How many Americans really favor legal abortion?


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A conservative-packed Supreme Court is set to overturn its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which made access to legal abortion a constitutional right, according to a draft opinion obtained by Politico. Overturning the decision would mean an end to a federal guarantee of legal abortion and, instead, individual states would create their own laws surrounding whether or not to permit legal abortions.

Since the 1990s, reported abortion rates in the U.S. have been on the decline, Statista found. A 2018 Reuters report found that both pro-abortion and anti-abortion activists believe that stricter laws surrounding abortion have caused abortion rates to decline in the U.S.

Abortion rally protest
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Are most Americans ‘pro-life’ or ‘pro-choice?’

A 2021 Gallup survey reported by Statista found that 49% of surveyed Americans considered themselves “pro-choice,” 47% considered themselves “pro-life” (the term used in the survey), and 2% responded with “mixed or neither.” The survey defined “pro-choice” as “in favor of abortion” and “pro-life” as “against abortion.”

Most Americans favor legal abortion

Most Americans favor legal abortion

That same year, 66% of surveyed Americans viewed legal abortion favorably, according to an Ipsos survey reported by Statista. That percentage included respondents who believed “abortion should be permitted either whenever a woman decides to or under given circumstances,” according to Statista. In comparison, 42% of surveyed Americans believed abortion should be allowed “whenever a woman decides she wants one.”

Legal abortion favorability by party

Favorability by party

Both political party identification and age affected how Americans viewed abortion. For instance, in 2021, a Gallup poll reported by Statista found that 15% of Republicans supported legal abortion “under any circumstance,” compared to 50% of Democrats.

Additionally, 46% of Republicans supported legal abortion “in only a few circumstances,” compared to 22% of Democrats. And 31% of Republicans supported making abortion illegal “in all circumstances,” compared to 8% of Democrats.

Legal abortion favorability by age

Favorability by age

In 2021, a Gallup poll reported by Statista found that younger Americans were more likely to favor the legalization of abortion, with 41% of adults 18-34 years old favoring legal abortion under “any circumstance.” In comparison, only 27% of adults over 55 supported legal abortion under “any circumstance.”

The age group in between, adults 35-54 years old, were most likely to support legal abortion in “only a few circumstances,” at 34%. This age group’s second-most popular answer was supporting legal abortion “under any circumstance,” at 32%

States likely to end legal abortion if Roe v. Wade is overturned

Which states are likely to make abortion illegal?

The Guttmacher Institute and the Pew Charitable Trust found that about half of U.S. states would overturn legal abortion given the option. The U.S. regions that had the most states likely to ban legal abortion include the South, Midwest and the West.

The Guttmacher Institute added that would mean the state with the closest legal abortion for most Louisianans would require a 600-mile drive.


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Kaitlyn Farley

Kaitlyn is MediaFeed’s senior editor. She is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, specializing in social justice and investigative reporting. She has worked at various radio stations and newsrooms, covering higher-education, local politics, natural disasters and investigative and watchdog stories related to Title IX and transparency issues.