What do abortion survey numbers tell us?

By Dave Andrusko

I rely on Gallup, all their biases notwithstanding, because they dig deeper on the question of under what circumstances people believe abortion should be legal. 

This year (as far as I can tell), they’ve  asked questions about how people self-identify (49 % pro-choice versus 47% pro-life); whether abortion is morally acceptable (47%) or morally wrong (46%); and how closely Texas follows other “red” states (closely).

But what about the conditions under which abortion should be legal? Megan Brenan tells us that “Americans remain much more likely to believe abortion should be legal ‘only under certain circumstances’ (48%) than to favor it being legal ‘under any circumstances’ (32%) or ‘illegal in all circumstances’ (19%).”

She leads with that, adding a key distinction:

Gallup further probes those who think abortion should be legal tain circumstances by asking whether they think it should be legal in “most” or “only in a few” situations. Since 1994, when this measure was first tracked, the group has leaned much more heavily toward the more restrictive option. Currently, 33% favor legal abortions in only a few and 13% in most circumstances. This translates into 52% supporting a more restrictive approach on abortion, saying it should be either illegal in all circumstances [19%]  or legal in only a few. Meanwhile, 45% favor a less restrictive approach, preferring that it be legal in all or most circumstances.

There are several other points that flesh out the public posture on abortion. First, when people respond that they believe that abortion should be legal in all circumstances, are they really comfortable with late second and third trimester abortions; with aborting pain-capable children; and with aborting these children for the most trivial of reasons?

Here’s evidence that they are not. According to David Crary, a June poll from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found

65% said abortion should usually be illegal in the second nd 80% said that about the third trimester.

The Mississippi case the Supreme Court will hear next month bans abortions after the 15th week.

Second, it is important to see how the public responds to actual legislation. Contrary to the flood of negative media attention, 55% of Texans support its Heartbeat Law. Moreover, S.B.8 found not only major support among women and men, Latino and white respondents, it also gathered strong support among Independents and nearly 4 in ten Democrats!

According to reporter Jasper Scherer

Among the state’s three largest racial and ethnic groups, Latino Texans expressed the strongest approval for the abortion law, with 58 percent supporting it, compared to 55 and 47 percent of white and Black residents, respectively.

Otherwise, the law was supported by 59 percent of men, 52 percent of women, 74 percent of Republicans and 38 percent of Democrats. Mirroring the statewide total, 55 percent of independents said they approve of the law.

As we have said many times, the public is much more pro-life that the popular media would lead you to believe.

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