Americans Divided on Abortion Viewpoint

In a nation that murders more than a million babies a year, a new Gallup poll indicates that Americans are divided on whether to allow abortions. While many accept women who decide to have abortions, a majority believes the procedure is morally wrong.

A disturbing Gallup poll released Monday reveals that for the first time since 2008, more Americans consider themselves "pro-choice" than "pro-life," with 49 percent identifying themselves as the former and 45 percent the latter.

The good news is there seems to be more of a consensus  on the morality issue. Fifty-one percent say abortion is "morally wrong," while only 39 percent say it is "morally acceptable." These numbers are consistent with Americans' views since 2007.

The poll also asks "if abortion should be legal under any circumstances, legal only under certain circumstances or illegal in all circumstances." This question is Gallup's longest-running measure of American's views on abortion.

The poll indicates that Americans are rather conservative in their answers, with 61 percent believing abortion should be legal in "only a few circumstances or no circumstances." On the other hand, 37 percent think abortion should be legal "in all or most circumstances."

Pro-life groups are sure to use these statistics to their advantage in their attempts to defund Planned Parenthood.

While Gallup seeks to find Americans' opinions on abortion, Guttmacher looked at abortion rates in different groups of American women. While research finds that abortions have decreased among most groups from 2000 to 2008, rates have gone up for poor women—those with family incomes less than 100 percent of the federal poverty level. The survey indicates that poor women accounted for 42 percent of all abortions in 2008, and their abortion rate increased 18 percent from 2000 to 2008.

"That abortion is becoming increasingly concentrated among poor women suggests the need for better contraceptive access and family planning counseling. It certainly appears these women are being underserved," study author Rachel K. Jones says. "Antiabortion restrictions and cuts to publicly funded family planning services disproportionately affect poor women, making it even more difficult for them to gain access to the contraceptive and abortion services they need."

On the other hand, abortion rates decreased 18 percent among African American women. Teen abortion rates also declined 22 percent; the 15 to 17 age group only accounted for 6 percent of all abortions.

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