While the pro-life movement has racked up victories in the courts and legislative bodies, it appears to be losing the battle for public opinion on abortion.
According to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, 60% of Americans say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, the highest it has been since that poll was first conducted in 1995.
The June 28 to July 1 poll of 1,008 U.S. adults asked, “Do you think abortion should be legal in all cases, legal in most cases, illegal in most cases or illegal in all cases?” The margin of error for the full sample is 3.5 percentage points.
Twenty-seven percent answered abortion should be legal in all cases, 33% said legal in most cases, 22% said illegal in most cases, and 14% said illegal in all cases. Only 4% had no opinion.
The same question was polled four other times, according to The Washington Post, and the only other time that support for legal abortion polled that high was 1995, when the combined “legal in all cases” and “legal in most cases” was also 60%. In 2001, that number was 53%, followed by 51% (the lowest) in 2009, and 55% in 2013.
In the new poll, among the most pro-life (illegal in most or all cases) were conservative Republicans (61%) and white evangelicals (62%). The strong pro-choicers (legal in most or all cases) included those with no religion (85%) and liberal Democrats (79%).
Polling on abortion tends to be sensitive to question wording, but Gallup polls using a different question wording show a similar trend of increased support for the most pro-choice position.
Since 1976, Gallup has been polling abortion views with this question: “Do you think abortions should be legal under any circumstances, legal only under certain circumstances or illegal in all circumstances?”
In the most recent poll, May 2018, those who believe abortion should be legal in all circumstances was close to an all-time high at 29%. Gallup also shows a general upward trendsince July 2009, which matched an all-time low of 21%.
Polls are not all bad news for pro-lifers, however.
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Source: Christian Post