Majority of US Adults Support Legal Abortion in Early Stages, Reveals AP-NORC Poll

by Joshua Brown
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Abortion bans in the US

According to a recent survey conducted by The Big Big News-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, a majority of U.S. adults, including those residing in states with strict abortion regulations, support legal access to abortion during the early stages of pregnancy.

The poll, carried out in late June, coincided with the one-year anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, which had granted nationwide abortion rights for almost five decades.

Despite the changes in legislation over the past year, the survey found that public opinions on abortion remained largely consistent with the previous year. The results indicated a nuanced perspective, with most individuals endorsing abortion under certain circumstances while opposing it in others. Overall, approximately two-thirds of Americans believe that abortion should generally be legal. However, only around a quarter think it should be legal without any restrictions, while a mere 10% believe it should always be illegal.

In terms of gestational age, the majority of Americans believe that their respective states should generally prohibit abortions after 24 weeks of pregnancy.

Jaleesha Thomas, a 34-year-old resident of Chicago, expressed her views in an interview, stating that she prefers individuals to choose abortion rather than harm or abandon a child. However, Thomas believes that after around 20 weeks of pregnancy, abortion should generally not be an option unless the mother’s life is at risk. She added, “When they’re fully developed and the mother doesn’t have any illnesses or anything that would cause the baby or her to pass away, it’s like you’re killing another human.”

Thomas resides in a state that permits abortion until the fetus is viable, typically considered around 24 weeks. Consequently, her state has become a destination for individuals from neighboring regions with travel restrictions on abortion, such as Kentucky, Missouri, and Wisconsin.

The poll discovered that 10% of Americans personally know someone who has either been unable to access an abortion or has had to travel to obtain one since the Supreme Court ruling. This trend was particularly prominent among young people, people of color, and individuals residing in states where abortion is banned throughout pregnancy.

Fourteen states, primarily located in the South, have implemented strict abortion bans at all stages of pregnancy, albeit with some exceptions.

The survey revealed that 73% of all U.S. adults, including 58% of individuals in states with the most stringent bans, believe that abortion should be allowed up to six weeks of pregnancy. Presently, only one state, Georgia, enforces a ban at approximately six weeks based on detectable cardiac activity, often before women realize they are pregnant. Similar bans exist in Ohio and South Carolina but are not currently enforced due to legal challenges. Florida has also enacted a ban that has yet to take effect.

Approximately half of Americans believe that abortions should be permitted until the 15-week mark, although 55% of individuals residing in states with the strictest regulations advocate for a ban by that point.

By the 24-week mark, about two-thirds of Americans, including those in states with fewer restrictions, support a prohibition on abortion.

While many state governments controlled by the Republican Party have been actively seeking stricter abortion laws, the poll indicates that such measures do not always enjoy widespread support. Nationally, approximately 40% of people find it challenging to access abortion services in their communities, whereas about a quarter believe it is too easy.

Robert Green, an 89-year-old politically independent rancher from Wyoming, where a court has suspended a ban on abortion throughout pregnancy, has been an advocate for abortion rights since before the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. Green expressed his support, citing various reasons, including the adverse consequences for children born to parents who do not desire them.

Respondents in states with the strictest bans were slightly more likely to perceive abortion access as difficult compared to those in states with fewer restrictions. Democrats, as a whole, consider access to be challenging, with around half sharing this view, while only 22% of Republicans hold the same opinion.

Women were more likely than men to perceive abortion access as difficult in their areas. However, there was no significant gender divide among Democrats or Republicans. Roughly half of both Democratic men and women found access challenging, while around 20% of Republican men and women did. Among independent voters, nearly half of women believed access was challenging, compared to about one-third of men.

The poll, conducted from June 22 to 26, surveyed 1,220 adults using NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak Panel, designed to represent the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is approximately 3.9 percentage points.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about abortion support

Q: What were the findings of the AP-NORC poll regarding abortion in the US?

A: The AP-NORC poll found that the majority of US adults, even in states with strict abortion regulations, support legal access to abortion during the early stages of pregnancy. Approximately two-thirds of Americans believe abortion should generally be legal, while only a quarter think it should be legal without any restrictions. By the 24-week mark, about two-thirds of Americans, including those in states with fewer restrictions, support a prohibition on abortion.

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4 comments

SarahT July 12, 2023 - 12:58 pm

this survey shows that opinions on abortion are still complex and diverse. like, some think it should be legal in some cases but not always. and there’s a difference between what people think at different stages of pregnancy. it’s fascinating to see how these views vary across different states too!

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CoolCat87 July 12, 2023 - 1:33 pm

wow, this poll proves that there’s a wide range of opinions on abortion. it’s not just a black and white issue. some say it should be legal, some say it should be illegal, and others have mixed feelings depending on the circumstances. it’s a hot topic for sure!

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Jane123 July 13, 2023 - 12:15 am

omg, this poll shows that most americans support legal abortion in early stages of pregnancy! it’s like, a majority of people think it should be allowed. but, only like a quarter say it should always be legal. so, there’s some complexity there. interesting stuff!

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JohnDoe456 July 13, 2023 - 4:20 am

haha, i love how this poll reveals that even in states with strict abortion laws, people still support it. like, who would’ve thought?! and did you see that about two-thirds of americans want to ban abortion by 24 weeks? crazy, right?

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