Yesterday, Gallup released its latest research on abortion. The results show that 49 percent of the nation is "pro-choice," with an additional 45 percent classifying itself as "pro-life." According to Gallup:
This is similar to a year ago, when 45% were "pro-choice" and 47% "pro-life." However, it is the first time since 2008 that the "pro-choice" position has had the numerical advantage on this Gallup trend.
But, labels don't always provide a full picture of public perception. It's one thing to claim allegiance to one side or another, but it's an entirely different matter to ask questions surrounding morality and legality. When asked whether or not abortion is moral, the majority of Americans continue (51 percent) to believe that it is wrong, with a minority (39 percent) claiming that it is "morally acceptable."
The public's opinions regarding the legality of abortion are also intriguing:
Since 1994, Gallup has also asked those who think abortion should be legal under certain circumstances to say whether it should be legal in "most" or "only a few" circumstances. On this basis, Americans are rather conservative in their stance on abortion, with 61% now preferring that abortion be legal in only a few circumstances or no circumstances. By contrast, 37% want abortion legal in all or most circumstances.
The pattern here is certainly a bit cyclical, though it seems like America is becoming slightly more conservative on the issue. Despite a greater proportion of Americans claiming that they are pro-choice, a majority prefers limitations on the circumstances in which abortion is permissible.
Meanwhile, ABC News reports that the abortion rate in America dropped 8 percent between 2000 and 2008. Sadly, this rate actually increased about 18 percent among the nation's poorest women. Watch the report, below: