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Record percentage of Americans consider abortion 'morally acceptable' in new poll

Abortion
Pro-abortion protesters and pro-life activists jostle with their signs as they demonstrate in the hopes of a ruling in their favor on decisions at the Supreme Court building in Washington, U.S. June 20, 2016. |

Almost half of Americans consider abortion to be “morally acceptable,” the highest percentage to think so in the past 20 of surveying the question, according to a new report by Gallup.

In the report released Wednesday, Gallup found that 47% of surveyed Americans view abortion as “morally acceptable,” the largest percentage recorded by Gallup since it began recording data on the question in 2001.

By contrast, 46% of surveyed Americans said they believe that abortion is “morally wrong,” or 10 percentage points less than the 56% of respondents who said the same in 2009.

“Americans have been typically more inclined to say abortion is morally wrong than morally acceptable, though the gap has narrowed in recent years,” wrote Gallup Research Consultant Megan Brenan.

“The average gap has been five points since 2013 (43% morally acceptable and 48% morally wrong), compared with 11 points between 2001 and 2012 (39% and 50%, respectively).”

Data for the report came from a Gallup poll conducted between May 3 and May 18 of a random sample of 1,016 adults living in the United States. The poll has a sampling error margin of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

When broken down by political leanings, the survey shows that Democrats (64%) and political independents (51%) are more likely to say that abortion is morally acceptable. Meanwhile, only 26% of Republican respondents hold that same opinion. 

In 2001, 48% of Democrats and 50% of independents said they believe abortion is morally acceptable. 

Forty-nine percent of respondents said they identify as "pro-choice," and 47% said they identify as "pro-life." 

"Since 1998, an average 47% of U.S. adults have considered themselves pro-choice and 46% pro-life," Brenan explained. "Between 1995 and 1997, the public tilted more pro-choice (52%) than pro-life (38%), on average."

The survey also found that 67% of Americans either support limits on abortion or an outright ban, while 32% believe it should be legal “under any circumstances.”

“The nearly one-third of U.S. adults who support fully legal abortions is the highest such percentage since the early to mid-1990s, when it was consistently at that level,” Brennan continued.

In May, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments in a case related to whether Mississippi can ban abortions that would occur before fetal viability.

At issue is a state law, passed in 2018, that bans abortions under most circumstances 15 weeks into a pregnancy, weeks before a baby can survive outside the womb.

Pro-lifers are hopeful that a conservative majority on the high court could use the case to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which concluded that abortion was a constitutionally protected right and struck down state bans on abortions. 

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the national pro-life grassroots organization Susan B. Anthony List, said in a statement to The Christian Post last month that she believes the case is “a landmark opportunity for the Supreme Court to recognize the right of states to protect unborn children from the horrors of painful late-term abortions.”

“Across the nation, state lawmakers acting on the will of the people have introduced 536 pro-life bills aimed at humanizing our laws and challenging the radical status quo imposed by Roe,” continued Dannenfelser.

“It is time for the Supreme Court to catch up to scientific reality and the resulting consensus of the American people as expressed in elections and policy.”

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