Two new Gallup polls this week demonstrate that anti-women’s health politicians in Congress and in state legislatures across the country are misguided in their persistent attacks on safe, legal abortion. The first poll shows an increase in the percentage of Americans who say that abortion is morally acceptable, the highest point in 14 years. And while labels don’t reflect the complexity of the issue or how people feel, the second poll shows that more Americans, and especially women, identify with the “pro-choice” label when asked to pick a side.

These polls come as anti-women’s health politicians running for the GOP presidential nomination, and in Congress and state legislatures across the country double down on their attacks on safe, legal abortion. Efforts to ban abortion nationwide at 20 weeks and for survivors of human trafficking are two examples of the 29 attempts to restrict abortion access that we’ve seen this year from politicians in Congress; and according to the Guttmacher Institute state lawmakers have introduced 375 provisions aimed at restricting access toabortion and enacted 36 so far. This is on top of 267 restrictions on abortion that have passed at the state level since 2011.

"More than three-quarters of the public support safe and legal abortion, just as they have for four decades — but today’s poll shows support is significantly higher seven years into a presidency that has taken action to expand access to birth control for millions of American women, while simultaneously working to protect abortion rights.  While the public shows increasing support for women’s personal health care decisions, anti-women’s health politicians continue to stand with a small, yet vocal fringe of individuals who want to turn back the clock on safe and legal abortion access in America,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund. 

Polling from VOX/PerryUndem conducted in March 2015 found that only 26 percent of respondents identified as strictly “pro-life,” while a sizable 71 percent of respondents identified as fully or partially “pro-choice” or didn’t identify with one of those labels at all. That’s because the typical labels are not reflective of how Americans think or talk about abortion in America today. According to that poll:

  • 87 percent of poll respondents said that a woman seeking an abortion should receive medically accurate information.
  • 70 percent of respondents said women shouldn't have to drive more than 60 miles to get an abortion.
  • 70 percent also said a woman should be able to access abortion without added burdens.

BACKGROUND ON GALLUP POLLS:

"Americans Choose ‘Pro-Choice’ for First Time in Seven Years": According to the Gallup poll, conducted May 6 - 10, 2015, this is the first time since 2008 that the pro-choice position has had a statistically significant lead in Americans' abortion views.

Among some highlights:

  • Americans divide 50 percent "pro-choice," 44 percent "pro-life" on abortion
  • Majority of women, 54 percent, now pro-choice, vs. 46 percent of men
  • Pro-choice ID among Democrats has swelled since 2001 to 68 percent

Americans Continue to Shift Left on Key Moral Issues”: According to the Gallup poll, attitudes toward the moral acceptability ofabortion are changing toward more morally acceptable, up three points from 2001 to 45 percent. Additionally, the survey finds birth control is the most morally acceptable at 89 percent of Americans finding it morally acceptable of all items presented in the poll, followed second by divorce.

  • 45 percent of Americans find abortion morally acceptable, and 45 percent find it morally unacceptable. In 2014, the Gallup poll found that only 42 percent of Americans found abortion morally acceptable, while 48 percent found abortion unacceptable.

If you have any questions, please contact the Planned Parenthood Action Fund media line at [email protected].