Majority of Americans believe abortion should be legal, research shows

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DENVER — More than half of Americans believe abortions should be legal, and the share who believe they should be illegal is at its lowest since the mid-90s, according to data from the Pew Research Center.

In a survey conducted from March 7-13, 2022, 61% of the respondents believed abortions should be legal in all or most cases — the highest percentage of Americans in polling data collected since 1995 — while 37% said abortions should be illegal in all or most cases.

MORE: Abortions remain legal, accessible in Colorado despite Roe v. Wade overruling

Public support for abortions has fluctuated over the last 27 years, dipping as low as 47% in 2009, while support for making abortions illegal has never been the majority opinion in the same timeframe.

Breaking down the data 

Looking at the research from lenses such as political ideology, religious beliefs and race, for example, show contrasting opinions on the topic.

MORE: Abortion in Colorado by the numbers

Eighty percent of Democratic voters believe abortion should be legal, while 60% of Republican voters believe it should be illegal.

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Broken down even further, moderate Republicans, moderate Democrats and liberal Democrats all believe abortion should be legal at 60%, 72% and 90%, respectively. Seventy-two percent of conservative Republicans believe abortion should be illegal.

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Both men (58%) and women (63%) respondents were in favor of legal abortion.

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Analyzing the data by race and ethnicity, White (59%), Black (68%), Hispanic (60%) and Asian (74%) people were in favor of legal abortions. Asian respondents had the lowest favorability for most or all abortions being illegal, at 26%.

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Younger people were far more favorable of abortions being legal, with 74% of respondents who were ages 18-29 saying it should be legal in all or most cases and 25% saying it should be illegal. For older Americans, 62% of 30-49 year olds, 55% of 50-64 year olds and 54% of people 65 and up believed abortion should be legal. The oldest respondents in the research had the highest share of people believing abortion should be illegal in all or most cases, at 44%.

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People with a high school degree or less (54%), who attended some college (63%) and college graduates (66%) were all in favor of legal abortion.

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When looking at the data from what people of different religious affiliations believed, there are some stark contrasts:

  • White evangelical Protestant — 24% in favor of legal abortion, 74% in favor of abortion being illegal
  • White Protestant, not evangelical — 60% in favor of legal abortion, 38% in favor of abortion being illegal
  • Black Protestant: 66% in favor of legal abortion, 28% in favor of abortion being illegal
  • Catholic: 56% in favor of legal abortion, 42% in favor of abortion being illegal
  • Unaffiliated: 84% in favor of legal abortion, 15% in favor of abortion being illegal
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