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Abortion

Should Abortions Be Legal Under Any Circumstances, Legal Only Under Certain Circumstances, or Illegal in All Circumstances?

Do you think abortions should be legal under any circumstances, legal only under certain circumstances, or illegal in all circumstances?

Legal
under any
circumstances

Legal only
under certain
circumstances

Illegal in all
circumstances

No
opinion

%

%

%

%

2009 Jul 17-19

21

57

18

4

2009 May 7-10

22

53

23

2

2008 May 8-11

28

54

17

2

2007 May 10-13

26

55

18

1

2006 May 8-11

30

53

15

2

2005 Nov 11-13

26

56

16

2

2005 Jun 24-26

24

55

20

1

2005 May 2-5

23

53

22

2

2005 Mar 21-23

23

55

20

2

2004 May 2-4

24

56

19

1

2003 Oct 24-26

26

55

17

2

2003 May 5-7

23

57

19

1

2003 Jan 10-12

24

57

18

1

2002 May 6-9

25

51

22

2

2002 Mar 22-24

27

53

19

1

2002 Feb 8-10

26

54

18

2

2001 Aug 10-12

26

56

17

1

2001 May 10-14

26

58

15

1

2001 Mar 26-28

26

51

18

5

2000 Mar 30-Apr 2

28

51

19

2

2000 Jan 13-16

26

56

15

3

1999 Apr 30-May 2

27

55

16

2

1998 Jan 16-18

23

59

17

1

1997 Nov 6-9

26

55

17

2

1997 Aug 12-13

22

61

15

2

1996 Sep 20-22

24

52

17

7

1996 Jul 25-28

25

58

15

2

1995 Sep 22-24

31

54

12

3

1995 Feb 24-26

33

50

15

2

1994 Sep 6-7

33

52

13

2

1994 Mar 28-30

31

51

15

3

1993 Mar 12-14

32

51

13

4

1992 Jul 23-24 ^

34

48

15

3

1992 Jun 29

34

48

13

5

1992 Jan 16-19

31

53

14

2

1991 Sep 5-8

33

49

14

4

1991 May 30-Jun 2

32

50

17

1

1990 Apr 5-20

31

53

12

4

1989 Jul 6-9

29

51

17

3

1989 Jul 6-7 ^

29

51

17

3

1989 Apr 12-13 ^

27

50

18

5

1988 Sep 25-Oct 1

24

57

17

2

1985 Jan 3-4 ^

21

55

21

3

1983 Jun 24-27

23

58

16

3

1981 May 8-11

23

52

21

4

1980 Jul 11-14

25

53

18

4

1979 Feb 23-26

22

54

19

5

1977 Dec 9-12

22

55

19

4

1975 Apr 4-7

21

54

22

3

^ Gallup/Newsweek

(If certain circumstances) Do you think abortion should be legal in most circumstances or only in a few circumstances?

[COMBINED RESPONSES]

