Americans are divided on whether to allow abortions. While many accept women who decide to have abortions, a
majority believes the procedure is morally wrong.
A disturbing Gallup poll released Monday reveals
that for the first time since 2008, more Americans consider
themselves “pro-choice” than “pro-life,” with 49 percent
identifying themselves as the former and 45 percent the latter.
The good news is there seems to be more of a consensus on the morality issue. Fifty-one percent say abortion is
“morally wrong,” while only 39 percent say it is “morally
acceptable.” These numbers are consistent with Americans’ views
The poll also asks “if abortion
should be legal under any circumstances, legal only under certain
circumstances or illegal in all circumstances.” This question
is Gallup’s longest-running measure of American’s views on abortion.
The poll indicates that Americans are rather conservative in their
answers, with 61 percent believing abortion should be legal in “only
a few circumstances or no circumstances.” On the other hand, 37
percent think abortion should be legal “in all or most
Pro-life groups are sure to use these
statistics to their advantage in their attempts to defund Planned
While Gallup seeks to find Americans’
opinions on abortion, Guttmacher looked at abortion rates in
different groups of American women. While research finds that
abortions have decreased among most groups from 2000 to 2008, rates
have gone up for poor women—those with family incomes less than 100
percent of the federal poverty level. The survey indicates that poor
women accounted for 42 percent of all abortions in 2008, and their
abortion rate increased 18 percent from 2000 to 2008.
“That abortion is becoming
increasingly concentrated among poor women suggests the need for
better contraceptive access and family planning counseling. It
certainly appears these women are being underserved,” study author
Rachel K. Jones says. “Antiabortion restrictions and cuts to
publicly funded family planning services disproportionately affect
poor women, making it even more difficult for them to gain access to
the contraceptive and abortion services they need.”
On the other hand, abortion rates
decreased 18 percent among African American women. Teen abortion
rates also declined 22 percent; the 15 to 17 age group only accounted
for 6 percent of all abortions.