New poll confirms (again) that most Americans want limits on abortion

abortion, pro-life

A new poll on U.S. abortion opinions and attitudes conducted by the Penn Program on Opinion Research and Election Studies (PORES) and SurveyMonkey largely confirms what previous polling has demonstrated. Specifically, most Americans support some limits when it comes to abortion, and many hold conflicting opinions on the subject. 

Support for legal first-trimester abortion was shown to be fairly broad. When the nearly 22,000 Americans polled were asked whether a pregnant woman should “be able to legally have an abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy under any circumstance, as a matter of choice,” 59% answered yes while the remaining 41% answered no. Broken down along political party lines, Democrats answered 82% yes/18% no; Independents answered 61% yes/39% no; and Republicans answered 32% yes/68% no (emphasis added).

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However, even though that question specified that the abortion might occur “under any circumstance,” when certain specific qualifying circumstances were introduced in other questions, support for legal first-trimester abortion declined.

For example, one question asked: “Do you think a pregnant woman should be able to legally have an abortion if in the first trimester of pregnancy, she is unmarried, and the father objects to her having an abortion?” In response to this question, the total response was 56% yes/44% no, a 3% reduction in support from the “under any circumstance” question. Democrat support dropped by 5% (77% yes/23% no), and Independent support declined by 2% (59% yes/41% no), while Republican support remained unchanged.

If the hypothetical pregnant woman were married and the father objected, support for legal first-trimester abortion declined even further. The total response to this question was 52% in favor, 49% opposed, a 7% decline in support from the “under any circumstance” question. Democrat support declined by 8% (74% yes/26% no); Independent support dropped by 7% (54% yes/46% no); and Republican support declined by 6% (26% yes/74% no).

While most Americans supported legal first-trimester abortion, most opposed legal abortion in the second and third trimesters. This is consistent with what other polling data has shown.

When asked whether women should “be able to legally have an abortion in the second or third trimester of pregnancy under any circumstance, as a matter of choice,” only 34% of Americans answered yes, with 66% answering no. As with other questions, answers varied widely by political party: Democrat response breakdown was 54% yes/46% no; Independents responded 34% yes/66% no; Republicans responded 14% yes/86% no.

Polling has consistently demonstrated that Americans support limits on abortion. This poll adds to that body of evidence, even as some states are enacting extreme new abortion laws.

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