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The Short Answer
Where Do Americans Stand on Abortion?
The Short Answer

Where Do Americans Stand on Abortion?

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Nearly eight in 10 Americans believe abortion should be legal to some degree, and a majority don't want Roe v. Wade overturned. At the same time, the country is far from unified on the extent to which abortion should be legal.

According to Gallup's May 2020 update on Americans' abortion views, 29% believe abortion should be legal "under any circumstances," 14% say it should be legal "under most circumstances" and 35% say it should be legal "only in a few circumstances." Meanwhile, 20% say it should be illegal in all circumstances.

The demographic breakdown of these abortion views can be found on Gallup's Legality of Abortion, 2018-2020 Demographic Tables page.

Bar graph showing percentage of Americans in May 2020 who favored abortion being legal under any circumstances (29%), legal in most circumstances (14%), legal in only a few circumstances (35%) or illegal in all circumstances (20%).

The combined 79% of Americans who think abortion should be legal in all or under certain circumstances echoes the majority public support Gallup consistently finds for upholding Roe v. Wade. Gallup measured public support for the landmark abortion decision ahead of the 2018 confirmation hearings for Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and the findings are discussed in this article:

Nearly Two-Thirds of Americans Want Roe v. Wade to Stand

On the other hand, the finding that 70% of Americans either oppose abortion or favor limits on it rather than having it legal under any circumstances is echoed in the large majorities of Americans who have consistently said it should not be legal in the second (65%) and third (81%) trimesters. Read more about public support for abortion in each trimester and under various specific circumstances in this article:

Trimesters Still Key to U.S. Abortion Views

Separately, Gallup's 2020 abortion update found the public breaks about evenly into the "pro-choice" (48%) and "pro-life" (46%) camps when asked which term they identify with. Explore demographic differences in answers to this question on Gallup's "Pro-Choice" or "Pro-Life," 2018-2020 Demographic Tables page.

Americans are also closely divided when viewing abortion from a moral perspective: 44% consider it morally acceptable and 47% call it morally wrong. Explore the demographic breakdown on Gallup's Morality of Abortion, 2018-2020 Demographic Tables page.

Yearly trends in abortion views by gender, age and party ID are available on the following pages:

For a more in-depth review of Gallup's trends on abortion, read the full 2020 article here:

Americans' Abortion Views Steady in Past Year

Learn how abortion may figure into Americans' vote for president in 2020 here:

One in Four Americans Consider Abortion a Key Voting Issue

Explore more Gallup articles about abortion on the Abortion Topics page.

Explore Gallup questions and trends about abortion on Gallup's Topics A-Z: Abortion page.

For more articles in the "Short Answer" series, visit Gallup's The Short Answer page.

Learn more about public opinion metrics that matter for the 2020 presidential election at Gallup's 2020 Presidential Election Center.

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