Legal
under any
circum-
stances

Legal
under most
circum-
stances

Legal only
in a few
circum-
stances

Illegal
in all
circum-
stances

No
opinion

%

%

%

%

%

2009 Jul 17-19

21

13

42

18

6

2009 May 7-10

22

15

37

23

3

2008 May 8-11

28

13

40

17

3

2007 May 10-13

26

15

40

18

1

2006 May 8-11

30

13

39

15

3

2005 Nov 11-13

26

16

39

16

3

2005 Jun 24-26

24

15

40

20

1

2005 May 2-5

23

12

40

22

3

2005 Mar 21-23

23

14

39

20

4

2004 May 2-4

24

13

42

19

2

2003 Oct 24-26

26

14

40

17

3

2003 May 5-7

23

15

42

19

1

2003 Jan 10-12

24

14

42

18

2

2002 May 6-9

25

12

39

22

2

2002 Mar 22-24

27

12

40

19

2

2001 Aug 10-12

26

12

43

17

2

2001 May 10-14

26

15

41

15

3

2001 Mar 26-28

26

13

38

18

5

2000 Mar 30-Apr 2

28

11

38

19

4

2000 Jan 13-16

26

17

39

15

3

1999 Apr 30-May 2

27

12

42

16

3

1998 Jan 16-18

23

16

42

17

2

1997 Nov 6-9

26

15

40

17

2

1997 Aug 12-13

22

12

48

15

3

1996 Jul 25-28

25

13

43

15

4

1995 Sep 22-24

31

14

39

12

4

1995 Feb 24-26

32

9

41

15

3

1994 Sep 6-7

33

13

38

13

3

With respect to the abortion issue, would you consider yourself to be pro-choice or pro-life?

NOTE: Trends taken only from polls where pro-life/pro-choice was asked as a stand-alone question. Separate trend exists for polls when asked following questions on abortion.

Pro-
choice

Pro-
life

Mixed/
Neither
(vol.)

Don't know
what terms
mean (vol.)

No
opinion

%

%

%

%

%

2010 Mar 26-28

45

46

4

2

3

2009 Nov 20-22

48

45

2

2

3

2008 Sep 5-7

51

43

2

1

3

2007 Jun 11-14

51

43

2

2

2

2007 Jun 1-3

52

39

4

2

2

2006 Jan 6-8

53

42

1

2

2

2005 Aug 28-30

54

38

3

2

3

2005 Jul 22-24

51

42

3

3

1

2004 Oct 14-16

52

41

2

3

2

2001 Aug 3-5

52

39

4

3

2

2001 Jul 10-11

50

40

4

3

3

2001 Feb 9-11

55

38

5

1

1

2000 Oct 6-9

47

45

3

2

3

2000 Jul 14-16

50

40

4

2

4

1996 Jul 18-21

48

40

5

4

3

1996 Mar 15-17

56

37

3

2

2

NOTE: Trends taken only from polls where pro-life/pro-choice was asked following other questions on abortion (for example, what circumstances should abortion be legal trend).

Pro-
choice

Pro-
life

Mixed/
Neither
(vol.)

Don't know
what terms
mean (vol.)

No
opinion

%

%

%

%

%

2009 Jul 17-19

46

47

3

2

2

2009 May 7-10

42

51

2

4

1

2008 May 8-11

50

44

1

2

2

2007 May 10-13

49

45

3

2

2

2006 May 8-11

51

41

4

2

3

2005 May 2-5

48

44

3

3

2

2004 May 2-4

49

44

2

3

2

2003 Oct 24-26

48

45

3

3

1

2003 May 5-7

48

45

2

4

1

2002 May 6-9

47

46

3

3

1

2001 Aug 10-12

46

46

3

3

2

2001 May 10-14

48

42

4

4

2

2001 Mar 26-28

47

41

4

6

2

2000 Mar 30-Apr 2

48

43

2

4

3

1999 Apr 30-May 2

48

42

3

4

3

1998 Jan 16-18

48

45

3

2

2

1997 Nov 6-9

51

40

3

3

3

1997 Aug 12-13

47

44

3

3

3

1996 Jul 25-28

53

36

5

3

3

1995 Sep 22-24

56

33

5

3

3

(vol.) = Volunteered response

Would you like to see the Supreme Court overturn its 1973 Roe versus Wade decision concerning abortion, or not?

Yes, overturn

No, not overturn

No opinion

2008 May 8-11

33%

52

15

2007 May 10-13

35%

53

12

2006 May 8-11

32%

55

13

2006 Jan 20-22

25%

66

9

2005 Jul 7-10 ^

28%

63

9

^ Asked of a half sample

Thinking about how the abortion issue might affect your vote for major offices, would you -- [ROTATED: only vote for a candidate who shares your views on abortion (or) consider a candidate's position on abortion as just one of many important factors (or) not see abortion as a major issue]?

