Nick Gillespie: What Americans Actually Think (and Do) About Abortion


"Official political stances on abortion are absolutely Manichaean," writes Nick Gillespie

with the Republican Party and most of its leading figures stressing that life begins at conception, a belief that would outlaw virtually all abortions except those necessary to protect the health of the mother. The Democratic Party platform—and most of its highest-profile members, including President Barack Obama—"strongly and unequivocally supports" abortion at any time and for any reason during a pregnancy.

Most Americans reject such categorical, extreme views and instead offer conditional support for abortion depending on when it's performed. Gallup found that while 61 percent of Americans think abortion for should mostly be legal in the first three months of pregnancy and 27 percent felt it should be legal in the second trimester, just 14 percent agreed it should be allowed on demand in the final three months.