A new project inspired by a Zogby/O’Leary poll that revealed 71 percent of Americans opposed allowing taxpayer-funded abortions in health care reform legislation is gaining traction quickly.

The campaign, called IAM71.org, is intended to draw attention to the overwhelming majority of Americans who believe tax money should not be used to subsidize the abortion industry.

According to officials with Operation Rescue, the concept began with an idea by Rev. Patrick Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition to put a 100-foot number 71 on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol. The groups worked together on the project, which now has added members of Pro-Life Unity, Generation Life and pro-life columnist Jill Stanek.

Pictures of participants in the ‘I Am 71’ campaign

The figure comes from the a poll conducted by Zogby International and “The O’Leary Report” in December last year that surveyed 2,481 American voters and had a margin of error of 2 percent.

The poll asked: “President-elect Obama has proposed a bill that would force many employers to provide health insurance to their employees. Do you believe that this bill should also require insurance plans pay for abortions when the abortions are performed as a method of birth control?”

The result was a “strong majority” of 71 percent said abortion coverage should not be included in any such bill. Only 20 percent said yes to abortion coverage. Even 53 percent of those who had voted for President Obama only weeks earlier said no.

The same poll also followed up with: “The Hyde Amendment says that federal tax funds may be used to pay for abortions only to save the life of the mother, or in cases of rape or incest. Some lawmakers are proposing to repeal this law, which would result in taxpayer funding of abortions performed as a method of birth control. Do you favor or oppose the repeal of the Hyde Amendment?”

Sixty-nine percent of American voters opposed the repeal, and only 21 percent supported it. Fully half of those who supported Obama the previous month said no.

A recent amendment proposal in Congress to specifically ban abortion funding in the new health-care legislation was rejected by majority Democrats.

“President Obama and Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee are so bent on opening the door to taxpayer-funded abortions that they’re willing to buck their own party’s base,” said O’Leary, “It’s almost as if they are trying to make their health care bill even more unpopular than it already is.”

Other groups involved in the campaign, which posts online pictures of pro-life supporters with a “71” sign, are Rock for Life, Life News and Christianshirts.net.

Operation Rescue’s president, Troy Newman, said, “We plan to make sure that President Obama and every member of Congress is sent a link to these photos so they can put faces on the 71 percent figure that represents the percentage of Americans opposed to tax-funding of abortion in health care legislation currently under consideration.

“We want them to look us in the eye and consider who they represent before they finalize plans to oppose our will on this critical moral issue,” he said.

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