Candidate
must share
views

One of many
important
factors

Not a
major issue

No
opinion

%

%

%

%

National adults

2008 May 8-11

13

49

37

2

2007 May 10-13

16

59

23

3

2004 Oct 14-16

17

46

35

2

2004 May 2-4

14

45

39

2

2001 May 10-14

20

51

27

2

2000 Mar 30-Apr 2

15

49

33

3

1999 Apr 30-May 2

19

51

27

3

1996 Jul 25-28

16

51

30

3

1996 Jul 18-21

18

48

30

4

Registered voters

2007 May 10-13

16

60

23

2

2007 May 10-13

16

60

23

2

2004 Oct 14-16

17

46

35

2

2004 May 2-4

14

46

39

1

2001 May 10-14

21

52

25

2

2000 Mar 30-Apr 2

14

52

32

2

1999 Apr 30-May 2

19

52

26

3

1996 Jul 25-28

15

53

30

2

1996 Jul 18-21

17

50

30

4

1992 Jun 29

13

46

36

5

Would you like to see abortion laws in this country made more strict, less strict, or remain as they are?

More
strict

Less
strict

Remain
same

Other
(vol.)

No
opinion

%

%

%

%

%

2008 Jan 4-6

31

21

42

1

5

2007 Jan 15-18

37

23

36

1

3

2006 Jan 9-12

38

20

39

1

3

2005 Jan 3-5

38

19

41

*

2

2004 Jan 12-15

37

20

40

1

2

2003 Jan 13-16

36

21

39

1

3

2002 Apr 5-7

39

17

41

1

2

2002 Jan 7-9

39

19

39

*

3

2001 Jan 10-14

34

17

46

1

2

* Less than 0.5%

(vol.) = Volunteered response

Now I would like to ask your opinion about a specific abortion procedure known as "late term" abortion or "partial birth" abortion, which is sometimes performed on women during the last few months of pregnancy. Do you think that this procedure should be legal or illegal?

Legal

Illegal

No opinion

2007 May 10-13

22%

72

5

2003 Oct 24-26 ^

25%

68

7

^ WORDING: Now I would like to ask your opinion about a specific abortion procedure known as "late term" abortion or "partial birth" abortion, which is sometimes performed on women during the last few months of pregnancy. Do you think that -- [ROTATED: the government should make this procedure illegal, (or do you think that) this procedure should be legal]?

Would you favor or oppose a law in your state that would ban all abortions except those necessary to save the life of the mother?

Favor

Oppose

No opinion

2006 Mar 10-12

36%

60

3

Next, do you favor or oppose each of the following proposals. How about -- [ITEMS A-B ROTATED, ITEM C READ LAST]

A. A law requiring women under 18 to get parental consent for any abortion

Favor

Oppose

No opinion

%

%

%

2005 Nov 11-13

69

28

3

2003 Jan 10-12

73

24

3

1996 Jul 25-28

74

23

3

1992 Jan 16-19

70

23

7

B. A law requiring that the husband of a married woman be notified if she decides to have an abortion

Favor

Oppose

No opinion

%

%

%

2005 Nov 11-13

64

34

2

2003 Jan 10-12

72

26

2

1996 Jul 25-28

70

26

4

1992 Jan 16-19

73

25

2

C. A constitutional amendment to ban abortion in all circumstances, except when necessary to save the life of the mother

Favor

Oppose

No opinion

%

%

%

2005 Nov 11-13

37

61

2

2003 Jan 10-12

38

59

3

1996 Jul 25-28

38

59

3

1992 Jan 16-19

42

56

2

1984

50

46

4

What is your impression of how most Americans feel about abortion -- do you think most Americans feel -- [ROTATED: abortions should be legal under any circumstances, abortions should be legal only under certain circumstances, or abortions should be illegal in all circumstances]?

Legal
under any
circumstances

Legal only
under certain
circumstances

Illegal in all
circumstances

No
opinion

2005 May 2-5

13%

67

16

4

2001 May 10-14

16%

66

11

7

Now thinking about future nominees to the United States Supreme Court, how important is it to you, personally, that they share your views on the abortion issue -- very important, somewhat important, not too important, or not important at all?

