by Steven Ertelt
January 5, 2006
Hamilton, NY (LifeNews.com) — A new national poll finds high school seniors take a pro-life position on abortion saying it’s morally wrong and supporting legislative proposals that would limit abortions and help women find alternatives. The poll also found 72 percent of females in the class of 2006 would not consider an abortion if they became pregnant.
The Hamilton College poll found a majority of high school seniors do not believe abortions should be allowed for sociological reasons such as when women are too poor to afford another child or unable to have a baby at the time.
Studies from the Alan Guttmacher Institute, the research arm of Planned Parenthood, find approximately 95 percent of all abortions are done for such reasons, while less than 5 percent are for rape or incest or to save the life of the mother.
When asked, some 67 percent of high school seniors said abortion is either always (23%) or usually (44%) morally wrong. Just 31 percent said it was a morally correct decision.
Slightly less than half of the teens polled said abortions should be allowed when a woman is under 18 and unmarried or when the baby will have a serious birth defect. Just 40 percent said abortions should be allowed for poor women and only 29 percent said abortions should be allowed when a woman doesn’t want more children.
Some 72 percent of teen girls say they would not consider an abortion and, of all high school seniors, just 13 percent would counsel a pregnant friend to consider an abortion. Some 54 percent of seniors say they would suggest adoption and 26 percent say they would encourage a pregnant friend to keep her baby.
Meanwhile, 69 percent of the male teens surveyed said they would not want their partner to consider an abortion.
The Hamilton College poll also find high school students are no strangers to the issue of abortion. Half the females and 36 percent of the males polled say they know someone who
has had an abortion.
On whether abortions should be legal or illegal, the poll find females were slightly more inclined to oppose legal abortions. White teens were more pro-life than blacks, which contradicts polls of adults on the issue.
Evangelical Christians were much more likely to oppose abortion than teens from Catholic of mainline Protestant backgrounds. High school seniors with non-Christian religious views were overwhelmingly in favor of abortions.
Churchgoers, Republicans, and residents of the South and Central parts of the country were also more likely to be pro-life.
The poll found 62 percent of seniors want the Supreme Court to keep Roe v. Wade in place but gave respondents inaccurate information about the decision. The Hamilton College poll told those surveyed that the decision "guaranteed women the right to get an abortion in the first three months of pregnancy" — though it actually allowed abortions throughout pregnancy for virtually any reason.
According to the poll two-thirds of high school seniors would require parental consent before a girl under 18 could get an abortion.
Sociology students at Hamilton College, in conjunction with the Zogby International polling firm, surveyed 1,000 high school seniors by phone and the survey has a 3 percent margin of error. The poll is the seventh in a series of polls over the years of students views on public policy issues.