NRL News

America much more pro-life than most Americans realize, Gallup finds

by | Aug 30, 2013

By Dave Andrusko

Editor’s note. While my family and I are on vacation, we are running some of our favorite NRL News Today stories from the last four months, entries from our “Roe at 40″ series, and an occasional update.

Gallup050213Last week NRL News Today provided readers with “Six important takeaways from Gallup’s new poll on abortion.” Gallup provided a follow-up story yesterday that reveals more that was found in Gallup’s annual Values and Beliefs poll of 1,535 adults.

The headline on Wednesday’s story written by Lydia Saad was, “Americans Misjudge U.S. Abortion Views: Perception that pro-choice position dominates contrasts with even split in actual views.” Exactly.

By a whopping 16 point margin (51% to 35%), Americans think most of us are “pro-choice.” In fact, asked to self-identify, 48% call themselves pro-life and 45% describe themselves as pro-choice.

The most fascinating result, perhaps, is that NO category—not even pro-lifers—think most Americans are pro-life, although the difference is small. (Among pro-lifers, 46% say “pro-choice” to 44% who say pro-life.) Obviously, these are not people who read National Right to Life News Today. They are picking up signals from the larger culture and falsely conclude they are in the minority.

Why the disconnect? A few guesses.

#1. At the top would be the relentless media assault on pro-lifers, the objective of which is to delegitimize us. If pro-lifers are portrayed as out of the mainstream, the conclusion to draw is that most Americans can’t be like “them.”

#2. The flipside, the steady stream of favorable profiles of the Cecile Richardses of this world, the drumbeat of support for abortion by celebrities.

#3. What do you think? Drop me a line at


This is good to know, but what really matters are these 4 (of the 6) takeaways we highlighted last week. Very briefly:

· Thanks to Gallup asking more precise follow-up questions, we know that a total of 58% of the American public believes that abortion should be illegal in all circumstances (20%) or legal in only a few circumstances (38%).

· As mentioned above, 48% call themselves pro-life and 45% describe themselves as pro-choice.

· Returning to the question of when abortion should be legal… the responses from men and women are almost exactly the same.

· Saad mentions at the very end, “One of the clearest messages from Gallup trends is that Americans oppose late-term abortion.” (There is a link back to a January 2013 poll and a reference there to prior polls.) Yes, they do, and that includes after the first trimester. Almost two-thirds (64%) opposed abortions in the second three months of pregnancy and a whopping 80% oppose abortion in the last three months.

Categories: Polling