Very
important

Somewhat
important

Not too
important

Not
important
at all

No
opinion

2005 May 2-5

45%

31

15

8

1

Just your best guess, do you think George W. Bush wants to ban all abortions in the United States, or not?

Yes, does

No, does not

No opinion

2003 Oct 24-26

50%

37

13

Does that make you -- [ROTATED: more likely (or) less likely] -- to vote for Bush, or wouldn't that affect your vote?

More
likely

Less
likely

No
effect

No
opinion

2003 Oct 24-26

17%

23

58

2

[COMBINED RESPONSES]

2003 Oct 24-26

%

Yes, think Bush wants to ban all abortions

50

(More likely to vote)

(11)

(Less likely to vote)

(17)

(No effect/No opinion)

(22)

No, do not think Bush wants to ban all abortions

37

(More likely to vote)

(5)

(Less likely to vote)

(4)

(No effect/No opinion)

(28)

No opinion

13

Now I am going to read some specific situations under which an abortion might be considered in the FIRST THREE MONTHS of pregnancy. Thinking specifically about the FIRST trimester, please say whether you think abortion should be legal in that situation, or illegal. How about ... [RANDOM ORDER]?

[BASED ON 505 NATIONAL ADULTS IN FORM A]

When the woman's life is endangered

Legal

Illegal

No opinion

2003 May 19-21

82%

15

3

When the child would be born mentally disabled

Legal

Illegal

No opinion

2003 May 19-21

50%

46

4

When the child would be born with a life-threatening illness

Legal

Illegal

No opinion

2003 May 19-21

60%

35

5

When the pregnancy was caused by rape or incest

Legal

Illegal

No opinion

2003 May 19-21

72%

24

4

When the woman does not want the child for any reason

Legal

Illegal

No opinion

2003 May 19-21

41%

56

3

Now I am going to read some specific situations under which an abortion might be considered in the LAST THREE MONTHS of pregnancy. Thinking specifically about the THIRD trimester, please say whether you think abortion should be legal in that situation, or illegal. How about ... [RANDOM ORDER]?

[BASED ON 509 NATIONAL ADULTS IN FORM B]

When the woman's life is endangered

Legal

Illegal

No opinion

2003 May 19-21

75%

22

3

When the child would be born mentally disabled

Legal

Illegal

No opinion

2003 May 19-21

38%

56

6

When the child would be born with a life-threatening illness

Legal

Illegal

No opinion

2003 May 19-21

48%

47

5

When the pregnancy was caused by rape or incest

Legal

Illegal

No opinion

2003 May 19-21

59%

39

2

When the woman does not want the child for any reason

Legal

Illegal

No opinion

2003 May 19-21

24%

74

2

Now I am going to read some specific situations under which an abortion might be considered. For each one, please say whether you think abortion should be legal in that situation, or illegal. How about -- [RANDOM ORDER]

When the woman's life is endangered

Should be
legal

Should be
illegal

Depends
(vol.)

No
opinion

2003 Jan 10-12

85%

11

2

2

2000 Mar30-Apr 2

84%

12

2

2

1996 Jul 25-26

88%

7

3

2

(vol.) = Volunteered response

When the woman's physical health is endangered

Should be
legal

Should be
illegal

Depends
(vol.)

No
opinion

2003 Jan 10-12

77%

17

4

2

2000 Mar30-Apr 2

81%

15

2

2

1996 Jul 25-26

82%

11

5

2

When the woman's mental health is endangered

Should be
legal

Should be
illegal

Depends
(vol.)

No
opinion

2003 Jan 10-12

63%

32

3

2

2000 Mar30-Apr 2

64%

29

3

4

1996 Jul 25-26

66%

27

5

2

When there is evidence that the baby may be physically impaired

Should be
legal

Should be
illegal

Depends
(vol.)

