Sixty percent of Americans say abortion should be illegal in all or most circumstances, according to a new Gallup survey that also found adults holding contradictory views on the subject.
It’s the highest percentage since 2011 of Americans opposing abortion most or all of the time.
Gallup asked Americans whether they believe abortion should be illegal “in all circumstances,” in most circumstances, legal “under most circumstances” or legal “under any circumstances.”
Twenty-one percent say abortion should be illegal in all circumstances and 39 percent say it should be illegal under most circumstances, for a combined total of 60 percent. It’s the highest total since 2011 when it was 61 percent.
Meanwhile, 49 percent of Americans consider themselves pro-life (the highest percentage since 2012) and 48 percent say they’re pro-choice. Not since 2013 has the percentage of pro-lifers outnumbered pro-choicers.
Still, the public remains conflicted about the legality of abortion, if not confused. That’s because the same sample that favors more restrictions on abortion also supports Roe v. Wade – the decision that prohibits most restrictions.
A total of 60 percent of Americans oppose overturning Roe v. Wade while 33 percent say it should be overturned. Roe and its companion Doe v. Bolton decision legalized abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy, for virtually any reason. Young adults ages 18-34 are the most likely to want to see Roe overturned (37 percent), compared to 31 percent of those ages 35-54 and 31 percent of adults 65 and older who want Roe overturned.
Additionally, 58 percent of Americans say they oppose laws “that would ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, usually around the sixth week of pregnancy.” Forty percent support such laws.
But pro-lifers have the edge for the election: 35 percent of pro-lifers say they will vote only for candidates who share their views, compared to 26 percent of pro-choice adults who answer that way. Both are increases from 2016 when it was 23 percent of pro-lifers and 17 percent of pro-choicers who said they’d only support like-minded candidates.
“The matter continues to be more important as a voting issue to pro-life than pro-choice adults,” Gallup said in its analysis.
The poll was conducted May 1-12 among 1,009 adults.
Michael Foust is a freelance writer. Visit his blog, MichaelFoust.com.
Photo courtesy: Edward Cisneros/Unsplash
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, The Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.