Friday, May 27, 2011

As Abortion Rate Drops, 7 in 10 Americans Support Restrictions

The 18- to 34-year-old generation leads all age groups in the percentage (53) that believes abortion is morally wrong. And just 31 percent of that age group says abortion should be legal under any circumstance.

The annual Gallup poll on abortion, which was released May 23, surveyed 1,018 American adults early this month.

Forty-two percent of young people identify as “pro-life,” but the numbers show that “pro-choice” doesn’t mean support for abortion at all times and for any reason.

“The tide is turning in America,” said Kristan Hawkins, executive director of Students for Life of America. “More and more young people want abortion to be illegal. They see the violence and destruction that it causes individuals and families.”

Jonathan Rogers, field coordinator for National Right to Life, said the challenge is to get young adults to take their pro-life views with them to the polls.

“In 2008, what young voters marked on their ballots did not line up with their instincts,” he wrote recently. “One of the most pro-life generations ever voted for one of the most pro-abortion candidates ever.

“The pro-life movement can and should be doing everything possible to educate younger voters right now, to buttress their instincts with substance.”

Overall, about 72 percent of Americans say abortion should be illegal in at least some cases, including 61 percent who believe it should be illegal in all or most circumstances. Those numbers have remained relatively steady over time.

The annual Gallup survey on abortion was released the same day a Guttmacher Institute report was published, showing that from 2000-2008, the U.S. abortion rate dropped 8 percent — including an 18 percent decrease among African-American women.

The Gallup poll also found that 51 percent believe abortion is morally wrong. Yet, 49 percent reported being “pro-choice,” while 45 percent said they were “pro-life.”

“Americans’ views on abortion held fairly steady over the past year, with the public still sharply divided over the ‘pro-life’ and ‘pro-choice’ labels,” Gallup analyst Lydia Saad concluded. “Nevertheless, majorities of Americans indicate some reluctance about abortion on both moral and legal grounds. This is seen most strongly among Republicans and older Americans.”

The report from Guttmacher, which was founded as the research arm of Planned Parenthood, also revealed that the abortion rate among poor women jumped 18 percent over the eight years of the research. Not surprisingly, the authors were quick to blame a lack of access to contraception and family planning services.

Randall K. O’Bannon, National Right to Life director of education and research, said that’s not the case. “Women who have information and alternatives are choosing abortion less frequently than they did 10 or 15 years ago,” he told USA Today, “but states are continuing to pay for the abortions of poor women. When the states are funding the abortions, they get these abortions.”

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