Poll Shows Support for Abortion Drops to Seven-Year Low, Pro-Life Views Up
by Steven Ertelt
June 16, 2008
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A new poll conducted by ABC News and the Washington Post shows support for abortion dropping to a seven year low. The survey also found the percentage of Americans who take a pro-life position on abortion is tied for its highest level during that same time period.
The poll asks what pro-life advocates consider a misleading question — with respondents asked to determine if they want abortion legal in all or most cases or illegal in all or most cases.
However, the survey doesn’t tell respondents who think most abortions involve the rare circumstances of rape, incest or the life of the mother that they constitute less than 1-2 percent of all abortions.
As a result, some pro-life respondents erroneously say they want most abortions to remain legal.
Still, the results are instructive and they found 53 percent of Americans want most or all abortions legal and 44 percent want all or most abortions illegal.
The pro-abortion side experienced a four percent drop from the same poll in January while the pro-life side saw an increase of four percent.
Other than a December 2007 poll showing 53 percent, the pro-abortion side hasn’t been as low since an August 2001 poll found 49 percent of Americans took a pro-abortion position.
Polls with more accurately-worded questions, determining exactly when Americans say abortions should be legal or not, find a split in favor of the pro-life position.
A January 2007 CBS News poll found a majority of Americans want to prohibit abortions in all or most cases or want greater restrictions on abortions. The poll results are consistent with the results from 2006 when more than half of those polled wanted to make abortion illegal all or most of the time.
The poll was conducted from January 18-21 and it surveyed 1,168 adults nationwide.
The survey asked respondents to give their "personal feeling" about abortion and asked them whether they wanted abortion to be always permitted, subject to greater restrictions, allowed only in cases of rape, incest or saving the life of the mother, or only allowed to save the life of the mother.
CBS News did not ask respondents whether they thought abortion should never be allowed, although it tabulated the results of those who volunteered that answer.
According to the CBS News poll, 47 percent of Americans want to prohibit all or most abortions and 16 percent want them to be greatly restricted.
About 30 percent of those polled want to limit abortions to the very rare cases of rape, incest or life of the mother and another 12 percent want abortions allowed only in when the pregnancy threatens the mother’s life. Another 5 percent said abortions should always be illegal.
Just 31 percent of the public wants to permit abortion in all cases.
Meanwhile, a May Gallup poll finds just 28 percent of Americans take a pro-abortion position on the question of when abortions should be allowed. Another 71 percent of Americans either want all abortions to be illegal or want them limited to certain rare circumstances.