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Majority says abortion is morally wrong in latest Gallup. But far more say “having an abortion” is morally wrong in latest Pew survey

by | Jun 5, 2019

By Dave Andrusko

Each year, Gallup presents what it calls its “Values and Beliefs poll,” which is simply asking people whether a given behavior is “morally acceptable” or “morally wrong.”

Although she conspicuously does not point it out, in the story written by Gallup’s Megan Brenan we discover that the percentage of Americans who believe abortion is morally acceptable is tied for its lowest point in six years—42%.

The percentage of Americans who believe abortion is morally unacceptable is at its highest point in seven years—50%.

Unfortunately, the divide is essentially along partisan lines. 73% of those who identify themselves as liberal/very liberal find abortion morally acceptable. Less than a quarter (23%) of those who identify as conservative/very conservative told Gallup abortion is morally acceptable—a whopping 50 point differential.

What about doctor-assisted suicide? 52% say it is morally acceptable, the lowest figure since 2014. (In 2017, the figure was 57%.)

The most resistant to change in a pro-life direction is “Medical research using stem cells obtained from human embryos.” In 2019, 64% found it morally acceptable, while only 31% found it morally unacceptable.

Back to abortion for a moment. It is very important to remember something we have talked about over and over again.

Pew gets hugely different numbers. Why?

In 2017, “More than four-in-ten Americans (44%) say having an abortion is morally wrong, while 19% think it is morally acceptable and 34% say it is not a moral issue,” Michael Lipka and John Gramlich wrote at the time.

What explains the huge difference between Gallup’s results and Pew’s? Largely it’s the question. Gallup’s is more abstract: is abortion “morally wrong ” or “morally acceptable”?

Pew asks is having an abortion morally wrong or morally acceptable?

When asked the more concrete question, 2 and ½ times as many people (44% versus 19%) say having an abortion is “morally wrong” as say it is “morally acceptable.”

Thanks to you, the public continues to agree that having an abortion is morally wrong and in numbers far larger than Gallup’s results suggest.

Categories: Polling