American Public Still Overwhelmingly Pro-choice, Despite Earlier Reports

A recent Gallup poll reveals that the majority of Americans – 78% – believe that abortion should be legal. The percentage of people living in the United States who think abortion should be illegal in all circumstances is only 18%, smaller than the percentage of those who think it should be legal in all circumstances (21%) or under certain circumstances (57%).

This news doesn’t surprise pro-choice advocates, who already know that most Americans believe that the decision to have an abortion should be left up to the woman, with consultation from a doctor. And this is consistent with the public’s opinion on the issue over the past twenty years. However, a May poll from Gallup showed that 51% of Americans considered themselves “pro-life,” compared to 42% who said they were pro-choice. As Gallup explains:

Those surveys were conducted in the wake of considerable news coverage over the University of Notre Dame’s decision to invite President Barack Obama to deliver the 2009 commencement address, an event that may have raised Americans’ awareness of Obama’s pro-choice views.

It may also have to do with people defining the term “pro-life” differently. Many people who would not have an abortion themselves but believe that the choice should not be taken away from other women call themselves “pro-life.” In any event, these poll numbers indicate that the majority of Americans still generally believe that the decision whether to have an abortion should be left up to a woman in consultation with her doctor – a very heartening thought.

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