National survey finds majority of Americans believe abortion should be legal - TAI News
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Protesters make their way to the Wisconsin Capitol Rotunda during a march supporting overturning Wisconsin’s near total ban on abortion on Jan. 22, 2023, in Madison, Wisconsin. (AP Photo/Morry Gash, File)

An extensive new survey from the nonpartisan nonprofit Public Religion Research Institute found that the majority of Americans of almost every faith and in nearly every state say abortion should be legal in all or most cases.

Of the 22,000 people surveyed from randomly selected households across the nation, it was only in five states that under 50% of residents did not support abortion rights — North and South Dakota, Arkansas, Idaho, and Utah — and in no state was there over 16% support for an abortion ban.

“One thing that stands out to me, if you look at it from the national perspective, is that Americans have become more accepting of abortion legality over the last decade or so,” Melissa Deckman, CEO of PRRI, told the American Independent. Deckman said that in the last 14 years, support for abortion has increased by 9%, rising from 55% of poll respondents in 2010 to 64% in 2023.

Deckman added that attitudes about abortion from respondents who identify themselves as Republicans have not changed significantly in recent years.

A majority of survey respondents in all states support legal abortion. In Republican-led states, 57% said they support legal abortion, compared to 70% in Democratic-led states and 64% in battleground states.

Even in states with bans or severe restrictions on abortion, a majority of residents still believed abortion should be legal.

In Indiana, a state with a total abortion ban, 58% of respondents said they support abortion in all or most cases. In Louisiana, which also has a total ban, 53% of people said they support abortion, and in Kentucky, where abortion is completely banned, with few exceptions, 50% said they support it.

“It just goes to show you that these policies are extraordinarily unpopular, even in conservative states that have banned the procedure,” Deckman said.

“In the states where the procedure has been banned, only about 27% of Republicans say abortion should be legal in all or most cases. … Even in states where you have less restrictive policies or greater legal access, you have 42% of Republicans say it should be legal. So that’s like a 15% gap there. And what this tells me is that you really start to understand why those states are making those unpopular decisions. It’s because Republicans are in control, they’re elected to these state legislative offices, and those Republicans are extremely conservative,” Deckman said.

The poll also found broad support for access to legal abortion among members of most of the largest religious faiths. Sixty-two percent of white Catholics, 79% of Catholics of color, 68% of white nonevangelical Protestants, and 81% of Jewish Americans all said abortion should be legal in all or most cases. The faith groups with the least favorable attitudes toward abortion were Jehovah’s Witnesses at only 25%, white evangelical Protestants at 27% and Latter-day Saints at 30%.

“What really, really stands out to me is the fact that it frankly confirms what I already knew, which is that by far the majority of people of faith, and the majority of Catholics, support reproductive freedom,” Kate Hoeting, the strategic communications manager for Catholics for Choice, told the American Independent. “Which I think shows us again that the church hierarchy is really out of line with what most Catholics believe.”

Hoeting said that even though only 8% of Catholics thought that abortion should be banned, it’s almost painful for her to see their stance represented as the opinion of all Catholics.

“Catholics are saying that they support abortion in all or most circumstances, and it is in the name of their faith that their rights are being stripped,” she said.

The PRRI poll found a connection between support for the tenets of Christian nationalism and lower support for abortion legality. Only 29% of white supporters of or sympathizers with Christian nationalism said abortion should be legal.

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The Wisconsin Independent is a project of American Independent Media, a 501(c)(4) organization whose mission is to use journalism to educate the public, giving them the information they need about local and federal issues.