Millennials conflicted about abortion, more clear on support for same-sex marriage
She points to a 2004 study by the Guttmacher Institute where women were asked to explain why they wanted an abortion. The top reason was that "having a baby would dramatically change my life," (74 percent). Twelve percent of women indicated they had physical health problems and only one percent of women indicated they were victims of rape.
Yet because the survey asked about specific situations, the rarity of which few people realize, she said she believes it presented a somewhat inflated abortion approval rate.
"The study gives no sign of having made the link for respondents between the situations it describes, and the tiny percentage of abortions those situations represent," she said.
Without that clarification, Americans get "nowhere closer to resolving the actual questions that face us today," she continued, "(such as) 'Do you approve of the over 90 percent of all abortions taking place in the United States today which have no relationship to the mother's life, or health, or rape or incest, or health of the child?'"
ADDITIONAL SURVEY FINDINGS:
* 63 percent of Americans who live in urban areas believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases, compared with 45 percent of Americans who live in rural communities
* 69 percent of religiously unaffiliated Americans believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases, compared to only 29 percent of white evangelical Protestants
*68 percent of Americans with a post-graduate education believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases, compared to 50 percent of Americans with a high school diploma or less
* When asked to pick critical issues facing the country, most Americans put the economy first (78 percent), followed by immigration, environment, abortion and same-sex marriage (23 percent)
* Americans are more supportive of allowing abortion when it happens as a result of something outside of the woman's ability to choose, such as health risk to the mother (86 percent), rape (79 percent) or birth defects of the child (66 percent)
Americans are less accepting of abortion for the following reasons: if the girl is still in high school (47 percent), if she was low income (45 percent) and if she didn't want to marry the baby's father (39 percent)
* Americans who have seen MTV's shows "16 and Pregnant" or "Teen Mom," are 8 percent more likely to say that abortion is morally acceptable than those who haven't seen the shows (48 percent versus 40 percent) and 11 percent more likely to say abortion should be legal in all or most cases (65 percent versus 56 percent)
* Americans who take the Bible literally as the word of God are less likely to believe that abortion should be legal (37 percent) compared to those who believe the Bible is a book written by men (83 percent)
* Among Americans who attend church services at least once a week, only 36 percent say abortion should be legal in all or most cases. For those who attend monthly or a few times a year, the acceptance rate jumps to 64 percent and for those who rarely or never attend church, 74 percent believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases
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