A new abortion poll from the Public Religion Research Institute suggests that most Americans think abortions should be widely legal.
But the results do not match with other abortion-related polls that have found strong opposition to abortion on demand.
The Huffington Post reports PRRI interviewed more than 40,000 Americans in all 50 states for its research. It found that 54 percent believe abortions should be legal in all or most cases, while 40 percent believe they should be illegal in all or most cases. The question didn’t define what cases — making it unclear exactly in what situations Americans support or oppose abortion.
“These numbers are essentially unchanged since 2014,” according to the polling group.
The results are being heralded by abortion activists and liberal news outlets (the Huffington Post headline reads, “Most Americans Don’t Want A Total Ban On Abortion”) to try to add validity to their radical pro-abortion agenda. Abortion activists also like to brag about polls showing strong public support for Roe v. Wade – though they never mention that most Americans don’t know what the infamous abortion case actually did.
Other polls this year from Gallup, Marist University, The Hill and Harvard University show very different results. In each case, a majority of Americans support substantial abortion limits.
Gallup, for example, polls on similar questions every year. Its latest poll, released in June, found that 60 percent of Americans want all (21 percent) or almost all (39 percent) abortions made illegal. In contrast, 38 percent said they want all (25 percent) or almost all (13 percent) abortions legal.
That is a full 20 percentage-point difference from PRRI’s findings. One possible reason for the difference may be who the pollsters asked. According to the Catholic News Service, PRRI interviewers asked to speak to the youngest adult living in the household. Another possibility could have to do with the Unitarian Universalist Veatch Program at Shelter Rock and the Nathan Cummings Foundation, two pro-abortion groups that provided funding for the poll, according to the poll group.
Other polls align with the Gallup findings. In the spring, a Hill-HarrisX survey found that 55 percent of voters said they do not think heartbeat laws are too restrictive – even though they would ban almost all abortions, according to The Hill.
Similarly, a Harvard CAPS/Harris poll found that just 6 percent of Americans said abortions should be allowed “up until the birth of the child.”
And in the winter, Marist University research found that just 13 percent of Americans support abortion at any time during pregnancy. In contrast, 58 percent said they would like abortions to be allowed, at most, in cases of rape, incest and risks to the mother’s life, and an additional 22 percent would limit abortions to the first trimester. That is a full 80 percent of Americans who disagree with abortion activists’ agenda.
Meanwhile, another 2019 abortion poll found 58% of Americans want all or almost all abortions made illegal.
A poll conducted by the Morning Consult research firm finds most Americans want abortions to be made illegal either in all cases or in very rare cases such as rape or incest or win the pregnancy directly threatens the life of the mother. Those cases constitute less than 2 or 3% of all abortions, meaning that most Americans support making virtually all abortions illegal.
The PRRI survey did find some interesting results among various demographics. According to the report, white evangelical Protestants and Hispanic Catholics are shifting more pro-life. Hispanic Americans also were the only race/ethnicity group with a majority in opposition to abortions, the poll found.
“The survey also found that the political divide between Republicans and Democrats on this issue has widened over the past few years ― increasing from 28 percentage points in 2014 to 36 percentage points today,” the Huffington Post reports.
Here’s more from PRRI:
Democrats have become three percentage points more supportive of the legality of abortion (up from 67%), while Republicans have become five percentage points less supportive (down from 39%) over the last four years. Notably, this increase in support among Democrats is accompanied by a shift in intensity. The percentage of Democrats who say abortion should be legal in all cases has increased by six percentage points, from 29% in 2014 to 35% today. There is no corresponding shift in intensity among Republicans.
PRRI did find that more Americans oppose (48 percent) taxpayer-funded abortions through government health insurance programs than support them (46 percent).
Students for Life of America President Kristan Hawkins said the PRRI poll suggests a need for better education.
“Pregnancy is not a disease cured by abortion, which harms so many people,” Hawkins said. “Yet for more than 50 years, the abortion lobby has effectively shut down any real discussion of abortion, how it harms women and children, and the fact that it doesn’t empower women to end a life. After an abortion, a woman’s needs for education, economic opportunity, and protection under the law remain the same. We need to empower women with life-affirming options.”