Americans prefer ‘pro-choice’ label by biggest margin in seven years

May 30, 2015

By David Gibson

Despite Americans’ shifting opinions on a range of moral and ethical issues, abortion foes have been encouraged by numbers showing that opposition to abortion rights appeared to have resisted serious slippage, and was even gaining traction.

But a Gallup poll released Friday (May 29) shows that may be changing: 50 percent of all Americans now identify as “pro-choice,” the first statistically significant lead over the “pro-life” label, which came in at 44 percent, since 2008.

The data suggest this could signal an end to the seesaw battle that has characterized opinions on abortion over the past few years.

“The pro-choice view is not as prevalent among Americans as it was in the mid-1990s, but the momentum for the pro-life position that began when Barack Obama took office has yielded to a pro-choice rebound,” Gallup’s Lydia Saad wrote in an analysis of the figures, which are from a survey conducted in early May.

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9 comments on “Americans prefer ‘pro-choice’ label by biggest margin in seven years

  • @OP – 50 percent of all Americans now identify as “pro-choice,” the first statistically significant lead over the “pro-life” label, which came in at 44 percent, since 2008.

    Education is making progress against dogmatic ignorance!

    If it was not so serious for those affected, it would be laughable how little most “pro-life” campaigners know about the biology or evolution of life!

    A large percentage are abysmally ignorant of biology in general, and have learned their human biology from the pulpit, – not from the biologists or medics!

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  • It may be as simple as using the right label. For too long the anti-abortion lobby were able to frame the debate and give themselves the cuddly “pro-life” label while suggesting anyone opposed was effectively “pro-death”. On the other side, nobody wants to declare themselves “pro-abortion” so the increasing traction of the pro-choice label in recent years has made it more acceptable.

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  • 3
    Cairsley says:

    Evidence of what you say here, Alan, is on full display in the comments that follow this article on its homepage. I should have known better than to look.

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  • I think ‘pro life’ also needs relabelling as ‘anti choice’. Words are very, very important after all and that is what they are. Pro life is misleading as they are clearly anti the lives of the women involved.

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  • It seems the European court and France support “pro-choice” on other matters!
    Right to die: Court backs France in Vincent Lambert case
    .The European Court of Human Rights has upheld the decision of a court in France to allow a paralysed man to be taken off life support.

    Vincent Lambert, 39, has been in a coma for seven years after a motorcycle accident left him tetraplegic.

    His family have been split over whether he should be kept alive.

    The case was taken to the European court last year after France’s highest court had ruled in favour of ending his life support.

    It sparked fierce debate in France where euthanasia is illegal, although doctors can withdraw care under a 2005 passive euthanasia law.

    The court in Strasbourg ruled on Friday that the decision to stop intravenously feeding Mr Lambert did not violate European rights laws.
    ‘No relief, no joy’

    Mr Lambert has been kept alive with the use of intravenous food and water at a hospital in Reims in north-eastern France.

    His wife Rachel and some of his brothers and sisters had agreed with doctors’ recommendation that his life should be ended as there was no hope of recovery.

    The doctors said Mr Lambert had shown signs last year of resisting treatment, and Rachel Lambert said her husband would “never have wanted to be kept in this state”.

    “There’s no relief, no joy to express. We’d just like his will to be done,” she said after the ruling.

    But Mr Lambert’s parents – who are said to be devout Roman Catholics – and other siblings say he has shown signs of progress and believe he just needs better care.

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  • While Gallup does not define the pro-choice and pro-life terms for Americans, their answers to a separate question about the legality of abortion indicate that those favoring the pro-choice label generally support broad abortion rights, while pro-life adherents mostly favor limited or no abortion rights.

    The results of the polling on questions generally indicative of attitudes toward abortion rights, though encouraging are ambiguous. Whys did Gallup forego accurate results by refraining from asking the following direct questions.

    (1): Safe, legal, elective abortion should be available to all women during the first trimester of pregnancy.

    (2): Safe, legal drugs (abotifacients) that induce abortions should be available either for “day after unprotected sex” use or as prescribed by a physician usually within several weeks of unwanted pregnancy.

    (3): In addition to any consensual consultations with family, friends, clergy or professionaal counselors, any woman seeking an abortion must receive counseling from her obstetrician requiring that she be shown an ultrasound image of the fetus and a full explanation of the psychological/moral consequences of terminating her pregnancy.

    [ 4 -(a), (b), (c)]: Any woman seeking an abortion must submit to a waiting period for psychological reasons, separate from medical reasons, of at least: (a) 72 hours ( three days) (b) one week (c) more than one week

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  • In haste, I was not able to draw an important conclusion from asking the direct questions above. A “YES” answer to the first question would prove most significant.

    (1): Safe, legal, elective abortion should be available to all women during the first trimester (30 days) of pregnancy.

    The other questions would indicate ambivalence on the part of respondents but the degree of the consensus on the basic unqualified right to an abortion would be reasonably established.

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