Since the leak of a draft (and hopefully final!) Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe v. Wade, the mainstream media, Democrat politicians, “experts,” and every other abortion supporter with access to social media has been claiming that a super-majority of Americans support Roe. This has been thoroughly debunked, of course—most Americans don’t know that Roe mandates legal abortion up until birth in some scenarios and support restrictions that Roe makes impossible. But a new survey released today by the Land Center for Cultural Engagement and Christian Research examining how Americans view abortion reveals some interesting findings. The survey included 1,155 Americans, and Daniel Darling of the Land Center laid out the most interesting tidbits:
A majority of Americans favor significant restrictions on abortion.
Only 26% of Americans favor a total ban on abortion, but 41% favor restrictions after the 6th week of pregnancy, and 52% favor restrictions after the 12th week. 59% of Americans favor a ban on abortions after 15 weeks and 65% favor a ban after 20 weeks. Those of us who believe in the sanctity of human life at conception, of course, are working for a day when human life is protected at all stages, but it is heartening to see the majority of Americans favor preserving life at earlier and earlier stages. This is a reminder that recently proposed, but defeated, legislation in the Senate (Women’s Health Protection Act) that would wipe out all existing abortion laws and allow abortion up until the moment of birth is out of step with a significant number of Americans. Only 10% of Americans support abortion up until the moment of birth, and 69% of Americans say that reducing abortions is important.
This means that a super-majority of Americans do not support Roe v. Wade. It is also a testament to the tireless work of the pro-life movement that, nearly half a century after the Supreme Court declared abortion to be a constitutional right, more than a quarter of Americans still believe that abortion should not just be restricted, but entirely illegal. Furthermore, the amount of common ground that exists on this issue—with nearly 70% of Americans agreeing that less abortions should take place—indicates that the Democratic position on abortion is wildly out of step with where the public is. I’ve noted this before, but I don’t think that Roe being overturned will motivate voters to come out for the Dems the way they think it will. They have overestimated their support due to the echo chamber they inhabit. More:
A majority of Americans see life in the womb.
Few surveys on abortion ask the question we asked: “When does life begin?” The answers are interesting. 35% of Americans believe life begins at conception. Another 28% believe life begins at the detection of the first heartbeat. This reflects the growing awareness, perhaps due to technology, other scientific breakthroughs, and pro-life advocacy, that there is life in the womb. Putting these two numbers together reveals that a full 66% of Americans understand the unborn baby to be a distinct human person. Pro-life advocates have much more work to do, but we can be grateful that fewer and fewer Americans see a fetus as less than human.
The primary takeaway from this finding is that the pro-life movement still has much work to do in educating the public on when a unique, living, whole human being comes into existence—although the fact that 66% of Americans understand that the baby in the womb is a distinct human person is both surprising and encouraging.
A majority of Americans oppose elective abortion based on economic hardship or ender preference.
The majority of Americans (78%) feel abortion should be legal if the mother’s life is in danger, in cases of rape (73%) and incest (72%), or if the child wouldn’t survive (64%) or has severe disabilities (58%), but only 37% of Americans support abortion if the mother simply doesn’t want the child, can’t give the child a good life (38%), is suffering financial hardship (37%) or wants a child of a different gender (15%).
This data shows that Americans only favor abortions in the most difficult situations, not as a medical procedure based on convenience of economic considerations, contrary to much of the narrative from pro-abortion rights advocates.
Again, this data highlights the fact that a decades-long attempt to affect the widespread de-stigmatization of abortion by the pro-choice movement has utterly failed. No matter how many “shout your abortion” campaigns or “abortion comedy” movies they launch, the public has not bought what they are selling. More:
Americans are thinking about a post-Roe future.
Though the survey found that most Americans (52%) don’t favor the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the decision that prevented states from passing abortion restrictions, they are clearly thinking about a post-Roe future. When asked what states should do if Roe is overturned, 36% say that they want states to restrict abortion further than it is currently, while 36% want their states to keep the status quo and only 28% hope for increased abortion access. This is significant in that while a majority favor Roe, only a slim majority want what many pro-abortion proposals have called for. This means that the failed Women’s Health Protection Act in the Senate bill and legislation in places like New York and California are out of step with the American people.
