoting their efforts to legislate abortion to those after 20 weeks. The House of Representatives passed a bill banning abortion after 20 weeks last month. On Sunday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he would be open to allowing a vote on the bill, but it is not expected to pass.

Republicans have struggled with their fight against abortion. In March on Morning Joe, Republican National Committee chairman Reince Preibus said the party needed to stop saying “biologically stupid things.”

“It’s not necessarily what you say, it’s how you say it,” Priebus said on Friday’s Morning Joe. “If you go around saying biologically stupid things, and you poison the well, and you create a caricature, or at least you allow a caricature to become reality, I think it hurts your ability to win an election.”

Mississippi Republican Party chair Joe Nosef said Republicans need to address abortion, and not offensive and distracting issues like access to contraception and the definition of rape.

“It’s an issue we have to be able to take on; we have to be able to defend our pro-life position without offending people, without saying stupid things,” Nosef said on Monday’s Morning Joe.

Watch the full discussion below.

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