But is that what the poll really says? Not even Life News is willing to go quite that far, carefully noting that the results reflect those who self-identify as “pro-life” despite what the “pro-life” platform embraces.
That’s because today’s “pro-life” movement is one that sees itself as opposing all forms of legalized abortion, including contraception. But according to the poll results that’s not how most Americans, including those who identify as “pro-life” see the issue.
Since 2001, at least half of Americans have consistently chosen the middle position, saying abortion should be legal under certain circumstances, and the 52% saying this today is similar to the 50% in May 2011. The 25% currently wanting abortion to be legal in all cases and the 20% in favor of making it illegal in all cases are also similar to last year’s findings.
That means that over two-thirds of Americans actually support abortion being legal in all or “certain” circumstances while only 20 percent of Americans are truly “pro-life” in a way that supports the “pro-life” political agenda.
Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America issued this statement in response:
Abortion is a deeply personal and often complex decision for a woman.
What this poll makes clear is that labels like ‘pro-choice’ and ‘pro-life’ simply don’t reflect the complexity of how most people actually think and feel about abortion in this country. A majority of Americans still believe abortion should remain a safe and legal medical procedure for a woman to consider if and when she needs it, and these fundamental views have held steady for more than a decade. Instead of putting people in one category or another, we should respect the real-life decisions women and their families face every day.
Gallup also included the issue of birth control in its poll for the first time this year. As women’s health opponents continue their unprecedented assault on access to basic health care, this poll reiterates birth control is not a moral issue – it is simply basic health care. The fact is that birth control use is nearly universal in the U.S. — 99 percent of sexually active women use it at some point in their lives. The Affordable Care Act’s birth control coverage benefit means that millions more women will have access to affordable birth control, and this important step forward needs to be maintained.
Best news of all from Gallup: 25% of Americans think abortion should be legal in every circumstance while only 20% think it should be illegal in all circumstances.
Photo from WeNews via flickr.
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