Gallup Survey Shows a Majority of Teens are Pro-Life

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 21, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Gallup Survey Shows Teens Hold Strong Pro-Life Views

by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 21, 2003

Washington, DC ( — According to a new Gallup Youth Survey, most teens (aged 13 to 17) do not consider abortion to be a morally acceptable choice and oppose the use of abortion in most circumstances.

Some 72 percent of American teenagers agree that abortion is morally wrong while only 26 find abortion morally acceptable.

When asked, 32 percent of teens said abortions should be illegal in all circumstances, and 47 percent said abortions should only be legal under certain circumstances. Less than one in five (19%) say abortion should always be legal.

Those numbers are promising and they show teens are much more pro-life than are adults.

Almost twice as many teens thought abortions should never be legal as only 17 percent of adults say that should be the case. About 55 percent of adults say abortion ought to be legal under certain circumstances while some 26 percent of adults in the U.S. say abortion should always be legal.

As is the case with adults, churchgoing teens are more likely to agree that abortion ought to be illegal or only legal in rare circumstances.

Teens who do not attend church are more likely to find abortion morally acceptable. Only 12 percent of churchgoing teens say abortion is morally acceptable compared with 38% who do not attend church. Churchgoing teenagers are much more likely (40 percent to 26 percent) to believe abortion should be illegal in all circumstances.

The findings mirror other research of recent years showing that teens are more pro-life than other adults.

Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said such findings are an "encouraging sign" that eventually will lead to "victory" for the pro-life cause.

"We’re winning the struggle for hearts and minds," he told Baptist Press. "The young people are more conservative than their parents."

The Gallup Youth Survey is conducted via an Internet methodology provided by Knowledge Networks, using an online research panel that is designed to be representative of the entire U.S. population.

The current questionnaire was completed by 517 respondents, aged 13 to 17, between Aug. 1 and Aug. 29, 2003. For results based on the total sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is +-5 percentage points.