A 58% Majority of Americans Say Abortion Should Be Legal by Hannah Hartig

Abortion has long been a contentious issue in the U.S., and it is one that sharply divides Americans along partisan, ideological and religious lines.

Today, a 58% majority of Americans say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, while 37% think abortion should be illegalin all or most cases. These views are relatively unchanged in the past few years. The latest Pew Research Center political survey finds deep disagreement between – and within – the parties over abortion. In fact, the partisan divide on abortion is far wider than it was two decades ago.

By a wide margin (59% to 36%), Republicans say abortion should be illegal in all or most cases.

Views among Democrats have shifted in the other direction over the past two decades. Today, 76% of Democrats say abortion should be legal in at least most cases.

Among Republicans, 58% of the party’s moderates and liberals say abortion should legal in all or most cases, compared with just 29% of conservative Republicans.

White evangelical Protestants continue to be opposed to abortion in all or most cases, with 61% saying it should be illegal in all or most cases, while 34% say it should be legal in at least most cases. The share of white evangelicals who say it should be illegal in all or most cases has dipped slightly since last year (from 70% in June 2017).

A large majority of white mainline Protestants (67%) also say abortion should be legal.

Among the public overall, there are no significant gender differences in views of whether abortion should be legal: 57% of men and 60% of women say it should be legal in most or all cases.

1989.4 Applewhite, J. Scott. Norma Mccorvey and Gloria Allred After Listening to Arguments in a Missouri Abortion Case. AP..jpg
Applewhite, J. Scott. Norma Mccorvey and Gloria Allred After Listening to Arguments in a Missouri Abortion Case. AP.

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