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Even in the Reddest States, Less than a Quarter of Residents Support a Total Ban on Abortion

WASHINGTON, Aug. 13, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- As a number of states have moved to pass laws that would make abortion illegal with virtually no exceptions, a new PRRI survey of over 40,000 Americans finds only 15% of Americans overall say abortion should be illegal in all cases. Notably, there is no state in which more than one quarter of residents support making abortion services completely illegal.

PRRI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to conducting independent research at the intersection of religion, culture, and public policy. (PRNewsfoto/PRRI,The Atlantic)

States with the largest proportion of residents who say abortion should be illegal in all cases include Louisiana (23%), Mississippi (22%), and Arkansas (21%). In all other states—including Alabama (19%) and Missouri (19%), where restrictive abortion laws have already been passed—one in five or fewer think abortion should be illegal in all cases.

"These results demonstrate that recent state laws passed by Republican-controlled legislatures are out of touch not just with Americans overall but with residents of their own states and members of their own party," notes PRRI CEO and founder Robert P. Jones. "Few Americans, even in the most conservative states in the country, believe that abortion should be banned outright."

Democrats (70%) are twice as likely as Republicans (34%) to favor the legality of abortion; six in ten (60%) Republicans are opposed to the legality of abortion, and 22% of Republicans say abortion should be illegal in all cases.

Other Notable Findings

  • (78%) of Americans said their opinion on abortion has not changed in the last five years.
  • (54%) of Americans say abortion should be legal in most or all cases.
  • (76%) of Americans who report having had an abortion think it should be legal in most or all cases, while 60% of people who know a friend, family member, or someone else who has had an abortion agree. Americans who do not know anyone who has had an abortion are evenly split between support and opposition to abortion legality.
  • (77%) of Americans believe that government health insurance programs for low-income women should cover the cost of birth control.

The biggest intraparty divide on abortion legality is among Democrats: 82% of liberal Democrats think abortion should be legal in most or all cases, while 63% of moderate Democrats and 46% of conservative Democrats say the same.


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