In a remarkable poll, Gallup revealed only 29 percent of Americans surveyed believe abortion should be legal under all circumstances, with more than two-thirds (68 percent) favoring legal restrictions on the practice.
In its June 11 survey, Gallup found that 50 percent of Americans say abortion should be legal only in certain circumstances while an additional 18 percent believe it should never be legal for any reason. A total of 68 percent reject abortion-on-demand, saying that abortion should be legally restricted.
Perhaps more significantly, a majority of Americans (53 percent) now say that abortion should be legal in few (35 percent) or no circumstances (18 percent).
There has also been an important shift in self-identification regarding abortion, Gallup found. In 1995, when Gallup first asked citizens whether they identified as “pro-choice” or “pro-life,” a substantial majority (56 percent) said they were “pro-choice,” while a mere 33 percent said they were “pro-life.”
Today the number of those who identify as “pro-choice” has dropped by 8 percentage points and in 2018 only 48 percent identify with that label. As many Americans identify as “pro-life” (48 percent) as they do “pro-choice” (48 percent).
Since the mid-1990s, those who self-identify as “pro-life” have jumped by 15 percent, from 33 percent to 48 percent, which marks an important sea change in public perception.
Today 48 percent of Americans also believe abortion to be morally wrong while only 43 percent say it is morally acceptable, a statistically significant difference of 5 points. Since it first began asking the question about the morality of abortion, at no time have a majority of Americans found it to be morally acceptable, Gallup revealed.