No
opinion

2003 Jan 10-12

56%

37

4

3

2000 Mar30-Apr 2

53%

39

5

3

1996 Jul 25-26

53%

37

7

3

When there is evidence that the baby may be mentally impaired

Should be
legal

Should be
illegal

Depends
(vol.)

No
opinion

2003 Jan 10-12

55%

39

3

3

2000 Mar30-Apr 2

53%

40

4

3

1996 Jul 25-26

54%

36

7

3

When the pregnancy was caused by rape or incest

Should be
legal

Should be
illegal

Depends
(vol.)

No
opinion

2003 Jan 10-12

76%

19

2

3

2000 Mar30-Apr 2

78%

19

1

2

1996 Jul 25-26

77%

18

3

2

When the woman or family cannot afford to raise the child

Should be
legal

Should be
illegal

Depends
(vol.)

No
opinion

2003 Jan 10-12

35%

61

2

2

2000 Mar30-Apr 2

34%

62

2

2

1996 Jul 25-26

32%

62

3

3

(vol.) = Volunteered response

Thinking more generally, do you think abortion should generally be legal or generally illegal during each of the following stages of pregnancy. How about -- [RANDOM ORDER]?

In the first three months of pregnancy

Should be
legal

Should be
illegal

Depends
(vol.)

No
opinion

2003 Jan 10-12

66%

29

3

2

2000 Mar30-Apr 2

65%

31

2

2

1996 Jul 25-26

64%

30

4

2

In the second three months of pregnancy

Should be
legal

Should be
illegal

Depends
(vol.)

No
opinion

2003 Jan 10-12

25%

68

4

3

2000 Mar30-Apr 2

24%

69

4

3

1996 Jul 25-26

26%

65

7

2

In the last three months of pregnancy

Should be
legal

Should be
illegal

Depends
(vol.)

No
opinion

2003 Jan 10-12

10%

84

4

2

2000 Mar30-Apr 2

8%

86

3

3

1996 Jul 25-26

13%

82

3

2

(vol.) = Volunteered response

Next, do you favor or oppose each of the following proposals. How about -- [READ AND ROTATE A-D FIRST, THEN ROTATE E AND F]

A law requiring women seeking abortions to wait 24 hours before having the procedure done

Favor

Oppose

No opinion

2003 Jan 10-12

78%

19

3

1996 Jul 25-28

74%

22

4

1992 Jan 16-19

73%

23

4

A law requiring doctors to inform patients about alternatives to abortion before performing the procedure

Favor

Oppose

No opinion

2003 Jan 10-12

88%

11

1

1996 Jul 25-28

86%

11

3

1992 Jan 16-19

86%

12

2

A law which would make it illegal to perform a specific abortion procedure conducted in the last six months of pregnancy known as a "partial birth abortion," except in cases necessary to save the life of the mother

Favor

Oppose

No opinion

%

%

%

2003 Jan 10-12

70

25

5

2000 Oct 25-28 ^

63

35

2

2000 Mar 30-Apr 2 †

66

29

5

2000 Jan 13-16

64

31

5

1999 Apr 30-May 2 †

61

34

5

1998 Jan 16-18 †

61

36

3

1997 Mar 24-26 †

55

40

5

1996 Apr 25-28 ^

57

39

4

^ WORDING: I am going to read several propositions that would prohibit and make illegal certain activities. Would you vote ... for or against a law which would make it illegal to perform a specific abortion procedure conducted in the last six months of pregnancy known as a 'partial birth abortion,' except in cases necessary to save the life of the mother?

† WORDING: If you could vote on this issue directly, would you vote for or against the following: a law which would make it illegal to perform a specific abortion procedure conducted in the last six months of pregnancy known as a "partial birth abortion," except in cases necessary to save the life of the mother?

As you may know, in 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court announced a landmark decision on abortion known as Roe versus Wade. Do you think that decision was a -- [ROTATED: good thing (or a) bad thing] -- for the country?

Good thing for country

Bad thing for country

No
opinion

2003 Jan 10-12

53%

30

17

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