A new Gallup poll brings encouraging news on the subject of abortion. Fifty percent of American adults now define themselves as pro-life (up 5% from 2011), and 41% of American adults now define themselves as pro-choice (down 8% from 2011).
Gallupfirst started asking American adults how they define themselves on the abortion issue back in 1995. At that time, 56% of American adults considered themselves pro-choice, whereas 33% of adults defined themselves as pro-life. Clearly, over the past seventeen years, the trend in this country has been steadily moving toward the pro-life position and away from the pro-choice position, with the majority of American adults now considering themselves pro-life.
According to the poll, the decline in the pro-choice views of American adults runs across the three main political groups in this country: Republican, Independent, and Democrat.
Among Republicans and Independents, pro-lifers outnumber pro-choicers. Seventy-two percent of Republicans consider themselves pro-life (up 4% from 2011) compared with 22% who consider themselves pro-choice (down 6% from 2011). Forty-seven percent of Independents define themselves as pro-life (up 6% from 2011) compared with 41% who define themselves as pro-choice (down 10% from 2011).
Although pro-choice Democrats still outnumber pro-life Democrats, the percentage of pro-choice Democrats has dropped ten points in the last year, from 68% to 58%. Pro-life Democrats currently make up 34% of the Party, which is a seven point increase over the same time period.
The upward pro-life trend in the country is not limited to older adults. A 2010 Gallup poll illustrates that Americans between the ages of eighteen and twenty-nine have been moving in the pro-life direction. In 2003, 40% of that age group considered themselves pro-life. By 2010, that percentage had increased seven points to 47%.
I think there are short and long term reasons for the increase in the pro-life position over the past seventeen years since Gallup first starting polling on this matter.