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Surprise: Even Democrats Oppose U.S. Abortion Laws, Gallup Poll Shows

Michael Foust | Contributor | Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Surprise: Even Democrats Oppose U.S. Abortion Laws, Gallup Poll Shows

Most American adults oppose legalized abortion in the second and trimesters according to a new Gallup survey that shows people who call themselves pro-choice actually disagree with current U.S. abortion laws.

Perhaps surprisingly, even Democrats oppose current abortion laws. 

Under the 1973 Supreme Court decisions Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, abortion was legalized nationwide during all stages of pregnancy, and for effectively any reason. U.S. abortion law remains among the most liberal in the Western world. For example, the Netherlands bans abortion after viability, which is defined as 24 weeks.

Gallup found that while 60 percent of Americans back legal abortion in the first trimester, support plummets to 28 percent in the second trimester and 13 percent in the third trimester. Even among Democrats – whose party supports legalized abortion – support for legal abortion in the second trimester is only 46 percent and in the third trimester 18 percent.

Further, only 45 percent of Americans support legal abortion “for any reason” in the first trimester – which currently is allowed.  

The survey, conducted May 1-10 among 1,024 adults, also found that an equal percentage of Americans (48 percent) call themselves pro-choice or pro-life.

Gallup also asked Americans their thoughts on specific reasons an abortion might be performed in the third trimester. Although 75 percent supported third trimester abortion when the mother’s life is in danger and 52 percent backed it in cases of rape and incest, fewer supported third trimester abortions in other circumstances:

  • 48 percent backed it if the baby would be born with a life-threatening illness.
  • 35 percent if the baby would be born mentally disabled.
  • 29 percent if the baby would be born with Down syndrome.
  • 20 percent if the woman did not want the child “for any reason.”

Additionally, less than half of Americans (49 percent) support abortion in the first trimester for Down syndrome. 


Michael Foust is a freelance writer. Visit his blog,

Photo courtesy: ©Thinkstock/stevanovicigor

Publication date: June 13, 2018