It’s also interesting where Americans rank abortion as a major concern in this election year. Only 38% of Americans consider this an issue of personal importance, outranked significantly by issues such as inflation (62%). 53% of Americans said a candidate’s views on abortion would significantly affect their vote. This was true for 63% of pro-life people surveyed, 57% of pro-abortion rights people surveyed, but only 31% of those in the middle or unsure of their position.
If Roe were overturned, however, Americans favor both government and religious involvement to help women in crisis. 74% of Americans agree that the church has a role in increasing support and options for women who have unwanted pregnancies. 81% of Americans, including 62% of pro-life people, also believe state governments have a responsibility to increase support and options for women who have unwanted pregnancies. Clearly, the reality of the end of Roe will shift the conversation to ways both government and the church meet the needs of families in crisis.
Again, this data indicates that a majority of Americans does not know what Roe requires, as a supermajority supports restrictions that are impossible under the Roe regime. And finally:
Pro-life views begin in church
Lifeway’s research model defines evangelical much more narrowly, based on a set of beliefs, than other surveys. So it’s no surprised that evangelicals are the cohort who is the most pro-life. 66% of evangelicals believe life begins at conception, and 23% believe life begins with the first heartbeat. Those with evangelical beliefs are substantially more pro-life (64%) than those without them (22%). What’s more, those who attend worship weekly are more likely than others to be pro-life (53%) and say that life begins at conception (56%). Only 30% of regular churchgoers support Roe v. Wade (30%).
It is clear that holding distinctly evangelical beliefs and attending church regularly is formative in shaping a pro-life conscience. This should give hope to faithful pastors everywhere that preaching God’s Word has an important effect on the community and the country.
No surprise there. This data reveals a country with much common ground to work with in a post-Roe America. Despite the extremity of the position held by the Democrats and their abortion industry allies, Americans view abortion as a bad thing that should happen rarely, and agree that it should be significantly restricted. There is much work to be done.
One thought on “A super-majority of Americans support restrictions on abortion”
I hate to rain on the parade, but I wouldn’t call 52% support for a 12-week ban majority support for “significant restrictions on abortion”. A 12-week limit is pretty modest. 90% of abortions are done before 12 weeks and if the Supreme Court were to hand us a Casey-esque decision reaffirming abortion on demand in the first trimester but allowing states to ban it after that (a possibility in Dobbs, though not a likely one) that would be a pyrrhic victory at best, if not a humiliating loss. Pro-life advocates didn’t go through 50 years of blood, sweat, tears, heartbreaking setbacks, and voter suppression just to ban 10% of the abortions only in red states. If it saves one life it will still be worth it but, even though the abortion lobby and mainstream media will be big mad and pretend that it’s the end of abortion as we know it, the decision probably won’t have a huge effect on the abortion rate. Second and third-trimester abortions can easily be scheduled earlier in pregnancy or in blue states. The fact that even a 15-week gestational limit wouldn’t be allowed under Roe is only a testament to how extreme current abortion jurisprudence is.
Of course, that’s not the only interesting finding. Abortion grays are very sensitive to how survey questions are worded, which response options they have to choose from, and even the ordering of the questions. Elsewhere in the survey a clear majority support a moderate pro-life position rather than a moderate pro-choice one. Rejecting abortions for socioeconomic reasons or because “having a baby would change my life” would mean banning over 90% of abortions. Those are encouraging numbers. And Gallup has found that, even if specified as a first-trimester abortion, most Americans do not think a woman should be allowed to have an abortion just because she doesn’t want the baby for whatever reason. Outside of hard cases, support for even first-trimester abortion is pretty soft. At the end of the day, the only polls that actually matter are those taken on election day.
Here is another perspective:
Also, minor correction, but 35% + 28% = 63%, not 66%.