Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Gallup 2011 Poll: More Americans Now Pro-Choice than Pro-Life

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The latest Gallup poll shows that more than half of all Americans are opposed to abortion in all or most cases. Overall, however, the latest poll is the first time since 2008 that more Americans have classified themselves as pro-choice than pro-life.

According to the poll, while 49 percent of the nation classifies itself as pro-choice, and 45 percent identify themselves as pro-life, 61 percent believe that abortion should be legal in limited or no circumstances, while 37 percent want it legal in all circumstances.

Likewise, when asked if abortion is a moral choice, 51 percent of those surveyed responded that it is not, while a minority (39 percent) believe it is a “morally acceptable” choice.

The Blaze remarks on the poll:

The pattern here is certainly a bit cyclical, though it seems like America is becoming slightly more conservative on the issue. Despite a greater proportion of Americans claiming that they are pro-choice, a majority prefers limitations on the circumstances in which abortion is permissible.

Interestingly, Gallup notes that views vary depending more on the generation and political party, not gender: "Men and women are nearly identical in their views about the legality and morality of abortion, as well as in the percentage labeling themselves as 'pro-choice' vs. 'pro-life.' "

By contrast, adults 55 and older have somewhat more conservative views on abortion than do young and middle-aged Americans. This is most pronounced with respect to the abortion labels. A majority of adults under 55 call themselves "pro-choice," while about half of those 55 and older say they are "pro-life."

Notably, adults 18 to 34 are neither more nor less supportive of abortion rights than those aged 35 to 54.

Predictably, more Republicans classify themselves as pro-life than do Democrats. Additionally, 51 percent of Independents are pro-choice, while 41 percent call themselves pro-life. However, among Independents, 60 percent believe abortion should be legal in only a few or no circumstances.

According ABC News, between 2000 and 2008 the abortion rate in the United States decreased 8 percent, but the rate of abortions has increased by 18 percent among the poorest women.

Rachel Jones of New York City’s Guttmacher Institute (a semi-autonomous division of The Planned Parenthood Federation of America) explained what could be driving that trend:

In the middle of a recession, it’s possible women have reduced access to contraception and have more unintended pregnancies. It’s also possible that women confronted with unplanned pregnancies when they are out of work decide to have abortions, even though they might have carried it to term in more stable times.

Overall, the rate of abortion has steadily decreased since 1990. Jones attributes this trend to increased access to contraception as well as a fewer number of teens engaged in sexual activity.

Still, experts estimate that one in three women in the United States will have undergone an abortion before the age of 45. A 2006 study published by Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health indicates that half of all pregnancies in America are unintended — and that half of these end in abortions.

Photo: Pro-life protesters make a silent demonstration in front of the United States Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.

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