Fundamentalists, Evangelical Protestants, Orthodox Jews and Muslims;
People with less education;
Persons with lower income;
Support for widespread abortion access is found more frequently among:
Membership of the Roman Catholic church
Mainline Protestants, liberal Protestants and Reform Jews;
People with higher educational attainments;
Persons with higher income;
Political moderates and liberals,
Democrats and Independents; and
Are most Americans pro-life or pro-choice?
The question is basically unanswerable, for a number of reasons:
Some women are pro-life as far as their own situation is concerned, but are
pro-choice for others. That is, they would not choose to have an abortion
themselves, but feel that all women should be given the freedom to choose.
The term "pro-life" covers a wide range of viewpoints, ranging
Involve a very seriously genetically malformed fetus with no
chance of living more than a few hours after birth.
Involve pregnancy caused by rape or incest.
Various combinations of the above.
Criminalizing all abortions including those needed to save the
The term "pro-choice" also covers a wide range of viewpoints,
Allowing all abortions for any reason up to an including childbirth.
Allowing abortions up to the point when the fetus becomes sentient
-- i.e. when the higher functions of the fetal brain are activated and
the fetus possesses consciousness and ability to sense its surroundings.
Allowing abortions up to a specific point in pregnancy.
According to a year 2000 Gallup Poll, 50% of adults identify themselves as pro-choice;
40% as pro-life. However this poll uses the subjects' own definition of "pro-life"
and "pro-choice" which varies from individual to individual.
Comprehensive opinion polls:
A better understanding of where the U.S. and Canadian public stands on
abortion can be found from those extremely rare polls which ask subjects
One example is the General Social Survey (GSS). Over the interval from
1972 to 2002, they posed a number of situations to a random sampling of American
adults. The Survey continues to be taken on even-numbered years. They described instanced in which a pregnant women might seek an
abortion, and asked the subjects whether she should be able to get one. There
was a notable rise in the public's approval of abortion between 1972 and 1973 on
the order of 5 percentage points; this was probably influenced by the decision
of the U.S. Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade which legalized some abortions
across America. But otherwise, there was little variation in public opinion over
the interval studied. 1 The
numbers of subjects was in excess of 31,000, so the margin of error is extremely
Some results from the 2002 survey:
The pollsters asked whether the subject thought that a pregnant woman should
be able to obtain a legal abortion if:
or no answer
There is a strong chance of serious defect in the baby
She is married and does not want any more children
The woman's own health is seriously endangered by the
If the family has a very low income and cannot afford
any more children
If she became pregnant as the result of rape
If she is not married and does not want to marry the man
The woman wants it for any reason
In addition, they asked a question about Internet access:
In the past 12 months have you used the web to find out
about or discuss abortion issues?
Unfortunately, even this survey did not ask a full range of questions,
The age of the pregnant woman,
The stage of her pregnancy,
A student wants an abortion because she does not want to interrupt
A woman living with her parents who is afraid of being abandoned if
they find out that she is pregnant.
A woman who fears abandonment or adverse relationship problems if forced to
have a baby.
A woman is seeking her second, or third abortion.
Whether she became pregnant as a result of not using birth control, or
whether her contraceptive technique failed.
"General Social Surveys, 1972 - 2002: Cumulative Codebook," 2003-FEB,
http://www.cpanda.org/ This is a PDF file. You may require software to read it. Software can be obtained free from:
It is a massive
file and may take a long time to load.